Ballet Nepantla dances “Valentina,” a Contemporary Ballet about the strength and resilience of women in Revolutionary Mexico, at Symphony Space in the Upper West Side, on Fri, May 27 at 8:30pm. From $20. symphonyspace.org 🇲🇽
“Valentina” is a collection of stories that speak to the strength and resilience of women during Revolutionary Mexico. By fusing contemporary ballet with traditional Mexican folklorico, “Valentina” tells stories of wealth and power, hope and despair, struggle and loss, and triumph.
You’ve never seen anything quite like this. There are many folkloric community dance companies, but this is another level entirely. It’s Contemporary Ballet with Mexican folkloric styling.
What New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine did with the folkloric dances of his native Russia, Ballet Nepantla is doing with the folkloric dances of Mexico. Many community organizations dance Mexican folklore, but this is a professional Ballet company with professional New York City dancers. The only similar company is in Mexico City (Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Herández) and sponsored by the government of Mexico . We are blessed to have this in New York.
The show also shines a light into Mexican history that most people haven’t seen before. We tend to get stereotyped as women and as Mexicans. Most people don’t realize that Mexican women are fierce and ready to fight shoulder to shoulder with their men. Ballet Nepantla’s “Valentina” rewrites the story of what it means to be a Mexican woman.
Many people associate “Valentina” with Valentines, but the name in Spanish is actually derived from “valiente” meaning valiant or brave. Valiente mujeres Mexicana! That also describes Founder and Artistic Director Andrea Guajardo. You have to be muy valiente to start a dance company in New York City and successfully grow it through five years, a pandemic and beyond!
Ballet Nepantla’s “Valentina” is great art for our time. Back in the day, we were forced to defend ourselves with guns. Today we defend ourselves through the strength of our communities and the riches of our culture. “Valentina” is a great ballet that could only have been created in New York City.