The prima ballerina who co-founded the National Ballet of Cuba and is credited with bringing classical dance to her homeland died Thursday. Her career included performances with the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre as a teen. Alonso, who started losing her vision at 19, continued performing into her 70s despite being nearly blind. Yet she remains a controversial figure for an authoritarian attitude that pushed many young Cuban dancers to defect.
Will that tarnish her legacy? One prominent artistic director, who hailed Alonso as a "genius of dance," said she'll be remembered as one of the world's best ballerinas "regardless of politics."