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Dancers defect from National Ballet of Cuba, seek asylum in U.S.

EntertainmentDanceMexicoTelevision IndustryThe Miami Herald

Seven dancers with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba reportedly have defected while traveling last month in Mexico, with some of them resurfacing in the past week seeking asylum in the United States.

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 Miami Herald reported this week that some of the dancers appeared on the television program "Sevcec a Fondo"on the channel America TeVe in Miami.

The dancers defected "to be in a place where one can grow artistically,” Ariadnni Martín, 20, said on the show, according to the Herald.

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Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/04/3321815/seven-members-of-the-national.html#storylink=cpThe Miami Herald reported this week that some of the dancers appeared on a Spanish-language program "Sevcec a Fondo" on America TeVe, a Miami channel, to talk about their decision to defect.The dancers defected "to be in a place where one can grow artistically," Ariadnni Martín, 20, said on the show, according the the Herald.Cafe Fuerte reported that the names of the dancers are Annue Ruiz Dias, 24; Ariadnni Martin, 20; Randy Crespo, 22; Victor Luis Santana, 23; Edward Gonzalez, 23; and Joseph Justiz, 20. A seventh member of the group, Alejandro Mendez, 20, remains in Mexico, according to the website.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.

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EntertainmentDanceMexicoTelevision IndustryThe Miami Herald
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