Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Defecting Cuban dancer to perform here

Defecting Cuban dancer to perform here
Posted on Tue, Apr. 29, 2008

Another leading Cuban dancer has defected to the United States and will
perform in South Florida next weekend, the fourth Cuban ballet performer
to come to the United States in as many months.

Carlos Quenedit, former principal dancer with the National Ballet of
Cuba, crossed the Mexican border April 21, and will appear with the
Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami May 10-11 at Little Havana's Manuel
Artime Theater.

Quenedit, 22, will be joined by three other Cuban principal dancers,
Taras Domitro, Hayna Gutierrez and Miguel Angel Blanco, who defected
from the National Ballet in December while on tour in Canada. The three
have already performed several times with the Miami troupe, which has
become a launching pad and first stop for defecting dancers.

''I'm going to have to rent a yacht -- a fast one,'' joked Pedro Pablo
Peña, co-artistic director of the Cuban Classical Ballet.

Quenedit went to Mexico approximately a year ago and had been dancing
there with Ballet de Monterrey, which is headed by fellow Cuban Luis
Serrano, a former principal dancer with Miami City Ballet. On April 21
he headed north, seeking more artistic opportunity, Peña says. ``He's
very young, so he comes with all this desire to dance and do everything.
For our part, we're very happy, and he'll also get the chance to show

Serrano says that the young newcomer has a lot to show. ''He's a
prince,'' Serrano said Tuesday from his company's offices in Monterrey.
``He's got a great physique, tremendous talent, great charisma. He's got
everything he needs to dance with any company in the world.''

Serrano says he encouraged Quenedit to travel to the United States. ``He
always said he wanted to try the U.S., and I always said I'd support him
100 percent. Dancers have to fly, and you have to let them test their

For now, Quenedit is in Chicago, where his uncle, a former member of the
Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, lives. But one of his first calls was to
Magaly Suarez, Peña's partner and co-artistic director of Cuban
Classical Ballet of Miami and a longtime former teacher at the National
Ballet of Cuba. It was Suarez who brought Domitro, her son, and his two
compatriots across the border from Canada in December. ''Magaly was a
teacher of [Quenedit], so it's a logical connection,'' Peña says.

While in Miami, Quenedit will perform the lead role in Le Spectre de la
Rose, a short romantic ballet depicting a young woman who dreams of a
rose that comes leaping to life. Performances are at 8 p.m. May 10 and 5
p.m. May 11 at the Manuel Artime Theater, 900 SW First St., Miami.
Tickets are $35 and $30. Call 1-877-877-7677 or 305-549-7711.

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