Cuban ballet dancer who defected joins the Sarasota ballet company

SARASOTA, FL – The newest member of the Sarasota ballet traveled a long way to make his dreams come true.

Just last month, Edward Gonzalez defected from Cuba and entered the United States.

Now he’s a member of a world renowned dance company and he’s getting opportunities he never imagined back at home.

The studio is a dancer’s canvas, and with every move they create a masterpiece.

It’s an art form 23-year-old Edward Gonzalez has known for years as a performer for the National Ballet of Cuba.

Through a translator, Gonzalez said, “The economic situation is really bad. But as dancers they have a little better life compared to the rest of the people.”

But the pay is pitifully low and Cuban dancers don’t have access to the latest advances in the industry.

So on March 28th, while on tour in Mexico, Gonzalez took a bus in the middle of the night and crossed into the US.

He was able to get in touch with the Sarasota Ballet at an opportune time. Director Iain Webb was wrapping up an interview process that had around 350 applicants from around the globe.

Webb was thrilled to hear about Gonzalez because the National Ballet of Cuba is world renown.

Webb said, “Straight away I said well, this is somebody I really want to nurture and invest in and he’ll be a perfect fit with the company.”

Gonzalez was hired on Monday.

But he’s not alone. His teacher, Javier Dubrocq went through the same thing 20 years ago. He defected from Cuba and later joined an American dance company. He’s currently an instructor at The Sarasota Ballet.

Now Gonzalez feels his career can reach heights he never imagined.

“Only I’ve been here in the US for a few days and I’ve started realizing that at least I can dream of things I wanted to do,” said Gonzalez

Gonzalez is the embodiment of the American dream, but his biggest hope is that one day his family in Cuba can come along for the journey.

Gonzalez will immediately start taking classes with the company, and will start performing during the 2013-2014 season, which starts later this year.

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