As a teenager at the Cuban National Ballet School, Ballet San Jose artistic director José Manuel Carreño needed the firm but reassuring guidance of his favorite teacher, Loipa Araújo. Carreño, who remains close with Arajúo, benefited from having someone who knew him well enough to keep him on his toes.
“I was pretty hungry during my career, but sometimes you’re not focused 100 percent, and your mind is not there—and she knew it. She just had to come near me and say, ‘Wake up.’ She’s the kind of person who, every time she watches a rehearsal or performance, has something to say. If I had an amazing show, she would be there and say, ‘That was a good show, but: We have to keep growing, technically and artistically.’”
Photo by Bari Lee, courtesy of Ballet San Jose