Today kicks off Ballet Hispanico’s week-long residency in sunny Santa Barbara, California. Our Company dancers will be busy giving free classes, workshops and performances, but they will also be supported by a fierce group of Ballet Hispanico educational staff. AnaMaria Correa, BH’s Director of Education & Outreach and the School of Dance, will join Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro in narrating many of the performances, and Franchesca Cabrera, E&O’s Program Coordinator, will teach classes in the local schools.
This trip is particularly meaningful for Franchesca, a Santa Barbara native, because it marks her triumphant return to the city that prepared her so well for the successful performance and professional career she holds today.
We spoke to Franchesca over the phone from Santa Barbara as she waited out the holidays and her reunion with Ballet Hispanico. She offers a unique perspective on the significance, both for herself and for the communities, of BH’s residency there. She couldn’t stop expressing how lucky she was to have the opportunity to connect Ballet Hispanico with a town as rich in dance as Santa Barbara.
“My universes are colliding!” she exclaimed.
Franchesca spent her formative years learning and dancing in Santa Barbara, and she has carried this solid foundation with her across the country and back again, literally. Her current success as a performer in New York and an administrator at Ballet Hispanico supports her belief that you can make it anywhere if you stay positive, keep moving forward, and are open to new definitions of yourself.
“Santa Barbara afforded me everything, all of the skills that I needed to succeed at Ballet Hispanico. I can be more than one thing–a teacher, an administrator, and performer–while staying true to my roots.”
There is a real anticipation in the air prior to BH’s arrival in California. Franchesca spent the holidays making connections with everyone in the dance world there–old teachers, former students, peers–to get them excited about Ballet Hispanico’s tour. Santa Barbara, rife with Hispanic dance traditions so intricately connected with BH’s own mission, imparts a sense of family and community to anyone who enters.
Franchesca, now a vital member of BH’s family, cannot wait to help facilitate the exchange of ideas and dance between her hometown and her chosen career. Ballet Hispanico cannot wait to see what will come of this promising new relationship with Santa Barbara.
Read even more about Franchesca in this great article by the Santa Barbara Independent HERE and visit our website HERE to learn more about Education & Outreach at Ballet Hispanico.