HAVANA, Cuba. - Prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso received on Thursday in this city the Haydee Santamaria Medal conferred by the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba.
In a solemn ceremony held at the Che Guevara Hall of Havana’s Casa de las Americas cultural institution, the center’s president, Roberto Fernandez Retamar, gave the medal to the director of Cuba’s National Ballet Company (BCN), who will turn 90 years of age on December 21.
Attending the ceremony were Homero Acosta, secretary of the Council of State; Culture Minister Abel Prieto; and Miguel Barnet, president of the Association of Cuban Writers and Artists, as well as workers from the BNC, relatives and friends.
The accord giving the medal to the artist, signed by President Raul Castro, is based on the fact that Alicia is one of the most outstanding personalities in dance history, and a top figure of classic ballet in Latin America, as well as for her commendable work in the training of several generations of Cuban dancers.
In her words of appreciation, Alicia Alonso pointed out that this is one of the most important honors she has received in her life, for being linked to Haydee, a friend and an unconditional woman and revolutionary, who made great contributions to the development of Cuba’s National ballet Company from Casa de las Americas.
She said that more than a written speech, her words came right from her heart, since she was deeply moved and happy for this birthday present.
Haydee, she added, was a very sensitive human being, and as president of Casa de las Americas always thought about every detail –from the simplest to the most complex ones.
The Haydee Santamaría Medal bears the name of the revolutionary heroine that founded Casa de las Americas to promote Latin American and Caribbean integration.