BALLET HISPANICO (Annenberg Center Live): Boldness and diversity of dances

ballet-hispanico3Founded in 1970, Ballet Hispanico has been one of the leading dance companies presenting dances that reflect Hispanic and Latino Americans cultures. The three dances Ballet Hispanico picked for the performance held at the Annenberg Center show the diversity of these cultures and their dances.  

The first dance of the program, Sombrerísimo by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, makes references to René Magritte, the Belgian painter who is famous for his surrealistic drawing including men in bowler hats. Male dancers in slacks and button-down shirts dance to explore their identities. While their dynamic jumps and pas are those of classical ballet, their arm positions and postures characteristic to Latin Dance intensify the smoky and sensual heat they fill the stage with.

The theme of Bury Me Standing by Ramon Oller is the unique culture of the gipsy or “Roma” people.  Here the dancers narrate the emotional essence of the Roma. The strong and rhythmical stamping of the feet and the bold and expressive arm movements bring sensuality, feeling of oppression and longing, and their strength and exuberance the Roma people have carried through their history.   

The third piece of the program, Flabbergast by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano closes the curtain with joyous and exuberant mood. To songs by Juan Garcia Esquivel including “Mucha Muchacha”, it tells a story of a newcomer coming to a place for the first time while exposing our stereotypes and preconceived ideas and new and foreign places. It is a festive and energetic dance that let audiences feel the color and flavor of salsa.

Even though the company call themselves Ballet Hispanico, unlike classical ballet, their dance brings the audience the essence of Latin Dance, which is to make everyone feel like dancing together.

[The Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut street] February 5-6, 2016; annenbergcenter.org; ballethispanico.org.

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About the author

Eri Yoneda

Eri Yoneda writes about dance and classical music for Phindie.