Six members of the National Ballet of Cuba who defected during a tour of Puerto Rico are already in Miami and very soon will perform with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, the Florida dance company's artistic director told Efe Monday.

"Six soloists have defected, two girls and four boys," confirmed Pedro Pablo Peña, who - as in earlier similar situations - is housing them, advising them and seeking lodging for them in Miami.

He emphasized the artistic ability of the dancers who defected, and noted the basic reason why they fled Cuba: "Upon seeing that they don't have the possibilities (of other artists abroad) ... they view their careers as being cut short on the island."

"The course of a dancer's artistic career is very short," Peña said.

He said that all six dancers are in good health, but they are nervous and somewhat afraid, something that is normal and "which always happens when they come from the island with the terror there."

Peña said that very soon the dancers will perform with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami.

He did not reveal the dancers' identities, but he said that a press conference for the artists is being planned for Tuesday.

He added that a rumor was circulating that a prima ballerina had also defected and that it is possible that two other members of the National Ballet have done the same thing, "although it is not known where they are."

The dancers managed to escape last Friday following a performance in San Juan, according to media accounts. EFE