Homage to Alicia Alonso in Cuba

An international program to mark the 90th birthday of Prima Ballerina Assoluta Alicia Alonso, director of the Cuban National Ballet (BNC, by its Spanish acronym), starts today in Las Tunas, Cuba. Alonso arrived in Las Tunas on Wednesday evening accompanied by a representation of the BNC, as part of a tour through several Cuban cities that will mark the beginning of a series of activities in honor of the world-known ballerina and choreographer.

The first performances will take place this weekend in Las Tunas Theater, including “A concert in Black and White,” a piece representative of neoclassicism in Cuba. There will also be a lecture, “An encounter with dance: technique, expression and style,” by the BNC’s historian Miguel Cabrera as well as a presentation of journalist Jose Luis Estrada Betancourt’s book De la semilla al fruto: la compañía [From Seed to Fruit: The Company] about the national ballet’s history.

Alicia Alonso is one of the most outstanding personalities in the history of dance and the top figure of ballet in Latin America. Born Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martínez Hoya on December 21, 1920, in Havana, she started to take ballet lessons in 1931. She moved to the United States where she continued her training as a dancer with Enrico Zanfretta, Alexandra Fedórova, and other eminent professors of the American Ballet School. Her professional career started in 1938, when she debuted in Broadway with the musical comedies “Great Lady” and “Stars in Your Eyes.”

Back in Havana, in 1948 she founded the Alicia Alonso Ballet, which later became the Cuban National Ballet. As director of the company, Alonso has guided generations of Cuban dancers. Among her many awards, she won the Decoration of Carlo Méndez de Céspedes (1947), Dance Magazine Award (1958), the Médaille de la Ville de Paris and Prix Pavlova (1966).

For full article, see http://www.escambray.cu/Eng/culture/aliciaalonso100205913

For biography of Alicia Alonso (in English), see http://michaelminn.net/andros/index.php?alonso_alicia

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