A Cuban Ballerina on Body Image in Havana’s Dance Community
The conversation continues...
Glenda María García Gómez, 28
Soloist, Ballet Nacional de Cuba
ON LAUNCHING HER DANCE CAREER
"I remember the moment I fell in love with ballet. I saw a performance on television and knew that I wanted to be a dancer. When I was nine years old, I enrolled in the Alejo Carpentier Elementary Ballet School in Havana, where I studied for five years, and followed that with three years at the National Art School (ENA). I now train at the National Ballet of Cuba."
ON PARTICIPATING IN THE NUDE SERIES
"[Posing nude] was a new experience for me, but I like to try new things. I've worked with Gabriel [Davalos] in the past and what I enjoy most is the way he finds the perfect locations to take natural and inspiring photos. He makes the dancers feel comfortable and beautiful and has this way of getting our emotions to come through in each photo. [As he plans to work couples into the series], I loved the possibility of posing with my boyfriend [who is also a dancer], Julio Enrique Blanes Miranda to reflect our meeting."
ON DISCOVERING SELF-LOVE
"Weight can be a problem among dancers in all in all companies. Cuba is no exception. Personally, I have not particularly been forced to [adhere to any extreme] diets—thank God because I love chocolate! Though, I do remember when I started my practice early on, my body changed a little and it took a few weeks to regain my weight. We are classical dancers—we're never completely satisfied with our bodies. But it's important to find ways to feel good about yourself. In order to succeed at being a dancer, you first have to love yourself."
ON NURTURING HER BODY
“My daily routine is filled with ballet rehearsals and physical training exercises. I also take Pilates classes for my own happiness and I never limit myself when it comes to food. I'm a fan of traditional Cuban meals like rice with black beans and like I said: I love chocolate! [As for skincare], I don't use products or creams—the humid, tropical climate that we have in Cuba keeps my skin hydrated."
Next week, Daniela Amada Cabrera Machado will conclude our three-part series on posing for Gabriel Davalos's nude project. Stay tuned! And in the meantime, check out more images and Davalos's full story in our fall issue, here.