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Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso

(Born December 21, 1920)

Alicia Alonso (born Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad Martínez Hoya; 21 December 1920) is a Cuban prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer. Her company became the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1955. She is most famous for her portrayals of Giselle and the ballet version of Carmen. 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. Alonso was born in Havana in 1920 and began dancing there as a child. In June 1931 she began studying ballet at Sociedad Pro-Arte Musical in Havana with Nikolai Yavorsky. She performed publicly for the first time December 29, 1931, aged 11. Her first serious debut was in Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty at the Teatro Auditorium October 26, 1932. She originally danced in Cuba under the name of Alicia Martínez.

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