Creation of an International Dance Centre

The Carlos Acosta International Dance Centre will be located in the iconic “School of Ballet”, one of a large complex of five buildings that comprise the National Schools of Art. The Schools were built in the early 1960s on the site of the former Havana Country Club. The experimental architecture was inspired by the sense of idealism and transformation in the years immediately after the Cuban Revolution. They are a national monument and have been put forward for consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The School of Ballet is a dramatic vaulted brick and terracotta tile building designed by the Italian architect Vittorio Garatti. He spent time observing ballet dancers train and translated the fluidity of their circular and sinuous movements into the School’s cupolas and curved walls. The building was never quite completed, and has remained unused for over 50 years.

What needs to be done to restore the School of Ballet?

The building is reported to be structurally sound and the Cuban government has ensured that the site is cleared and secured. The fabric and character of the original building will be preserved by the restoration process through the use of the same local building materials. Lord Norman Foster, through Foster and Partners, has produced detailed designs and models of the Dance Centre. The new elements that are needed to meet the International Dance Centre’s future requirements (for example increasing the theatre’s capacity) do not detract from the original design intent.

New life as the Carlos Acosta International Dance Centre

Once restored, the building will be used as a Centre for teaching dance, workshops, international encounters and other cultural events that relate to dance. The theatre will host performances by Acosta Danza (Carlos’ dance company which will be based there) in addition to other local and  international dance companies. Locals and international visitors will be able to come to experience this dynamic aspect of contemporary Cuban culture. A special emphasis will be placed on developing young people’s creativity and talent and giving them the opportunity to showcase their talent and pursue their dreams.

Stages of Work

The work will be conducted in phases (first phase has already been completed):

  • Obtain authorisations, licences and draw up architectural plans.

The Foundation has signed a legally binding agreement with Cuban Ministry of Culture, and Lord Norman Foster, through Foster and Partners, has produced detailed designs and models of the Dance Centre.

  • Civil engineering works to widen and deepen River Quibú that encircles the site to prevent future flooding, without altering the beautiful natural surroundings.
  • Restoration work on two dance studios.
  • Restoration work on the theatre and increase of seating capacity.
  • Restoration work on ancillary buildings.