Tuesday, August 11, 2015

(Cuba-Ballet) Twin sisters, Margarita and Ramona de Saa, reunite after 20 years

Margarita and Ramona de Saa rehearsing with dance partners, National Ballet of Cuba, 1958

NARBERTH, Pa. (WPVI) -- Margarita and Ramona de Saa are identical twins who, from the beginning, were simply inseparable.

 "We were so close. We did everything together," Margarita said. 

That included dance lessons starting at an early age and by the time they turned 20, both achieved the rank of prima ballerina with the Cuban National Ballet.

 It was right about that time though when love and politics would converge.

 It wasn't long after Margarita had fallen in love and married American ballet dancer John White when Fidel Castro rose to power. 

It was 1964 and White knew he had to leave Cuba, but he wasn't leaving without his wife.

 Margarita made the choice to flee with her husband, but Ramona stayed behind.

 "When we left it was very hard on me. Very, very hard," Margarita said. 

John and Margarita went on to open the renowned Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet in Narberth, while Ramona ended up becoming the Master Instructor of the National Ballet School of Cuba. 

But their successes rang hallow because the only thing more important to them than ballet was each other. 

And communicating over the ensuing decades was extremely difficult because of the longstanding US sanctions against the communist island. 

Then, just one month ago, relations with Cuba were normalized. 

Fast forward to Monday evening, when, for the first time, students at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet were taught by the Master Instructor of the Cuban Ballet, also known as Margarita's sister Ramona. 

Ramona says, "For me, this is like a dream. I had only seen my sister a handful of times over the past 50 years, and now I'm here. It's amazing." (read full text)

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