She was the very pinnacle of grace, power and talent—yet for years Rosario Suárez, the former prima ballerina of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, was only showcased on the ballet’s Thursday programs, and rarely in weekend performances. This went on for so long that Rosario became known as la reina de los jueves: the Queen of Thursdays. Her career in Havana existed only in deference to the founder and director of the Ballet, dancer and choreographer Alicia Alonso, the favored one chosen by Castro himself, until Rosario’s prima ballerina status was finally declared, long after she had reached the age where most dancers retired. Eventually a family crisis brought Rosario to Miami. And exile.
As with many Cubans who struggle for years to make things work at home before surrendering to lure of new possibilities in Miami, Rosario’s inauguration of an artistic life in exile brought fresh challenges that were just as difficult to surmount as those she left behind. Yet exile could never diminish Rosario’s singular flair or corporal intelligence—just as exile has never diminished the vision and sensitivity of director Orlando Rojas. With Queen of Thursdays, Rojas has made a beautiful, personal and universal film, one that speaks to the hearts of thousands of Cubans in Miami—and to artists in exile the world over.