The presence of the sisters is changing that.
"The Feijoos have such caliber and their artistic valor is notable, as well as their technical skills," says Pedro Pablo Pena, artistic director of the Miami Hispanic Ballet Corps for 11 years and founder of the first Choreographic Workshop of Havana.
"Go to any ballet in any small town and there's a Cuban there. They use fast foot work with neoclassicism, mixed with European theatricalism," Mr. Roca says.
Why are they so popular?
"With other dancers, you can see in their dancing that they're preparing a jump; not so with Cubans. Cubans just jump out of nowhere; you don't see them prepare for it at all. Their entire upper body is alive and never stiff," says Catherine Conway Honeig, who covers dance theatre for Scene 4 magazine. She's visited Cuba and written extensively on Lorena.
"Dance is so ephemeral and a career is so limited. The usual focus here is technique; showing off pyrotechnics – but not her. Her Giselle is so emotionally devastating that I was actually relieved I only saw it once."
It's a role they have studied for their whole lives.
"You know how, here, athletes are superstars?" Lorena asks. "Well, in Cuba, the dancers are the stars."
"In Cuba," says Lorna, "the little children sing the old ballet songs in the streets. That passion is missing here, where dancers must learn Giselle in a week."
Cuba's influence on ballet is not new. Alicia Alonso was a founding member of the American Ballet Theatre in 1940 and then, with husband Fernando, the Cuban National Ballet in 1948. "Alicia Alonso created a company where dancers are given the time to develop in a way you don't see here," Ms. Conway Honeig says.
Ms. Alonso continues to train talent from Rolando Sarabia to Joel and Alihaydee Carreno.
"Fernando Alonso [Alicia's husband] used to say my mom had a golden uterus," Lorena Feijoo says. "He would joke, 'Why'd you stop having kids? There could've been even more talent!"
Their mother was Lupe Calzadilla, herself a dancer in Cuba's National Corps. "We were a family of artists," Lorna says. "When I was little, my sister was already dancing, so I knew I'd be doing the same without even thinking about it."
The Havana-born pair was trained by Ms. Alonso at the National Cuban Ballet. Although the sisters left Cuba due to creative disagreements with Ms. Alonso – the 36-year-old Lorena in 1990 in a clean break with Ms. Alonso, the 33-year-old Lorna about five years ago and with Ms. Alonso's blessing – both hold her in admiration as an example of tenacity.
"I just wish she had given me more of a chance to show what I could do," Lorena says, "so we argued over that."
Given the "brutally short" career that ballet offers, Lorena is currently looking toward a career in Hollywood. "Acting was interesting to me," she says. "It's something I can do one day when my body is too old for ballet. It's close to what I do – studying metamorphosis."
You might have seen Lorena in Andy Garcia's film The Lost City, where she played the dancer Leonela.
"We bonded, and it turned out one of her parents was from my hometown," he recalls.
The younger Lorna is still focused solely on ballet, notes Mr. Lens, and she is featured in the documentary Dance Cuba: Dreams of Flight.
And Lorena's favorite thing about having a successful sister whom looks and sounds like her and has virtually the same name? "Getting great reviews for performances I haven't done."
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