In Cuban Ballet, author Octavio Roca utilizes words and lush photographs to tell the story of Alicia Alonso, Cuba's most prominent prima ballerina and choreographer (and also one of the most powerful women aligned with the island's government). The author, son of a former Havana ballerina, also explores the lives and influence of young Cuban dancers who have fled the country. "I set out to tell a tale of revolution in a country as well as in ballet," he says. "I wanted it to read like a novel that happens to be true." Roca has worked as a dance critic for several decades, including a stint at the New Times. He was the subject of controversy at the Miami Herald, where he was fired for plagiarism after using a portion of an article he had written several years prior for another publication. (Roca had this to say about the incident: "I was fortunate to work with some of the best minds and best people in American journalism [for over thirty years.] Then I spent a few months at the Miami Herald, where I came in touch with some of the worst. I'm over it.") Now a professor at Miami Dade College, he'll speak on Cuban culture at the Miami Book Fair.
Sun., Nov. 21, 3:30 p.m., 2010