ALICIA ALONSO Cuba is known for Castro, Cuban cigars, and communism. But thanks to the talent of Alicia Alonso, it is also a world-renowned center for ballet. When Alonso was born in the early 1920s there was no ballet school or professional company in Cuba. Instead she traveled to New York City, Russia, Spain, and Monte Carlo to dance, eventually becoming arguably the most popular and admired ballerina in the 20th Century. Despite a lifelong struggle with failing vision and the political conspiracy that have defined post-revolutionary Cuba, Alonso returned to her beloved land and founded the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and created the island's first dance school.
“I sucked! But that did not last long.” With conquering the sax, her mother and uncle realized she had developed a passion for the music and introduced her to the piano, guitar, drums, and trumpet. She was soon on stage playing with the bands, not just singing. In high school she and a group of friends created a band and started playing between the sessions of the usual bands at
When Cher was young she was diagnosed with dyslexia but didn’t let that stop her from her dream in 1941 she saw the movie Dumbo q“and I pead my pants” she realized that she wanted to become a singer and a dancing animal. At the age of 16 Cher dropped out of Fresno high School and headed for Hollywood to start
She later changed her name to Fanny Brice and got her first professional job in the chorus of The Talk of the Town but ironicely she got fired during rehearsals by the big current star George M. Cohen. Young Fanny was a strong fighter and didn't give up her dream of entertaining. She then finally landed a spot in The Trans-atlantic Burlesquers where she did an Irving Berlin song, "Sadie Salome, Go Home." She did this in a Yiddish dialect seeing that she looked the way she did. Although she was not Jewish, she quoted " In anything Jewish I ever did, I wasn't standing apart making fun.
In 1960, Vivian took Debbie and her siblings to live with her in Mexico. After almost two years in Mexico, the Allen family returned to Texas, where the twelve year old Debbie auditioned for the Houston Ballet School. Debbie’s performance was good enough for admission, however the school denied her entry based on the color of her skin. Fortunately, a year later, a Russian instructor at the school who saw Debbie perform and secretly enrolled the aspiring dancer. When the admissions department discovered what had happened, they were going kick her out but they were so impressed with her skills that they let Allen stay in the program.
She tried to gain employment in the field, but as a woman in the 1950s, she did not fit the profile that the male dominated record companies were looking for even though she already had a degree in music under her belt. However, in 1960, she was hired as a Trainee Assistant Studio Manager at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).2 When she found out about the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, a department whose purpose was to create new sound effects and music for radio programs, Delia became fixated on working there. Eventually, she convinced the reluctant BBC to allow her to change positions. Derbyshire then went straight to work creating a legacy of new sounds. Delia Derbyshire’s most famous recording, not to mention one of her earliest, is her 1963 theme for the television show, Dr. Who.
But hosting a talk show wasn't all Winfrey had in mind. Although untrained as an actress, she was nominated for an Oscar for her powerful performance as a slave in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. (Two decades later Winfrey produced a musical version on Broadway.) She created Harpo productions to house her show and to produce socially relevant films. She also launched a monthly book segment on her show and her selections immediately became best sellers.
Soon, Kirkland became a favorite of Balanchine who went on to choreograph a production of his 1949 Firebird for her. Balanchine became sort of like a father figure to her, but when he belittled her ballet idols such as Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn they had a falling out and quit speaking. In 1970, Kirkland was promoted to soloist and then principal dancer in 1972. While in the New York City Ballet she performed a variety of leading roles in their repertory, including Concerto Barocco, The Cage, Irish Fantasy, Symphony in C, La Source, Theme and Variations, Tarantella, Harlequinade, The Nutcracker and Dances at a Gathering. In 1974, Kirkland was asked by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join him as a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater (ABT).
There, Schumann immediately fell in love with Clara’s piano playing and moved in with her family in order to study music with Wieck. During that period, Wieck recognized Schumann’s talent, however doubted him as an unstable and undisciplined being – which was perhaps be one of the reason that Wieck objected to his marriage with Clara later. During Schumann’s time with Wieck, Schumann’s passion for Clara grew and finally they were in love in 1835. When Clara was on tour in Europe, they sent letters that expressed their love and the excruciating pain it was to endure without seeing each other. When Clara turned nineteen, she confessed to Wieck about her relationship with Schumann.
In 1974 tragedy came upon the jazz world, Duke Ellington passed away. He said he decided to become a musician when, in his youth, he realized that "when you were playing piano there was always a pretty girl standing down at the bass clef end of the piano." By the end of his life, he would declare, "Music is my mistress," which became entirely true, for it was his love and his life. Duke Ellington has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and at least fifteen honorary degrees. The name "Duke" came from his personality, it is said he was something of a dandy with a love of fancy clothes and an elegant style.