Six dancers from the Cuban National Ballet have arrived in Miami, after defecting while on tour in search of success outside a homeland where they say young artists have no future.
"Dancers are disillusioned, because they don’t give us the opportunities we deserve," dancer Carlos Galíndez told reporters.
He and his fellow dancers arrived from Puerto Rico over the weekend, said Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami director Pedro Pablo Pena, who spoke with four of them Sunday and has pledged to support them.
The dancers told reporters they had decided to flee because they knew they had no future in Cuba as artists, and although they had long thought about fleeing, they made their decision while in Puerto Rico.
They said they were eager to succeed in the United States, whether with a dance company or outside of the dance world.
Despite the Cuban National Ballet's prestige, dancers routinely defect while on international tour. The first dancers defected in 1966 in Paris, citing political reasons.
More recently dancers say they have left also for economic and artistic motives. Cuban ballet dancers earn on average no more than $30 a month.
Pena himself is an exiled Cuban dancer and has taken in numerous ballerinas throughout the years.