Alonso, Alicia

Alonso, Alicia (Alicia Alonso Martínez) älē´syä älōn´sō märtē´nās [key], 1921–, Cuban ballerina and choreographer, b. Havana. 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 husband, ballet master Fernando Alonso (1914–2013), and her brother-in-law, choreographer Alberto Alonso (1917–2007), founded in 1948. Originally called Ballet Alicia Alonso, the company had been in 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 and continued to direct her company into the 21st cent. despite being almost blind.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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