Alonso, Alicia

Alonso, Alicia älēˈsyä älōnˈsō [key], 1921–2019, Cuban ballerina and choreographer, b. Havana as Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martínez y del Hoyo. Alonso danced in Broadway musicals before becoming a soloist with several leading companies, including the American Ballet Theatre, in 1939. She had a large repertoire and was best known for her work in Giselle and in Agnes de Mille's Fall River Legend. Her own works include La Tinaja, Ensayos Sinfonicos, and Lidia, all created for the company she, her first husband, ballet master Fernando Alonso (1914–2013), and her brother-in-law, choreographer Alberto Alonso (1917–2007), founded in 1948. Originally called the Alicia Alonso Ballet CompanyS, the company had financial difficulties and closed in 1956. It was reopened under the sponsorship of Castro government after the 1959 revolution, renamed the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and, touring the world, became a symbol of Cuban artistry. Alonso, who suffered a detached retina at 19, built a stellar career despite her failing vision, performing until 1995. She continued to direct her company until 2019 despite being almost blind.

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