Alexis Valdés, a talented student at the National Ballet School of Cuba, emigrates with his parents to Florida to reunite with his sister. For four years we have seen the journey of a 15-year-old Cuban teenager, passionate about dance and in love with Yelenia, who in 2016 will be forced to rebuild his dreams in a radically new environment. He feels lonely and disoriented, far from the warmth of his native Cuba, but no one will be able to rob him of his desire to dance.
We follow Alexis ’odyssey to find his way into the bourgeois and elitist world of American ballet while remaining true to his Cuban roots. The lightness of director Roberto Salinas’ camera work manages to capture the young man’s emotions. As we reflect on cultural identities, borders and economic barriers, the documentary offers original interludes of Alexis performing the choreographies of Laura Domingo Aguero, co-editor and co-writer of the film. These moments of pure joy of dancing bring us closer to the deep soul of an unforgettable story.
Cuban Dancer is a joyous film, a rare moment of hope in a world too often cynical with the futures of young people.— Shelagh Rowan-Legg · ScreenAnarchy
Salinas concentrates squarely on Alexis's personal experience with sensitive sympathy.— Neil Young · Screen International