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Alicia Alonso


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#61 Vanya

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 04:33 PM

Hi - I have got hold a video called "Alicia", featuring world famous prima Alicia Alonso. I was particularly impressed by her Black Swan in which she turns FIVE EN DEHORS PIROUETTES (unsupported, of course), at the beginning of her variation.

I mean, I know that she was a virtuoso, but cud it be THAT VIRTUOSO? Or maybe the video was altered somehow...

Apart from that, I admired the fact that the focus of her performance was artistry all along the ballets she danced, not only virtuosity. Maybe after one virtuoso display she did very simple steps, so you was that her objective was NOT to show how good she was, in the tecnical sense.

She seemed to have a perfect sense of what a truly prima was, and of the difference between a virtuoso and an artist.

Can anyone still clarify this issue of the 5 pirouettes for me? I find it hard to believe!!!

thank you!!!!

silvy


Silvy-I can absolutely attest to the fact that Alicia could turn. I was a member of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and saw her do some amazing pirouettes numerous times. After class one day she did NINE pirouettes on pointe. She just got "stuck" on balance, as it were. I was standing not more than ten feet away at the time and counted every one of them.
Vanya

#62 bart

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 05:37 PM

Silvy-I can absolutely attest to the fact that Alicia could turn. I was a member of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and saw her do some amazing pirouettes numerous times. After class one day she did NINE pirouettes on pointe. She just got "stuck" on balance, as it were. I was standing not more than ten feet away at the time and counted every one of them.

:wink: I hope cubanmiamiboy is reading this!

Vanya, welcome to Ballet Talk. A number of us have interest in -- and even a certain amount of experience with -- the period in which Alonso danced in the U.S. as well as Cuba. We hope you'll be a regular part of this and other conversations.

#63 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:41 AM

Yes, welcome, Vanya!
I never got to see Mme. at her peak. I started watching her live performances when I moved to Havana in 1991, and she was in her ealy 70's, even thought she did perform in regular basis. I'm sure you remember all that period: "Casiopea", "Dido...", "La Diva"-(about Maria Callas), "Cleopatra eterna" and of course, the entrechat sequence from Giselle Act II that she got to perform until the end, just for the heck of it and that of our pleasure.

#64 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 08:29 PM

Here there is the performance final curtain calls that took place in Havana, November 2, 1978 to pay tyribute to the 35 th anniversary of Mme in the role of Giselle. Paying respects onstage were her beloved partenaire Igor Youskevitch and her very first Albretch, Anton Dolin, who crowned her and knelt before her, after which she did the same to him. After that we're presented with the famous series of entrechats/batteries that she was still able to perform well until the end of her active career and became her most loved moment of the ballet. The clips range from the 60's, 70's, 80's and even 90's-(there is one not included, which we can see in the movie of the Ballet Russes, from 1958 of that same sequence with Youskevitch)
Enjoy it!! :dunno:
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#65 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:14 PM

(Moved from the Ashley Bouder Twitter thread).

Do you think Mme. Alonso would have been able to build such a great ARTISTIC company if she hadn't also cozied up to a tyrant?.

No, I don't. She had the artistry and the desire, but not the money.

Do you think that other voices of dance in Cuba deserve or deserved to be heard and seen...?.

Yes, I do.

...but were not because of Alonso's symbiotic relationship with the Castro regime?.

I don't think there was such an issue. It was more the result of Mme's tyrannic management and power over artistic issues.

Now if Mme. Alonso can sit back and say that she did this all to create a great ballet company, then more power to her....

Which is the case.

...but I'm just pointing out that in the past (and probably in the present) dancers haven't hesitated to use foul political connections to get ahead....

This is right. Among the well known ones: Kesshinska-(Czar Nicholas II)- Lepechinskaya-(Stalin) and so on...
Not that much Alonso's case though. Her active career as a ballerina was over by the time she returned back to Cuba in 1960. All her years of glory took place in New York-(1939-1959), while Castro was still a Law student in Havana University.

#66 aurora

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:23 PM

(Moved from the Ashley Bouder Tweeter thread).

....

...but I'm just pointing out that in the past (and probably in the present) dancers haven't hesitated to use foul political connections to get ahead....

Not that much Alonso's case though. Her active career as a ballerina was over by the time she returned back to Cuba in 1960. All her years of glory took place in New York-(1939-1959), while Castro was still a Law student in Havana University.


Two things, the fact that it didn't help her get ahead as a ballerina does not mean she didn't use political connections to get ahead. She used them to found her school and company become a major force to be reckoned with in Cuba, that qualifies as "getting ahead" to me.

Also, and yes, OT, are you deliberately misstating the term? I know you hate twitter, but after reading and participating in that thread, you can't seriously think "Tweeter" is the correct term and using it seems to show a certain intentional disrespect that seems unnecessary, especially here where it is totally out of context.

#67 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:29 PM

the fact that it didn't help her get ahead as a ballerina does not mean she didn't use political connections to get ahead. She used them to found her school and company become a major force to be reckoned with in Cuba, that qualifies as "getting ahead" to me.

Actually, besides getting herself ahead as a school founder-(agree with that)- she also got ahead thousands of dancers carreers too...



(Moved from the Ashley Bouder Twitter thread).


...but I'm just pointing out that in the past (and probably in the present) dancers haven't hesitated to use foul political connections to get ahead....

Not that much Alonso's case though. Her active career as a ballerina was over by the time she returned back to Cuba in 1960. All her years of glory took place in New York-(1939-1959), while Castro was still a Law student in Havana University.


Two things, the fact that it didn't help her get ahead as a ballerina does not mean she didn't use political connections to get ahead. She used them to found her school and company become a major force to be reckoned with in Cuba, that qualifies as "getting ahead" to me.

Also, and yes, OT, are you deliberately misstating the term? I know you hate twitter, but after reading and participating in that thread, you can't seriously think "Tweeter" is the correct term and using it seems to show a certain intentional disrespect that seems unnecessary, especially here where it is totally out of context.


Aurora...all that I can promise you is that I wrote the term just as it crossed my head at that very minute. I might be passionate on my posts-(and even a bit sarcastic sometimes)-but I would NEVER even consider to be disrespectful to ANYONE intentionally, specially here. If I did so unintentionally, my deep apologies. Everytime I post I have to go to a painful spellchecking process, for which English is not my first language and I still write with many mistakes, and for some reason my spellcheck thing didn't seem to detect it either. I will go and correct it right now. Sorry again for giving you the wrong impression. And I don't hate Twitter, to tell you the truth...I can't hate something that I can't even identify with or even spell succesfully.

#68 aurora

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:44 PM

Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.
(What's OT?)


Ahh ok, sorry, just some of the things you had said made me wonder.
As for spell check, well...I don't think spell check has quite caught up to twitter yet :wink:

OT=off topic. I was just saying that unlike my other comment, this one wasn't really relevant to the subject at hand, Mme Alonso!

#69 papeetepatrick

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 08:58 PM

...but I'm just pointing out that in the past (and probably in the present) dancers haven't hesitated to use foul political connections to get ahead....


They are not necessarily 'foul political connections', she was Cuban and that he was a Socialist wasn't necessarily all that important to an artist. Of course, if we'd succeeded at the Bay of Pigs, there would have been no Cuban Missile Crisis and not communist ballet troupe, but that's life. Lots of people think we've had mad tyrants and despots in the U.S., and at least one has not bee proved duly elected. So 'cozying up to a tyrant', while accurate in certain ways, is also just like the rest of what you're talking about--what dancers, as well as many other ambitious people will do.

We had the thread on the 'BNP ballerina' at English National Ballet, and people decided that she should 'still be able to earn her living' while championing this Mongoloid Fascist Party. While discussing this, personal matters about Nureyev were brought up that showed irresponsibility on a personal level. While I obviously don't agree with Cristian about the Twitter being of any importance at all, I don't think Alonso, as a Cuban, wasn't doing what other talented people in Communist regimes had to do in terms of some compromise, if they wanted to be part of the artistic elite of a country. Balanchine always went on and on about how dancers shouldn't be political, and even told Suzanne Farrell to vote Republican early on, as I recall. I'm sure she changed to a more individual point of view long ago, but Alonse ascending in Communist Cuba may have many sins involved with it, but she created a fine dance company. I think most dancers and choreographers respect her and don't think about her 'schmoozing with tyrants'. In other words, if we don't do a whole Inquisition of all dancers and their 'selling out' in one way or other to unfavrourable circumstances and political ideologies, we don't really need to do one about Alonso, just because Cristian doesn't like Twitter. Maybe it's just an aesthetic thing with him, I don't know. But you didn't find anybody in the dance world boycotting Alonso's company, did you? And I was a student usher at the Met when we had them here one summer. It's pretty much relative. The argument was based on 'is Twittering not much less bad than what Alonso did cozying up to Castro'. Well, of course it's not even 'bad', but if somebody thinks it's tacky, then who cares? I didn't think a thing about the Twitter, but I didn't mind the ones who did. But there really is no discussion based on 'Ashley Bouder's Twitter vs. Alicia Alonso's Ambition with the Commies'.

#70 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 09:28 PM

But there really is no discussion based on 'Ashley Bouder's Twitter vs. Alicia Alonso's Ambition with the Commies'.

It was related to my post on the Cuban ballet company back to the days when there were not even cell phones , and the need to appeal to youngsters wasn't a priority, for which ballet dancers were more fully grown men and women obssessed with their artistic development rather than "boys and girls" trying to be "cool".

#71 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 05 June 2010 - 04:35 PM

Meanwhile...I thought that some of you would like this charming clip of Mme. in "Coppelia".
Enjoy! :P
http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

#72 innopac

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 02:31 PM

A short 15 minute interview with Lynn Garafola talking about Alicia Alonso and her company. The company is performing in Australia later this month.


Link to audio



#73 CM

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:58 AM

RT 25 minute interview with video excerpts (in spanish)



#74 bart

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 11:18 AM

This is marvelous, CM. Thank you for posting it. Alonso looks great (and still performs with her eyes as well as hands.)

Those without Spanish can follow the summaries of the main points (some in English) which appear at the bottom of the screen. Those like me who have onlyi a limited command of conversational Spanish can follow it. Alonso speaks and clearly. I could understand her better than I could understand the young interviewer. (Is this a matter of accent?)

There is well-chosen footage of Alonso and dancing as well as other dancers today. The film actually relates to what she is talking about.

Looking forward to hearing what Ballet Alert's real Spanish-speakers think of Alonso's comments.

#75 Bonnette

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 12:22 PM

She is magnificent, exquisite. I do not understand Spanish, but she communicates with her dance, her hands, her eyes, her grace and dignity, her full presence. The accompanying clips are wonderful. Thank you, CM.


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