Company based in Havana and founded by Alicia Alonso and Fernando Alonso with Alberto Alonso as chief choreographer. The company gave its first performances as the Ballet Alicia Alonso in 1948 and was Cuba's first professional ballet company. It took the title Ballet de Cuba in 1955 and National Ballet of Cuba in 1959 following the revolution (which also led to its being granted a state subsidy by the Castro regime). Since then Cuban dancers have won international acclaim for their brilliant technique and appealing stage personalities. Alicia Alonso, for years the company's prima ballerina, also remained its director. The repertoire is wide, embracing the 19th-century Russian and French classics, as well as 20th-century works by Balanchine, Tudor, Robbins, Béjart, and Forsythe. Alonso herself has also contributed many ballets to the repertoire, and home-grown choreographers have made work that reflects the company's Cuban identity. The company made its US debut in 1978, and its British debut at the 1979 Edinburgh Festival. Its most successful production has been Giselle, staged by Alicia Alonso (who danced the title role for many years) and toured internationally. The company's official school was established in 1959 and its exceptional policies of recruitment and training have produced international stars of the calibre of Acosta and Carreño.