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Cuban national ballet dancers defect to Miami

Friday, April 05, 2013 - 01:26

April 5 - A group of Cuban ballet dancers has defected to the United States after a tour of the National Ballet of Cuba, one of the communist island's most prestigious institutions. Sarah Sheffer reports.

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A lot is at stake here for six Cuban dancers, auditioning for The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. They defected last month from the National Ballet of Cuba - one of the island country's proudest and most prestigious institutions. Abandoning their group while touring Mexico, the dancers made their way to the U.S. border. Cuban exiles are afforded special immigration privileges in the U.S. as well as financial benefits to help them get on their feet. The Miami company will act as a support base, a platform to get the dancers started - if they make the cut. Talking after an intense two-hour workout, the dancers said they left Cuba in search of better opportunities. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARIANNI MARTIN CABRALES, CUBAN BALLET DANCER WHO DEFECTED, SAYING: "We are in the prime of our youth and we can do anything. This is a country where we can have opportunities and we are going to take them, so we can prosper and become what I want to become." Cuba provides free training to thousands of young dancers around the country from aged nine, with the elite graduating to the National Ballet. But over the years, many of the Cuban ballet company's dancers have defected and joined other companies abroad. The latest group included some of their soloist dancers.

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Cuban national ballet dancers defect to Miami

Friday, April 05, 2013 - 01:26