Fernando Alonso:
The Father of Cuban Ballet

Toba Singer

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"One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. Cuba is a mystery to so many of us, and this book gives an insight into the making of a great ballet style and company. A must-read for dancers, students, and balletomanes."--David Howard, Broadway Dance Center

"A long overdue book about one of the most influential figures in the making of the Cuban ballet miracle."--Lynn Garafola, author of Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance

"A greatly informative--and unusually structured--account of one of ballet’s most influential and impressive teachers from the past 100 years. The English-speaking dance world has lost track of him owing to two Cold Wars--that between the U.S. and Cuba and that between Alonso himself and his former wife and inspiration, Alicia. The interviews that Singer conducts here unflinchingly take stock of both."--Mindy Aloff, author of Dance Anecdotes

"An illuminating biography of one of the most important pedagogues in twentieth-century ballet. Fernando Alonso not only codified the formidable Cuban ballet technique, but he trained many of the extraordinary Cuban dancers who grace the international stage today."-- Suki John, Texas Christian University

"Alonso’s philosophies are gems for ballet dancers."--Miko Fogarty, Gold Medalist, World Ballet Competition, and star of the award-winning film, First Position

The Cuban National Ballet, complete with its own training school and indigenous twist, was built in large part by Fernando Alonso, a remarkable man who danced on Broadway, studied with the greatest figures of the Golden Era of Ballet, and helped win the support of the post-1959 revolutionary government for the advancement of ballet.

Written records of Alonso’s work are scarce, yet Toba Singer’s quest to spotlight his seminal role in the development of the modern ballet canon yields key material: pre-blockade tapes from Lincoln Center, Spanish-language sources from the Museum of Dance in Havana, and interviews with the ballet master himself alongside a broad range of friends, relatives, and collaborators from throughout his long career, including his ex-wife, Alicia, a famous ballerina in her own right.

Under Alonso’s loving guidance, Cuban ballet has become the most revered art form in the country--and a powerful presence in the international dance arena.

Toba Singer is the author of First Position: A Century of Ballet Artists. She lives in Oakland, California

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"She may be the prima ballerina assoluta, but Madame Alicia isn’t the only Alonso to have shaped Cuban ballet. Toba Singer’s biography of master teacher, dancer, and administrator Fernando Alonso reveals why he’s regarded as the father of Cuban ballet." Cubanartnews.org

"Toba Singer does much to reframe our understanding, helping to correct lingering historical misconceptions." Dance Magazine

"A timely tribute to an incredible man whose vision and dedication to his art has established one of the world’s finest classical ballet systems...it also finally and firmly establishes Fernando Alonso in his rightful place in historical annals as one of the world’s greatest ballet teachers." DanceTabs

“Fernando Alonso: The Father of Cuban Ballet is a detailed portrait of an important contributor and visionary in the development of ballet in Cuba… Through illuminating the life and work of Fernando Alonso, this book celebrated the critical significant of pedagogy in building a school and company to international renown.” Attitude: The Dancer's Magazine

The story of the Alonsos’ performing career in the United States is, essentially, the story of the birth of American ballet....The book illuminates part of ballet history largely hidden from the West by the Cold War. A riveting read.-- Dance Europe

Offers the first full-length examination of [Fernando Alonso’s] career in English. . . .Succeeds in illuminating the life, work, and personality of a master teacher and in offering valuable lessons about the art and science of ballet.-- New West Indian Guide

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