Alicia Alonso: Prima Ballerina by Carmen T. Bernier-GrandAlicia Alonso’s artistic achievements are remarkable, considering that she became partially blind and lost her peripheral vision at age nineteen. From childhood, she exhibited a passion for dancing, studying first in Cuba and later in New York City, where she became an overnight sensation in Giselle and was promoted to principal dancer in Ballet Theater. Returning to Cuba in 1948, she founded her own company, which eventually folded due to lack of funding. In 1959 the Cuban government gave her enough money to establish a new dance school, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, which Alonso directs to this day.
In elegant free verse and stunning artwork rendered in watercolor, colored pencils, and lithograph pencils on watercolor paper, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and Raúl Colón capture the seminal events in Alonso’s life. The back matter includes a biography, Alonso’s ballets, choreography, and awards, a glossary, sources, notes, and websites.
97 Year Old Alicia Alonso Brings Her Ballet Nacional de Cuba to the U.S.
Firstly, its 70th anniversary. This year also marks 75 years since Alicia debuted in Giselle with the American Ballet Theatre, and the bicentenary of the birth of maestro Marius Petipa , as well as the 30th anniversary of the premiere of the Cuban version of his Don Quixote. It is in this splendid context that the company directed by prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso is starting a new tour of the United States May 15 through June 9 , performing two monuments of world ballet representing resounding successes of its own: Giselle and Don Quixote. As a significant historical reference, it should be noted that Alicia Alonso Havana, , one of the great legends of dance, is included among the founding members of the American Ballet Theatre. The illustrious ballerina retired from the stage in , but as she has stated in several interviews, dance in all its senses, as a technique, as a teacher, as a choreographer, is her life. And Giselle lived among us, wrote the great Cuban intellectual Alejo Carpentier, after watching Alicia dance in Paris. Straz Jr.
On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba tours the U. Named a National Hero of Labor in Cuba, Alonso, 97, has weathered strained international relations and devastating fiscal challenges to have BNC emerge as a world-class dance company.
1 hundred years of solitude
She was best known for her lively, precise Giselle and for her sensual, tragic Carmen. Her dance studies began in childhood with flamenco lessons in Spain. Later she studied ballet in Havana, where she met fellow dancer Fernando Alonso. Soon after he moved to New York City in , she joined him, and the couple subsequently married; they divorced in the mids. At age 17 she enrolled in the School of American Ballet, though she took a brief break to have a baby in In she moved to the newly formed Ballet Theatre later American Ballet Theatre , but after one year she was forced to leave because of eye problems—a difficulty that persisted throughout her life and eventually left her nearly blind.
The rows of plush red floor seats lead up to an orchestral pit where sleek-looking men and women dressed entirely in stylish black tune their instruments; a high ceiling hosts an elaborate painting as well as an immense chandelier whose glitter seems to fill the theater. She moves slowly and is clad entirely in crimson, from her head wrap to her all-enveloping cloak. Alicia Hoya was born in Havana in She studied, and excelled in, dance at the Sociedad Pro-Arte Musical until age 16, when she married Fernando Alonso, another ballet student, and moved with him to New York—not an uncommon occurrence in the s. In fact, at the time, Alonso has said, young aspiring Cuban dancers had to leave the country in order to achieve their goals. How, then, has Cuba acquired such an outstanding international reputation for its unique ballet tradition? After getting a foothold in the city as a member of the chorus line in Broadway musicals, Alonso became a soloist for the American Ballet Caravan, which would later become the New York City Ballet.
From the age of nineteen, Alonso was afflicted with an eye condition and became partially blind. Her partners always had to be in the exact place she expected them to be, and she used lights in different parts of the stage to guide herself. Early Life Alonso was born in Havana in and began dancing there as a child. She performed publicly for the first time on 29 December , aged Rapid progress in her lessons came to an abrupt halt in , when the teenager fell in love with a fellow ballet student, Fernando Alonso , whom she married at age