Artists, athletes cling to their dreams on the rooftops of Havana.

HAVANA: These are hot and humid days in Havana. When the afternoon breeze reaches the sea, William Roblejo climbs the roof of his building, drags his bow on the strings of his violin, and runs through his repertoire of music to calm an anxious city.

Access to a rooftop and a breeze is a coveted luxury in the Cuban capital, whose areas have been locked in by the coronavirus. pandemic for several weeks.

On other rooftops of Havana, the country's leading ballet dancer stretches out a mat and walks his positions and pirouettes, a Olympic the pentathlete throws himself at an imaginary rival with a sword, and an Greco-Roman wrestling champion pumps iron.


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Cuba has imposed blockades only in certain neighborhoods, but the government has asked people to stay home as the number of confirmed infections rose to more than 1,500 this week with 64 deaths.

With temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, water shortages in some areas of the capital, and long lines at food stores, Cubans have become more anxious under weeks of confinement.

Adrián Sánchez, the first soloist in the Cuban National Ballet, is especially afraid that his muscles and posture, used to a daily training regime of nine hours, will atrophy.

When all this is over, we have to go back to ballet, and if we go back without training, it will be very difficult, said Sanchez, 22.

Practice two or three hours a day on the roof of your building, reached through a skylight and overlooking the iconic Plaza de la Revolución.

That way, time passes faster and I don't feel like I'm locked up that long, he says.


Like everyone else, a good part of your day is spent queuing to eat.

After decades of living under a US blockade, Cubans are adept at making do, even under the most difficult of circumstances -- not least their athletes and performers who now have to find a way to pursue their dreams during the uncertainty fuelled by the pandemic .

Leydi Moya pulls out her epee to practice her fencing as part of her preparations for the next Olympic pentathlon event, whenever that may be.

Moya, youth Olympic champion in Singapore 2020 and triple-medallist at the Pan-American Games in Lima last year, was returning from a training camp in Mexico when the pandemic hit the region.

She knows that the makeshift training regimen she is reduced to at home is a far cry from Olympic -standard fitness training.

Performance is going to drop, he admits.

It is a similar situation for Daniel Gregorich , a Pan-American champion in Greco-Roman wrestling at his 87 kg weight level, who made Cuba's Olympic team at a recent qualifying event in Ottawa, Canada.

Sport is health, sport is life, and at least it calms my anxiety, the 23-year-old said between weightlifting and push-ups.

Roblejo, the musician, is sometimes frustrated at not having his usual concert audience because musicians are used to offering live art.

But he is also grateful for some of the quarantine gifts as he plays on his rooftop over the deserted Playa neighborhood, where the sounds of the sea are more noticeable now that there is no traffic.

I have to thank this quarantine a little, because I studied a little more and I think I have advanced in my music. Now I want this to end so I can show it, said Rob Lejo, director of the string section at the Havana Conservatory.

In many ways, he admits to being very happy. I have been locked up and playing alone at home for 20 or 25 days.

Psychologist Patricia Ares, writing in Granma, the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, said that we will all have to learn to live with adversity.

We cannot avoid the wind, but we can build windmills.