Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso

Prima Ballerina

Book - 2011
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Alicia Alonso's artistic achievements are remarkable, considering that she became partially blind and lost her peripheral vision at age nineteen. From childhood, she exhibited a passion for dancing, studying first in Cuba and later in New York City, where she became an overnight sensation in Giselle and was promoted to principal dancer in Ballet Theater. Returning to Cuba in 1948, she founded her own company, which eventually folded due to lack of funding. In 1959 the Cuban government gave her enough money to establish a new dance school, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, which Alonso directs to this day.

In elegant free verse and stunning artwork rendered in watercolor, colored pencils, and lithograph pencils on watercolor paper, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and Raúl Colón capture the seminal events in Alonso's life. The back matter includes a biography, Alonso's ballets, choreography, and awards, a glossary, sources, notes, and websites.

Publisher: New York : Marshall Cavendish Children's, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780761455622
0761455620
Branch Call Number: J BIO ALONSO A. BernierG 09/2011
Characteristics: 64 p. :,ill. ;,28 cm.
Additional Contributors: Colón, Raúl

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Feb 15, 2012

Not a household name exactly here in the States, Ms. Alonso's story is worth hearing because it concerns a woman overcoming physical challenges as well as personal and political ones. To show a life and judge it in the context of its times is a challenge for adult writers. It can be doubly hard for children’s authors, so this accomplishment of Ms. Bernier-Grand's is all the greater. A fabulous bio.

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Feb 15, 2012

ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 11

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Feb 15, 2012

A child named Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad del Cobre Martinez y del Hoyo dances in her Cuban home. “Like light, / she’s barely aware / of the floor beneath her dancing feet.” Few could suspect at the time that she would grow up to become perhaps the greatest Cuban ballerina in the world. After years of practice she marries at fifteen to a fellow dancer and moves to New York. It’s there that she is discovered, just in time for her retina to detach. But even blinded she dances in her head and when she comes back to the stage her toe shoes are glued to her feet with blood. Back in Cuba she starts a dance company that suffers under the dictator Batista and does better under Castro. When the decision comes to dance for Cuba or the U.S. she stays with her roots, to the admonishment of the exiles. To this day she dances still. A final author’s note, list of ballets she’s performed, awards received, a Chronology, Glossary of terms, Sources, Website, and Notes appear at the end.

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ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD Feb 15, 2012

“Like light, / she’s barely aware / of the floor beneath her dancing feet.”

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