October 21, 2014
HAVANA (AP) - A Cuban dance official is confirming that seven members of the National Ballet of Cuba have defected.
The official says they abandoned the company last month while on a performing tour in Mexico. The person lacked authorization to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Cuban exile blog "Cafe Fuerte" reported that six of the seven subsequently traveled to the United States. One remained in Mexico.
Cuban ballet instructor Ramona de Saa said Wednesday that word of the defections "pains us."
The National Ballet is a pride of Cuban officials and has churned out many world-class dancers.
However it has seen a number of high-profile defections over the years. In March 2011, five members of the company stayed behind after a performance in Canada.