Mime artist Andrés Valdés dies
Andrés Valdés y Fuentes, a Havana-born artist who introduced Slovenia to modern mime when he moved to the country in 1964, has died, aged 86.
"There is no Slovenian drama theatre in which Andrés Valdés had not left his creative mark, and there is no artist of the 1964-74 cohorts of actors who would not remember his professor," the Slovenian Association of Theatre Artists wrote on announcing his death on 8 April.
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Valdés started his career as a dancer and actor, making guest appearances worldwide. Coming to Europe, he was a mime student of the masters of the art Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau in Paris, and he served as Marceau's assistant for a while.
He would dedicate his whole life to the art of mime and pantomime.
At the age of 27, he was invited to come to Slovenia by actresses Lenča Ferenčak and Alja Tkačev. Four days later he was performing on TV.
"After this performance people started writing questions wondering what this is all about, why isn't he talking, is he deaf, is he from here, what kind of art is this. At that time, only directors and intellectuals knew pantomime," he would remember later according to the public broadcaster TV Slovenija.
For many years Valdés was the sole mime artist in Slovenia. He taught pantomime and mime at the Ljubljana Academy Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television, the Ballet School and his own Studio for Mime.
He served as an adviser in many theatre companies. He also appeared on film and TV. His work won him many awards, including one from the World Mime Organisation. He was presented the Medal of Merit for his enrichment of Slovenian culture by President Borut Pahor in 2017.