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Thu Oct 17, 2019, 06:48 PM

Alicia Alonso, Star of Cuba's National Ballet, Dies at 98.

'A ballerina of unusual range and power, she continued to dance into her 70s despite chronic vision problems.

Alicia Alonso, who overcame near-blindness to become a charismatic ballerina of unusual range and power, and who helped found what became, with Fidel Castro’s support, the National Ballet of Cuba, died on Thursday in Havana. She was 98.

The National Ballet announced her death.

The Cuban-born Ms. Alonso, who continued to dance into her 70s, was an admired star of American Ballet Theater and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1957, in the depths of the Cold War, she became the first ballerina from the Western Hemisphere to appear as a guest artist in the Soviet Union.

She was striking onstage, with strong features, wavy black hair and a grand manner that could burst into flamboyance during curtain calls. Offstage she was earthy and convivial.

Her influence was far-reaching. Famed for her interpretations of the classics, especially “Giselle,” Ms. Alonso was also at home in contemporary works. When she danced with the renowned Igor Youskevitch, audiences cheered one of the great partnerships of 20th-century ballet.'>>>


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