Alberto Alonso Biography

Died: Dec. 31, 2007 (Gainesville, Florida)
Best Known as: Cuban-born dancer, ballet master, and choreographer

Alberto Alonso was born in Havana, Cuba and spent his life as a dancer, ballet master, and choreographer. Alonso founded the National Ballet of Cuba with his brother and sister-in-law in 1948. Hereceived asylum from the United States in 1993 and remained in Gainesville, Florida until his death. He became the master artist in residence at Santa Fe Community College. Alonso is best known internationally for his work Carmen Suite, in 1967, which remains one of the world's most famous ballets. His Carmen was the first role choreographed specifically for Bolshoi Ballet dancer Maya Plisetskaya, and the first role choreographed by a foreigner in the former Soviet Union. His style was controversial in the late 1960s?the Carmen Suitefaced potential censorship in the USSR?but it has endured and grown in popularity since.