Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martínez Hoyo
Alicia Alonso started dancing in Cuba at the age of Nine, her nickname was 'Unga' (short for Hungarian) was the first Latin American (Cuban) to achieve worldwide recognition as a classic ballerina. Became a Prima Ballerina with the European Ballet Theater in 1946. Alicia was the youngest of four children. One of the first dancers she learned was the Flamenco dance with Castanets.
Alicia would learn ballet at the 'Sociedad Pro Arte Musical' - School of Ballet studying with Nicolai Yavorsky. It was here she meet Danseur Fernando Alonso whom she married at the age of fifteen, then moving to New York in 1937.
In her prime it was discovered that she had a problem with seeing which was diagnosed as "detachment of the Retina" in 1941 and was said after the second operation to correct her vision she would never have peripheral vision or dance again, she proved everyone wrong. After her third surgery she finally returned to dancing and got a big break to dance "Giselle" after Alicia Markova became ill, however she was almost blind and still danced it wonderfully. The clip on the right shows this famous dance.
Wiki states: "Youskevitch and her other partners quickly became expert at helping Alonso conceal her handicap. To compensate for only partial sight in one eye and no peripheral vision, the ballerina trained her partners to be exactly where she needed them without exception. She also had the set designers install strong spotlights in different colors to serve as guides for her movements. Alonso knew, for instance, that if she stepped into the glow of the spotlights near the front of the stage, she was getting too close to the orchestra pit. There was also a thin wire stretched across the edge of the stage at waist height as another marker for her, but in general she danced within the encircling arms of her partners and was led by them from point to point. Audiences were reportedly never the wiser as they watched the prima ballerina."
In 1948 Alicia formed the "Academia Nacional de Ballet Alicia Alonso" in Havana. The Havana Press donated land for them to build their school. She formed her own troupe called the Alicia Alonso Company.