For nearly fifty years now, Latin and now Latinx identity has been a part of Ballet Hispánico’s trajectory. This year, Cuban-American artistic director Eduardo Vilaro, since taking the helms in 2009, continues to shed a well-needed light on cultural amalgams for the Company. "Immigration has enabled plethora of cultural diversity…this program is an example of our leadership role in embracing the diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality in culture. We continue our mission to expose the American experience of Latinx culture and encourage our audience to go beyond the surface of what they know," said Vilaro, In their one-week season (March 26-31) at The Joyce Theater, the mix included works by Taiwanese-American Edwaard Liang, Filipino-American Bennyroyce Royon, and making a return, Belgian-Colombian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. The dancers are glorious in each of the works! Premieres by Liang and Royon opened and closed, respectively. Though no specific cultural bent is glaring in Liang’s linear El Viaje which opened, Royon’s imaginative infusion of folks (well...dancers), carousing, while manipulating and moving through colorful shipping crates in Homebound/Alaala closed the program. In the middle, and without doubt, the highlight of the evening, was the 2013 Sombrerísimo originally made for a cast of six men by Ochoa. The women, Shelby Colona, Jenna Marie, Eila Valis, Gabrielle Sprauve, Dandara Veiga and Melissa Verdecia, were phenomenal. Take note men, because these fierce movers mastered this mix of play, traditional movement (quick bits of salsa), defying and daring flips, balances and so much more, to cement their no-question-asked sisterhood, all the while with bowler hats traversing the space and sometimes stealing the spotlight. BRAVA!
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."