Ballet Hispanico goes to Guatemala

While on the road to Antigua, Guatemala for the Festival Internacional de Cultura Paiz 2011, Eduardo Vilaro penned this blog post and our awesome Company sent back videos for us! Enjoy!

From the laptop of Eduardo Vilaro:
Our first day in Antigua and they shepherded us out and back to Guatemala City! Five dancers and staff were up before the sun for our trip to Guatemala City for residency activities and interviews on TV and radio. From our hotel, we could see the mist-covered mountains which we were about to cross on the way to the city. En route out of Antigua the cobble-stoned streets proved difficult even for our excellent driver, Edwin. The streets were covered with uniforms as children ran in and out of traffic. We were all in awe of the well-preserved colonial buildings and abundant rainbow of pastels which, as we were told, must be approved by the city. It seems there is a color palette, dating from the 16th century, that all citizens must comply with in order to paint their homes or establishments. As we continued up and down and up and down (yes, did I mention the cobble stones!) the street, we were treated to many beautiful images. There was Wisteria and Bougainvilleas in abundance and they seemed to caress lawns, window frames and doors as the sun draped across their delicate flowers. Old churches, immaculately carved doors, women in folk dress preparing food on street corners, undoubtedly our shoulders relaxed and the frost of winter and New York soon melted away.

It was immediately apparent that Guatemala is dedicated to cleanliness, there are many billboards preaching the benefits of a well-organized society as well as roadside workers collecting garbage with prongs. Driving into the city we passed the biggest “Hiper Paiz” in Guatemala City. Paiz is a chain of food stores developed by the most philanthropic family in the city. In fact, they are responsible for the foundation that sponsors the festival that brought us to the country. Gracias, familia Paiz! I later learned that they are the Walmarts of Guatemala.

Our first stop was the Academy of dance located buy the town center. Vanessa and Nicholas were scheduled to teach a ballet class followed by a composition class in the building that was actually the site of the first Paiz grocery store! The students had a great day! At the same time, I went off with Mia, Donald and Jessica Wyatt to Fontavela a suburb for a quick and television appearance.

When we arrived, we checked in with the front desk and were led through a dark and narrow hallway towards the studio. We were met by Tito, a producer of the segment, who immediately informed us we had 5 minutes before we were on! We were pushed ahead of schedule and were to follow a woman in a straw wig who gave marriage tips and warned men to behave! I always forget how fast-paced and lively Latin American TV can be. In a matter of minutes, we were in front of the cameras. The interview was quick, and soon we were treated to Mia and Donald on a tiny stage. It all happened so fast.

We were then carted off to another academy where Jessica Wyatt taught the students the benefits of the Samba!

Check out this mini-video album from our dancers!

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