Reasons for leaving

For Jaime Reytor it is hard to assume his current reality. He repeats his story over and over again with the precision of an English machine. He cannot believe it yet. First, there was a phone call, then fear, the imaginary persecution by executives from the Cuban National Ballet (BNC by its acronym in Spanish), the finger prints at the Interests Section, a visit to Puerto Rico, money lent by a cousin, the buying of a plain ticket, the escape in the last flight Havana-Miami, the man who allowed him to sleep over at his place, the friend who welcomed him in Phoenix, Arizona.

Even though he doesn’t feel completely satisfied, he confessed to OnCuba to be really happy. For now, the ninth dancer to leave the BNC is only concerned about his legalization in the United States. Last June 12, his visa expired, but according to the legislation, the metamorphosed political asylum and the parole in his passport will make the process easier.

Jaime is part of news that has discredited Cuba’s most important classic dance company. Eight dancers left the company in Puerto Rico and went to the United States.Their statements have been a delicacy for the international media.

It is more of a phenomenon that has been going on for years in Cuban dance, sports, music, and medicine. Some of them remain silent, others don’t.  Others, probably because of their own decision or subtle commitments, publicly disclose their reasons for leaving.

These eight young dancers, with the characteristic innocence and self-confidence of the people their age, confessed that there is favoritism in the company, as well as lousy physical training and medical assistance, lack of autonomy to be hired by a foreign company, and excessive cut downs in tours in order to return some money to the country.

It is a fact that there have been certain issues unsolved in the company for several decades. This results in frequent goodbyes and leads many dancers, even the best, to leave the company. I used to live for dancing, until recently, and just as Yuris Nórido, I suffered every absence. But that’s a different story.

This isn’t the first outflow of dancers and it won’t be the last one either. There are endless reasons for leaving and the youth is looking forward to seeing Cuban from the distance, even though that may imply feeling uprooted.

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The decision by these young dancers to move to the U.S. does not discredit the National Ballet of Cuba. The only reason that a decision of this type is followed by some media in a typical tabloid approach, is the deliberate aim and the huge resources that help to manufacture a story that could attempt to discredit the Cuban Revolution against its great moral authority in most parts of the world. The National Ballet of Cuba will continue earning prestige and recognition. Those that do not want to be part of it have the right and the opportunity to do so without having to suffer the humiliation of being used and misused as instruments of anti Cuban hostility.


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