The Diva of Dance

Dariela Aquique 

Alicia Alonso at a celebration for her 90th birthday in Havana. Photo: Elio Delgado

HAVANA TIMES, 9 agosto – Moscow is paying homage to Alicia Alonso — the “Diva of Dance” — to mark her ninetieth birthday.  An intimate room in the Bolshoi Theater was the setting where Russians honored the most eminent figure of Cuban ballet.

Cuba’s Prima Ballerina Absoluta and still the director of the Ballet de Cuba company (since 1955), despite her age she remains active as a choreographer and teacher.

In her years of splendor she is considered by the most expert of this majestic profession as the best Giselle of all times and a dancer who is immortalized by her unsurpassed performances of Carmen, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardee and Swan Lake.  Because of this, she continues holding the name of the island high with regard to art.

Actually there have been a host of activities organized on and outside the country for the celebration of the anniversary of this icon of the stage.

After thanking the Muscovites who gathered, this woman — who specialized critics have described on countless occasions as the most outstanding living marvel of classical world ballet — stated in a press conference that she was fascinated by the music of a certain Russian composer and that it inspired her to immediately begin working on the choreography for a new ballet.

Undoubtedly her creative spirit has no age.  Her vitality and innovative genius surprise everyone.  The shaper of several generations of talent, many artists who are dancing with the Cuban company and others who are with recognized foreign groups, Alicia continues contributing her enduring legacy to world culture.

She decided not to leave Cuba, proclaimed her unconditional support for the revolution, and from here — despite the shortages that are so often faced by national stage productions — has been able to do the unimaginable.  To borrow somewhat from Lewis Carroll:  She’s not an Alicia in wonderland; she’s the Alicia who does wonders in this country.

The Grand Theater of Havana, the main office of her BNC (Ballet Nacional de Cuba), draws open and closes its curtain in presenting the public premieres and return performances of the most exquisite works in its national and international repertoire.

With her restricted physical sight, something that never prevented her from dancing (thanks to specially directed spotlights and other markers), Alicia can’t see many of her admirers, but she can hear the never-ending applause that Cuba and the world gives to her, the Diva of Dance.