Havana (AFP)

Cuban dancer and choreographer Alicia Alonso, legend of the ballet, died Thursday at 98 years, we learned from the National Ballet of Cuba.

The only Latin American in history to have been "prima ballerina assoluta" - a symbolic title awarded to the most exceptional ballerinas of their generation - she died Thursday morning at 11:00 (15:00 GMT), said AFP a spokesman for ballet.

"Alicia Alonso left and leaves us a huge void, but also an unequaled legacy," responded on Twitter Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. "She put Cuba at the top of the world dance scene, thank you Alicia for your immortal work".

In Cuba, which she had never wanted to give up despite the money and fame proposals abroad, Alicia Alonso had created a school apart in the world of ballet: the Cuban school, which mixes rhythms and origins to create a recognizable style among all.

Many remember the long-necked, disciplined but strong-tempered dancer, who seduced the audience with her flamboyant strides and was able to make the thirty-two whips of Swan Lake at age 40. And passionate choreographer who continued to teach his art at the dawn of his centennial.

And despite a heavy handicap: almost blind at the age of 20 after a double retinal detachment, Alicia Alonso, who only distinguished the shadows, has danced almost all her life by orienting herself through light cues arranged on the stage, according to her second husband, the director of the National Museum of Dance Pedro Simon.

She did not put away her slippers until 1995, when she was 74 years old. She had become a demanding choreographer, always slender and elegant with her pink lipstick and long nail polish, which made each movement relentlessly repeated until it reached perfection even if it could not see anything. "I dance in my head," she often said.

© 2019 AFP