In a 'one time only" move, the "Kennedy Center has made 1,000 tickets to weekend performances by the Ballet Nacional de Cuba available to low-income residents of the District.
The tickets, distributed yesterday through some 25 community agencies, disappeared within a matter of hours after their donation was announced on radio.
The tickets were made available in response to a proposal that the ballet company and its leader, Alicia Alonso perform for the Hispanic community at the Ontario Theater. The Ontario date was suggested by independent community arts coordinator Antonio Montez.
According to Montex, he approached Alonso last year during the company's engagement at the Kennedy Center, and Alonso indicated she would be willing to set up such a performance this summer.
However, the center's artistic director, Martin Feinstein, raised objections because of the Ontatio's poor technical facilities.
"There were a whole lot of problems," said Feinstein. "It's a small stage, it's not a good stage, they have no lighting equipment, no sound equipment.It would all have to be brought in.
"The company would have to give up its only free night," Feinstein continued. "Miss Alonso was scheduled to be in New York doing interviews and wouldn't get back until 8 p.m. And security would be a problem, whereas it's all set up here."
Montez said Alonso was aware of the security risks, but was willing to perform anyway. However, when Feinstein offered to donate tickets for as many seast as the Ontario Theater would have held, the offer was accepted.
"I hope the Kennedy Center can do more of an outreach program in the community" similar to programs put on in New York City by Lincoln Center, Montez commented yesterday.