June 24, 2021

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Two great dancers die in Puerto Rico | Stage

From different generations, but leaving a legacy characteristic of their talents, two greats of the dance arts of Puerto Rico have passed away a week apart: the teacher Otto Bravo and the teacher Nana Badrena. Both made a professional career abroad, but locally the first distinguished himself in teaching ballet at the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras and the second with the Western Ballet Theater in Mayagüez.

Badrena had an exceptional teaching, first with the Northern Ballet, from Manchester in the United Kingdom; He then went through the Cuban school Alicia Alonso after having trained at the Pittsburhg Ballet, with none other than the legendary ballerinas Madame Fukine, Madame Danilova, and maestro Balanchine. With them he learned all his repertoires, but his passion lay in choreography and training.

He founded the Western Ballet Theater in Mayagüez, after studying with famous Puerto Rican teachers such as Yolanda Muñoz, María and Carlota Carrera, Ana García, María Benítez, Lolita San Miguel, the leading figures teachers José Parés and Ramón Molina. In the Dominican Republic for her choreography on Earth, she was recognized with the award for Best Choreographer; and in Cuba, in addition to successfully choreographing Dracula for Laura Alonso, she was hired to work there.

 Otto Bravo

Otto Bravo was a founding member of Ballets de San Juan. > Supplied

While Bravo, together with Ana García, Gilda Navarra and Juan Anduze, was a founding member of Ballets de San Juan. The teacher José Parés joined the National Ballet of Cuba, he was taken to Havana where he distinguished himself as the first figure, and he married the dancer Petra Bravo. He founded Danza Brava and Danza Teatral in Puerto Rico.

Mayra Collazo, president of the Professional Dance Association (Aprodanza), says that her greatest legacy was within the world of education.

“Her great contribution was in educational dance. He planted the first seed in the Puerto Rico Department of Public Instruction, where he created a method of body design for dance and theater teachers. That body movement manual was a discovery. He worked with them for 30 years and managed to get teachers to receive a certificate. Nana, meanwhile, characterized herself more as a choreographer. With this, he raised the technical-artistic and professional level of his students of excellence, mounting The Nutcracker, Rompe Saraguey and other classics. We recognized them in Aprodanza for their careers in 2015 and 2016, respectively, "said Collazo.

Bravo died on June 13 and Badrenas yesterday, Sunday.

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