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Cuban ballet choreographer dies in Gainesville
Alonso died Monday at North Florida Regional Medical Center, said an official at Santa Fe Community College. He became the school's master artist in residence in 1993. Cuban ballet master and choreographer

He was best known for his 1967 work "Carmen Suite," the only Bolshoi Ballet ever commissioned by a non-Russian.

"He has a very important place in the history of dance," said Alora Haynes, chair of Santa Fe's visual and performing arts program. She arranged for Alonso to come to the school after his defection from Cuba in 1993 at age 76.

"He worked up until about two weeks ago," she said Thursday.

Born in 1917 in Havana, Cuba, he first gained international acclaim in 1935 when he emerged as the first notable Cuban male dancer while performing for the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo. After touring the world as principal dancer, he returned to Cuba in 1940 to begin his career as a choreographer and co-director of the National Ballet of Cuba.

Alonso is survived by his wife, Sonia, a Cuban dancer and actress, a son, two daughters, a brother and two grandsons.


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