Ballet Hispánico, America’s leading Latino dance company, is performing three choreographies about the resilience and triumph of the immigrant experience at the Apollo Theater on Friday and Saturday, December 1 – 2, 2017 at 8 pm. $10 – $65
There will be a post-performance artist talkback on Friday December 1, 2017 focused on creating culturally specific dance work.
Ronald K. Brown ~ Espiritu Vivo (2012)
Award-winning choreographer Ronald K. Brown explores the “living spirit” at the intersection of the African and Latino diasporas in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The experience of slavery and colonialism taught us to suffer. But it also taught us to hope. We sing and we dance with joy to release our pain. You can abuse our bodies, but you cannot break our spirit. The Afro-Latino spirit is very alive.
Brown is known for his choreography at his own Brooklyn-based company Evidence, and for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the world’s most popular modern dance company.
Ramon Oller ~ Bury Me Standing (1998)
Bury Me Standing is inspired by the unique culture of the Roma (Gypsy or Gitano) people.
Spain is a very multicultural country. We think of Flamenco as Spanish and it is, but it is more than that. Flamenco is Spanish, and Roma, and Moor, and Arab, and Persian, and Jewish. It is even Latin American.
The Roma people (Gypsy) were originally traveling court musicians in northern India. They made it all the way to the end of the world at Andalusia in southern Spain. Then they made it to Cuba, the United States, and Brazil.
While contributing to the quilt of humanity that is Spain and the Americas, the Roma people have been marginalized. When you are hit with racism, your first reaction is shock because you didn’t do anything wrong. Your second reaction is pride in who you are. That’s why if you want to bury me, you’ll have to bury me standing.
Oller is a renowned Spanish choreographer and actor from Barcelona, Spain. He came up through the Spanish National Dance Company and the National Ballet of Spain.
Michelle Manzanales ~ Con Brazos Abiertos (2017)
Con Brazos Abiertos is Manzanales’ embrace of her Mexican -American heritage.
When some of us were young, we were taught not to be who we are. We sacrificed our heritage to try and become “good” Americans.
But if you want to be good at anything, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. We find that comfort by embracing our heritage with open arms (con brazos abiertos).
It’s not a terribly big leap because before the United States was the United States, it was New Spain (Mexico). A lot of Mexican culture like food, Cinco de Mayo, and the Day of the Dead, has become American culture.
Manzanales is an American with a Mexican heritage from Houston, Texas. She started dancing at the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company. Manzanales moved to Chicago where she became part of Luna Negra Dance Theater which was led by Eduardo Vilaro who is now Ballet Hispánico’s Artistic Director and CEO. Today Manzanales is Ballet Hispánico’s Director of the School of Dance.
Meeting Vilaro is what helped Manzanales embrace her Mexican-American-ness. That sort of encapsulates what Ballet Hispánico is all about.
Ballet Hispánico is More Than a Dance Company
It’s been really interesting to watch Ballet Hispánico grow. It’s not just America’s leading Latino dance company and a great dance school.
Through its performances, Ballet Hispánico is inserting itself into the timely conversation about who we are as Americans and how we relate to each other when we don’t all look, walk, and talk alike.
It’s a conversation we need to have, not the open hatred spewing from the White House, but rather an open-armed discussion of how we all fit together.
As Latins we have a lively spirit.
We will embrace you with open arms.
If you want us to leave, well, you’ll have to bury us here, standing proudly.
We are proud to be Latino, proud to be American. Come and watch us dance for you.
Ballet Hispánico at the Apollo Tickets
Special Discount Code
253 West 125th St, New York, NY 10027
(between Frederick Douglass Blvd & Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd (Seventh & Eighth Ave))
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday 12 noon – 5 pm
Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000