On June 5th, at the closing event for the second “5 Days for the Cuban 5 in Washington DC” a packed hall heard a moving appeal from the legendary Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso. In her message, Alonso who began her professional career in New York City, said that she knows how people in the United States think and how much they love justice and that is why she is asking them to help bring the Cuban 5 back home to their loved ones.
Alicia Alonso is regarded internationally as the prima ballerina and choreographer. In 1955 her company became the Ballet of Cuba. Alonso, Director of the BNC for 60 years, performed with the American Ballet Theater (ABT) between 1941 and 1948, early in her career, and was in that North American company where she made her debut in the role of “Giselle”, considered the summit of their interpretations.
Alicia Alonso’s interpretations of Giselle and Carmen and other works from the classical repertoire are regarded as the pinnacle of Latin American ballet in all its history. She has been an inspiration and guide to the new generations of Cuban dancers and with her own consummate style has left an indelible mark on the international world of dance. Currently some of her former and more famous students are dancing at the American Ballet Theater, the Boston Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Washington Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet and the Royal Ballet, to name just a few.
Through more than half a century in the world of ballet Alicia Alonso has received more than one hundred national distinctions and 177 international recognitions. In June 2002 she was designated UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for her outstanding contribution to the development, preservation and popularization of classical dance and for her devotion to the art-form. On June 3, 2010 the American Ballet Theater of New York paid tribute to her 90th birthday by hosting a special artistic gala held at the Metropolitan Opera House, headquarters of the ABT in New York.