Alicia Alonso: Cuba's first lady of ballet

When Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and seized power of Cuba in 1959, he promised to change many aspects of Cuban life. One of his policies was to make the arts available to all Cubans, not just the rich.

Prima ballerina Alicia Alonso was the most famous Cuban dancer at the time. She travelled across the world to dance and was the first Western ballerina to be invited to perform in the Soviet Union

Having supported Castro's revolution, she returned to Cuba when Batista was overthrown and was personally promised funding from Castro for a national ballet company.

Alicia Alonso spoke to Witness about founding one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world.

Witness is a World Service programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.

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