Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso

Top choice theater in Centro Habana

Image by Diana Cabrera Hernandez Lonely Planet

The neo-baroque Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso, erected as a Galician social club between 1907 and 1914, features highly ornate and even exuberant architectural details. It's the official stage for the Cuban National Ballet Company and the main headquarters of the biennial International Ballet Festival. Dance presentations are the highlights every weekend, ranging from ballet to contemporary dances and Spanish-influenced choreographies by companies from all over the country and abroad. Ask about guided tours at the box office.

Formerly known as Centro Gallego, the theatre was built around the existing Teatro Tacón, attached to the social club since 1838. The Tacón opened with five masked Carnaval dances, forming the basis for the claim that it's the oldest operating theater in the western hemisphere. Over its 180 years, it has hosted international figures such as Enrico Caruso, Anna Pavlova, Maya Plisetskaya and Sarah Bernhardt, as well as remarkable companies such as the American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Ballet, Antonio Gades Ballet and the Ballet of Buenos Aires.

Still standing the test of time, the theater was renovated in 2015 and now sparkles afresh from its perch in Parque Central. Its facilities include a 1500-seat main hall, a concert hall, conference rooms and an art gallery.