Spotlight on Ballet Hispánico

Oct 03, 2018

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Ballet Hispánico  Ballet Hispánico
Photo by Paula Lobo

Ballet Hispánico makes its Northrop debut Oct 4 with a program of three remarkable works by female choreographers. Here are some fast facts about the company and the program.

Ballet Hispánico was founded by dancer and choreographer Tina Ramirez in 1970. Born in Venezuela, Ramirez came to the United States at the age of seven. She was awarded the nation’s highest cultural honor, the National Medal of Arts Award, in 2005 for her contributions to dance. 

Reflecting on the Latina Choreographers Program presented at Northrop on Oct 4, Ballet Hispánico artistic director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro says, “Besides the moving work of Michelle Manzanales, there is the passionate and technically brilliant work of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and the alluring work of Tania Pérez-Salas, who is the foremost female choreographer from Mexico.”

Michelle Manzanales’ work Con Brazos Abiertos is built around a series of contrasting songs and moods, including Maria Bonita by Mexican songwriter Agustín Lara (sung by Spanish singer-songwriter Julio Iglesias) as well as nods to the 1970s comedy duo Cheech and Chong  and the notorious drug lord El Chapo. The title of the work is drawn from a lyric in a song by Mexican indie-pop singer Carla Morrison, meaning “With Open Arms.”

Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Sombrerísimo was commissioned for New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival, where it premiered on Sep 20, 2013. It has been awarded Dance Magazine’s Best of 2013 and the Villanueva Award for the 2015 Best International Production in Cuba. 

Tania Pérez-Salas began dancing in her native Mexico City at the age of eight. She founded her own company in 1994, and they visited Northrop in 2010. Her work 3. Catorce Dieciséis draws inspiration from the mathematical constant Pi to reflect on the circularity of our movement through life. 

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