I love this photo of Alicia Alonso. I have only watched short videos of her dancing, but I can see the magic she carried with her everywhere she went. [See this link for a very brief video.] In the article below, Sheila Cross (The Guardian) explains why “Cubans will never forget their ballerina Alicia Alonso.” I will never forget her either. “The nation recognized that she had given up international fame to develop ballet as an art form and entertainment on the island,” writes Cross.
It is impossible to exaggerate the impact of Alicia Alonso (Obituary, 21 October). It is extraordinary that a ballerina could develop almost as much adulation in the impoverished island of Cuba as Castro.
On my first visit to Cuba, in 1981, the shops were virtually bare, and even tourist hotels were unable to offer much choice of food, with pineapple dominating each meal, from breakfast on. But on a tour of the island the minibus stopped at a little shop in an isolated village and, while it was bare of essential foods, there were Alonso bags and other items.
The nation recognised that she had given up international fame, as one of the greatest ballerinas of the century, to develop ballet as an art form and entertainment on the island; the result was soft power as the excellence of Cuban ballet training became world renowned.
As a director of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, her productions of classics, notably Giselle, were renowned, yet in recent years she encouraged the British friends of the company to sponsor more contemporary ballets by young leading female choreographers from Europe.
Next year the International Ballet Festival in Havana will celebrate her remarkable achievements.