Tags: cuban | ballet | defectors

Cuban Ballet Defectors: Group Comes to US for 'Freedom and Opportunity'

By    |   Wednesday, 11 June 2014 01:49 PM

Defectors from the National Ballet of Cuba arrived in Miami on Tuesday, and said they plan to stay in the U.S. to pursue their careers.

"The dancers defected because they need personal freedom and opportunity in their career," Pedro Pablo Peña of the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, a nonprofit dance organization he founded to receive such dancers, told Reuters. "It's a short career. Here they'll at least get paid more than they do in Cuba."

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Several of the seven defecting dancers have family the U.S. and expressed their happiness for their new lives.

Many of them planned their escape a year in advance.

Yaima Mendez Rivero was one of the defectors. She slipped away during a performance in nearby U.S. protectorate Puerto Rico, and met up with her uncle. She was the first to arrive in Miami, and alerted the other six the coast was clear to defect themselves, CBS Miami reported.

Rivero is staying with the family of her cousin, Lidiace Rivero, who is thrilled to have her.

Another dancer, Jorge Oscar Sanchez, told his father, "It's over, it's over" upon arriving, referring to their separation 20 years ago, CBS said.

Other dancers who don't have family or friends to stay with will be put up in a house that features a dance space by Peña and his nonprofit organization. Peña himself is a former ballet dancer from Cuba. He created the organization after he defected 30 years ago and didn't have a place to go once he arrived.

The Miami Herald reported that seven dancers also defected last year. They found work in less than six months. 

"It’s not too difficult because they have the quality level," said Peña, noting that Cuba has a long tradition of producing world-class ballerinas. "Their résumés are sent to company directors and, because many arrive without videos or any other means to show their work, the fact that they are able to dance in Miami when they arrive gives them credibility."

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Defectors from the National Ballet of Cuba arrived in Miami on Tuesday, and said they plan to stay in the U.S. to pursue their careers.
cuban, ballet, defectors
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 01:49 PM
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