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Alicia Alonso

Alicia Alonso was a Cuban prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer whose company became the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1955. She is best known for the ballet version of Carmen. From the age of nineteen, Alonso was afflicted with an eye condition and became blind, her partners always had to be in the exact place she expected them to be, she used lights in different parts of the stage to guide herself. Alonso was born "on the outskirts" of Havana in 1920, the fourth child of Antonio Martínez Arredondo, lieutenant veterinarian of the army, Ernestina del Hoyo y Lugo, a dressmaker. Alonso began dancing as a child. In June 1931 she began studying ballet at Sociedad Pro-Arte Musical in Havana with Nikolai Yavorsky, she performed publicly for the first time on 29 December 1931, aged 11. Her first serious debut was in Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty at the Teatro Auditorium on 26 October 1932. Early in her career in Cuba, she danced under the name of Alicia Martínez. Progress in her lessons came to an abrupt halt in 1937 when Alonso fell in love with a fellow ballet student, Fernando Alonso, whom she married at age 16 The couple moved to New York City, hoping to begin their professional careers.

There they found a home with relatives near Riverside Drive. She gave birth to a daughter, Laura, in 1938, but continued her training at the School of American Ballet. In 1938, she made her debut in the U. S. performing in the musical comedies Great Lady and Stars In Your Eyes. She arranged to travel to London to study with Vera Volkova. After seeing the doctor for worsening vision problems, Alonso was diagnosed in 1941 with a detached retina and had surgery to correct the problem. Following the operation, she was ordered to lie motionless in bed for 3 months so her eyes could heal. Unable to comply Alonso practiced with her feet and stretching to "keep my feet alive", as she put it; when the bandages came off, she discovered the operation had not been successful. After a second surgery was performed, doctors concluded, she consented to a third procedure in Havana but this time was ordered to lie motionless in bed for an entire year. Her husband sat with her every day, using their fingers to teach her the great dancing roles of classical ballet.

She recalled, "I danced in my mind. Blinded, flat on my back, I taught myself to dance Giselle."Finally allowed to leave her bed, dancing could still not be considered. Against doctor's orders, she went to the ballet studio down the street every day to practice. Just as her hope was returning, Alonso was injured when a hurricane shattered a door in her home, spraying glass splinters onto her head and face. Amazingly, her eyes were not injured; when her doctor saw this, he cleared Alonso to begin dancing, figuring if she could survive an explosion of glass, dancing could do no harm. Alonso traveled back to New York City in 1943 to begin rebuilding her skills. However, before she had settled, out of the blue she was asked to dance Giselle to replace the Ballet Theatre's injured prima ballerina Alicia Markova. Alonso accepted and gave such a performance that the critics declared her a star, her vision difficulties helped inspire her interpretation of the role, wrote Barbara Steinberg in Dance Magazine.

She was promoted to principal dancer of the company in 1946 and danced the role of Giselle until 1948 performing in Swan Lake, Antony Tudor's Undertow, Balanchine's Theme and Variations, in such world premieres as deMille's dramatic ballet Fall River Legend, in which she starred as the Accused. By this time in her career, she had developed a reputation as an intensely dramatic dancer, as well as an ultra-pure technician and a supremely skilled interpreter of classical and romantic repertories; the Ballet Theatre's Igor Youskevitch and her other partners became expert at helping Alonso conceal her handicap. To compensate for only partial sight in one eye and no peripheral vision, the ballerina trained her partners to be where she needed them without exception, she had the set designers install strong spotlights in different colors to serve as guides for her movements. She knew, for instance, that if she stepped into the glow of the spotlights near the front of the stage, she was getting too close to the orchestra pit.

There was a thin wire stretched across the edge of the stage at waist height as another marker for her, but in general she danced within the encircling arms of her partners and was led by them from point to point. Audiences were never the wiser as they watched her dance. Alonso's desire to develop ballet in Cuba led her to return to Havana in 1948 to found her own company, the Alicia Alonso Ballet Company, supported through her fame and earnings; this company became Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Fernando was general director of the company, at that time composed of Ballet Theater dancers temporarily out of work due to a reorganization in the New York company. Fernando's brother Alberto, a choreographer, served as artistic director for the company The company debuted in the capital and departed for a tour of South America. While Alicia was happy with the success of the company, she wanted to showcase more Cuban dancers than non-Cuban dancers, leading her to open a ballet academy in Havana. Alonso ruled the company with an authoritarian hand.

Into her 60s she limited careers of younger dancers whom she regarded as competition to her own dancing career. Combined with the lack of opportunities in Cuba, her behavior led many talented dancers to defect

The Perfume of the Lady in Black (2005 film)

The Perfume of the Lady in Black is a 2005 French comedy mystery film directed by Bruno Podalydès and starring Denis Podalydès, Sabine Azéma and Zabou Breitman. It is inspired by the novel of the same title by Gaston Leroux featuring the detective Joseph Rouletabille, it is a sequel to the 2003 film The Mystery of the Yellow Room. Denis Podalydès as Joseph Rouletabille Sabine Azéma as Mathilde Stangerson Zabou Breitman as Edith Rance Olivier Gourmet as Robert Darzac Jean-Noël Brouté as Sainclair Pierre Arditi as Frédéric Larsan / Naja-Bey Vincent Elbaz as Prince Galitch Michael Lonsdale as Le professeur Stangerson Julos Beaucarne as Le père Jacques / Vieux Bob Isabelle Candelier as Mme Bernier Dominique Parentas M. Bernier Bruno Podalydès as Arthur Rance Michel Vuillermoz as Le curé Roger Roka as Rikki Matoni Vincent Vedo Velli as Brignolles Sylvain Solustri as Tullio Jean Podalydès as Rouletabille enfant Claude Rich as Le juge de Marquet Alistair Fox, Michel Marie, Raphaëlle Moine & Hilary Radner.

A Companion to Contemporary French Cinema. John Wiley & Sons, 2015; the Perfume of the Lady in Black on IMDb

Roberto Parra Sandoval

Roberto Parra Sandoval known in Spanish as El tío Roberto, was a Chilean singer-songwriter and folklorist, member of the Parra family, many of whose members are famous artists. He died in Santiago at age 73. Born in Santiago, Chile as the son of Clarisa Sandoval Navarrete and Nicanor Parra Parra, uncle Roberto was the fifth son in the Parra Sandoval family, after siblings Nicanor, Hilda and Eduardo, born before Caupolicán, Lautaro and Óscar, his first steps in music were precipitated by the early death of his father. With his siblings Violeta and Hilda, he started to sing in the streets of the small towns and villages around Chillán and Parral. In 1935, when he was fourteen years old, Roberto started to work as a guitar player in several circuses, cabarets, first in southern Chile; until the late 1950s, he worked traveling north and south, becoming popular, along with his brother Eduardo, with whom he formed the Dúo de los Hermanos Parra in 1938. He sporadically worked in several other jobs: on Valparaíso's dry-docks, as a paperboy, welder, mechanic helper and the owner of a furniture shop, among others.

La Negra Ester In September 1957, he arrived for the first time in the Chilean port of San Antonio, where he was hired to sing with the orchestra of the cabaret Luces del Puerto. In the boite Río de Janeiro, he met a prostitute and performer of the boite, they started a sentimental relationship, immortalized in his book Las décimas de la Negra Ester, a poetry book written in décimas. Andrés Pérez Araya, director of the theater company Gran Circo Teatro adapted La Negra Ester for the stage. Las décimas de la Negra Ester