San Francisco Ballet Hires New Cuban Soloist: Carlos Quenedit

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Carlos Quenedit, San Francisco Ballet’s Newest Cuban Acquisition
 

Carlos Quenedit; Photo: Nancy Reyes

 On the cusp of its 2012 Gala, San Francisco Ballet welcomes a new male Soloist to its roster. Prior to joining the Company, Carlos Quenedit, who hails from Havana, Cuba, trained and danced with the National Ballet of Cuba, Miami City Ballet, and Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico under the Artistic Directorship of Luis Serrano, also a graduate of the School of the National Ballet of Cuba. Throughout his career, Mr. Quenedit’s repertoire has included major roles in Don Quixote, Coppélia, Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Allegro Brillante, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, The Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Diana and Actaeon, In the Night, Liturgy, and Ballet Imperial, to name a partial ballet resumé.
 
Quenedit came to the U.S. in 2008, following in the footsteps of another SFB (Principal) Dancer (and high-flying favorite with SF Balletomanes), Taras Domitro. Both dancers defected from their Cuban homeland (Taras in Canada, Carlos in Mexico), motivated by the desire for-and challenge of-greater artistic opportunity, and sought political asylum in the U.S. shortly thereafter (Taras rather immediately and Carlos after a year with Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico, if I’m not mistaken).
 

Carlos Quenedit & Katia Carranza in Ballet de Monterrey's 'Perfidia'; Photo: Unknown

 
With the bevy of world renowned choreographers that flock to set their ballets on SFB’s versatile dancers, thus creating one of the ballet world’s most fertile hotbeds of creativity, a veritable dancer’s paradise, it isn’t any wonder that Carlos is joining so many of his compatriots here in San Francisco. SFB is already ‘Ballet Home’ to four of Cuba’s finest dancers: Joan Boada, Lorena Feijoo, Taras Domitro, and, perhaps most notably, Jorgé Esquivel, former superstar of the National Ballet of Cuba, long-time partner of the legendary Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso (also NBC’s Artistic Director and founder), and now a valued SFB faculty member (he teaches the highest Boys’ levels-7 and 8) and Principal Character Dancer.  
 
While SFB offers the delectable smorgasbord of both contemporary and classical repertory that the Cuban dancers in exile crave, SFB gains something incredibly valuable in return: the incomparable port de bras, bravura, mercurial feet, dramatic stage presence, and passionate attack, that is the Cuban Ballet style.
And we are the honored beneficiaries.
 
While we’re waiting for ‘Odette’ to finish her exclusive interview with Carlos (oh yes she IS!), here’s a wonderful 9 minute video clip/text break to help us get acquainted: 
 
 
 As a celebrated guest artist, Quenedit has also performed with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, almost a prerequisite for all the exiled Cuban dancers whose first stop in the U.S. is with Taras Domitro’s mother, Magaly Suarez, its former Co-Artistic Director with Pedro Pablo Pena; her open home, generous tutelage, and loving mentoring help them in their career transition, in addition to giving them the opportunity to perform, while they adjust to their new home. 
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet also boasted his guest performance as their Nutcracker Prince a year ago.  
 
Oh…and one more thing:
 

Carlos Quenedit & Victoria Jaiani as Basilio & Kitri in the Joffrey Ballet's 'Don Quixote' by Yuri Possokhov; Photo: Unknown

 Mr. Quenedit was most recently the chosen ‘Basilio’ for opening night of Yuri Possokhov’s new Don Quixote for the Joffrey Ballet. Yes, that would be our Yuri Possokhov, former Bolshoi and San Francisco Ballet Principal Dancer and current SFB Choreographer in Residence, who just happens to be the Co-choreographer, with Helgi Tomasson, of San Francisco Ballet’s own upcoming 2012 Don Quixote season finale.

Do we dare hope that Mr. Possokhov, who has already worked with Mr. Quenedit in Chicago and whose extraordinary talent has never failed to produce a ‘hit’, might bestow a featured role on our new Cuban here in his new Ballet Home? 

Like Don Quixote, we can dream, can’t we?

 

If any of you have seen our new Soloist live, I would greatly appreciate your comments!

For the rest of us: Odette’s exclusive Carlos interview is coming.

Soon.

To a digital device near you.

(!)

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About Odette's Ordeal

'Ballet's Head Cheerleader'
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4 Responses to San Francisco Ballet Hires New Cuban Soloist: Carlos Quenedit

  1. Ben says:

    I’ve seen Carlos in class every day since he started with us a week or so ago and I must say he is an amazing dancer and a really nice guy. I’m glad to have him in the company! Vamos Carlos!

    • Ben,
      Thanks for that generous observation! That’s what we SFBalletomanes love about you dancers; you’re all so very supportive of each other, especially when it comes to welcoming the newbies to their new ballet home.
      Can’t wait to see everyone at Gala this 1/19/12! Fans are fairly drooling as they await official programming and casting news…
      And one of the things we most look forward to is the probability that SFB’s incredible men, such as yourself, will be highlighted.
      Woot!
      ‘Odette’

  2. I was lucky to conduct for Carlos in Mexico City, at the Palacio Bellas Artes, in November. He performed on Isaac Hernandez’s fantastic ballet gala, which showcased a group of SF Ballet’s very best, including Isaac dancing Giselle Act II ppd with Yuan Yuan Tan, and Don Q. ppd with Frances Chung (all three of them were absolutely spectacular.) The gala also showcased SFB principals Maria Kochetkova, Guennadi Nedvigin, Damian Smith, and Jaime Garcia Castilla, NYCB principals Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz, Isaac’s very talented brother Esteban, and a number of other major international dancers. It was quite a night! Carlos danced “Diana and Acteon” ppd with Katia Carranza. They brought down the house. Carlos is an extraordinary dancer, as well as an incredibly nice person. It was such a pleasure to work with him. SF Ballet audiences have reason to be excited! And thanks to the equally-extraordinary Isaac Hernandez, Mexico City audiences had a chance, in November, to see San Francisco Ballet dancers in an unbelievably exciting sold-out night at the Bellas Artes!

    • George-
      How wonderful of you to share your knowledgeable experience about Mr. Quenedit and so many of SFB’s finest that you worked with at the fabulous gala event in Mexico City! I still plan to ‘cover’ Isaac’s Mexico City Gala and there are some wonderful photos I plan to share with fans-some including your illustrious self (with your permission?). 🙂 Isaac speaks very highly of you, as well, and was so pleased with everyone’s performance that I don’t know if he’s come down off that extraordinary ‘high’ yet! I’ll let you know if his feet touch the ground when I see him next onstage.
      Thanks so much for informing my readers about Carlos; I do plan to post another video clip of him with Katia Carranza (in ‘Perfidia’, for those of you with itchy YouTube fingers), when I publish our interview.
      With much appreciation,
      ‘Odette’

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