Seven dancers with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba reportedly have defected while traveling last month in
The website Cafe Fuerte, dedicated to Cuban American affairs, has run an interview with some of the dancers, who said they defected because they are seeking a better life. "It's the hardest decision I've made in my life," dancer Annie Ruiz Diaz, 24, told the site. "We were determined to find a better life, artistic and economic well-being for our families."
An Associated Press report cited Ramona de Saá, director of the National Ballet School, who confirmed that seven members of the ballet company had defected in Mexico.
The dancers defected "to be in a place where one can grow artistically," Ariadnni Martín, 20, said on the show, according to the Herald.
The prestigious company has seen a number of dancers defecting to the U.S. over the past decade. Rolando Sarabia, one of the company's top dancers, defected in 2005.
The company performed in Southern California in 2011, with engagements at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.