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Alicia Alonso, a friend and a unique human being
21December
Article

Alicia Alonso, a friend and a unique human being

By: Josep Guindo Soldevila

Although I am an interventional cardiologist, I have always been very interested in art in general and photography in particular. In 2010, Taüll Gallery in Barcelona proposed I would do an exhibition, and with the complicity of my patient-friend and a great painter, Antoni Vives Fierro, we decided to make a joint exhibition that would be entitled Las dos Cubas (The two Cubas.) Vives Fierro, a great connoisseur of Cuba, advised me on which places to visit. Among his many advices he told me that I should go try to photograph Alicia Alonso, since it was a true myth for the Cubans. I must admit that until that moment I knew nothing about ballet and Alicia Alonso.

Difficult to explain coincidences allowed me to meet Alicia Alonso on February 10, 2011 and take my first ballet photographs, in an essay at the Escuela del Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Cuba´s National Ballet School.) From that first experience, I could see several facts about Alicia: first of all her generosity. Without knowing me, (let alone that I am not a person of great relevance in the world of photography or ballet) she came to the Escuela de Danza specifically to hand me an essay and give me the opportunity to photograph her, at 88 years and just one day before she left for a tour around Canada with the National Ballet. Secondly, her charisma: her presence makes a deep impression. She is surrounded by an aura that when she is anywhere she attracts absolutely everyone. Without her pretending, everything revolves around her. The feeling I got was truly shocking.

 

Pedro Simón, Alicia Alonso and Josep Guindo
Pedro Simón, Alicia Alonso, Josep Guindo

 

Alicia does not need her eyes to see, to appreciate what is happening around her. I remember how, within a few minutes of starting the essay, she interrupted me to get my attention. She spoke to Mauricio Abreu and he came to me to say: "Guindo, Alicia says that you should not be so shy, that you should relax and take pictures from wherever you want." Alicia, who was watching me, knew how I felt!

From the very moment I met Alicia I was captivated. I feel a deep affection and admiration for her and I am very fortunate to be able to enjoy her affection and friendship....