Visa problems kept 'Dracula' in limbo

October 16, 1997|By Judith Green

In a photograph of Dmitry Tuboltsev in costume for the title role in Ballet Theater of Annapolis' "Dracula," his face is painted with shadows that look almost like bruises. Deborah Harris, BTA's general manager, jokes: "It just shows what dealing with the INS can do to you."

The manager and the dancer have gotten to know more about the Immigration & Naturalization Service than either ever wanted.

Tuboltsev's dance career zigged and zagged in the former Soviet Union because of internal work permits. Then in Maryland, he went through a visa and work permit nightmare.

For a scary six weeks, he was an illegal alien. A three-month work permit that allowed him to teach this summer at a dance festival in Philadelphia expired in August, and BTA could not hire him without a valid O-1 visa.

INS will grant an O-1 visa to "an alien coming temporarily [to work] who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, education or business." The arts were recently included.

Accompanying such a visa application, says the INS, should be some proof of the alien's extraordinary status, "such as a Nobel Prize."

Tuboltsev's prize from the 1993 International Ballet Competition in Moscow qualified him. But the dancer's application got buried in the INS until Gail Hendry, a staff member for Maryland Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, intervened with the federal agency. BTA heard a week ago that the visa had been granted.

Pub Date: 10/16/97

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