Alicia Alonso was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1920. She studied in Havana, then in New York with Vilzak and at the School of American Ballet, and later with Volkova in London. She joined the American Ballet Theatre in 1940 and danced with them until 1960. She was an intensely dramatic dancer as well as a pure technician. With Youskevithc she formed a great partnership.
Her most famous role was Giselle, but she also created roles in Tudor's Undertow (1945), Balanchine's Theme and Variations (1947), de Mille's Fall River Legend (1948), and the title role in Alberto Alonso's Carmen (1967).
She founded Ballet Alicia Alonso in Cuba in 1950. It changed it's name to National Ballet of Cuba in 1960. She was the director and prima ballerina, and they toured widely in the USSR, China and Europe.