Interview: Eduardo and Kim Preview Performances at Queens College

Click through the image to see this interview with Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro and company dancer Kimberly Van Woesik

EV and Kim interview

The two recently spoke with NBC’s Cozi-TV station about the company’s two-day appearance at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, coming up on February 8th and 9th.

“Dance, as in all art, is that breaker of all fear. It allows you to commune, so not only Latinos can talk about their culture but other people from other cultures can enjoy, and be immersed in those cultures.”

-Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro on BH’s creative philosophy

For tickets to the shows, click HERE.

The Kennedy Center, Then and Now

Our BH dancers just had a spectacular two nights at the John F. Kennedy Center–and don’t just take our word for it! The Washington Post praised their performance as a “cutting-edge crowd pleaser” and we couldn’t be more thrilled. For Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, the company’s return to the D.C. venue was particularly special and prompted feelings of nostalgia for his time as a company dancer in the same venue:

Ballet Hispanico at the Kennedy Center in 1992 (Eduardo Vilaro, back row, third from the left).

The first time I walked on the Eisenhower stage at the Kennedy Center was as a dancer with Ballet Hispanico back in 1992. It was an amazing moment for me as a young dancer and an immigrant. Performing in our nation’s national theater was a major reflection of my American dream and the truth of determination. As I walked onto that same stage last weekend, now as the artistic director of Ballet Hispanico, I was once again reminded of the immensity of possibilities we find ourselves in because of this great nation and am grateful that I am in a position with BH where I can inspire, nurture and help develop young people so that they too might find themselves in awe.

-Eduardo Vilaro

“Performing in our nation’s national theater was a major reflection of my American dream.”

Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro with some current BH dancers in 2013.

Edgar Zendejas on UMBRAL

Mexican choreographer Edgar Zendejas speaks about his new work for Ballet Hispanico, Umbral. Inspired by Dia de los Muertos, the work is a seductive and imaginative take on the holiday and will be premiering at the Apollo Theater on November 23rd.
For more info on the performance, visit:

BHdos dressed up!

Looking classy

Looking classy

The dancers of BHdos wowed audiences last Saturday at Bailando Por Una Causa 2013, an annual dance benefit hosted by Baila Society. The performance was held at El Museo del Barrio, with proceeds supporting the Latino Commission on AIDS. BHdos performed the Bolero excerpt from Club Havana, where they got to dress up in glitzy costumes as they glided across the stage doing effortless lifts and partnering moves. Here they are backstage before the show!

...while still having fun.

…while still having fun.

Dancers in the Studios, Part II

The final countdown to the Recital has begun! With just one week left until the big day, School of Dance classes are excited to perfect their pieces. BH Company dancer Jamal Rashann Callender visited our Boys Workshop classes to mentor the students and, most importantly, have fun.

Here’s what Jamal had to say about his experience:

“The classes were amazing! We spoke about many things including respect and how to make best use of your time in class. One of the great things for me was connecting dance poses to “comic figure action shots,” which for dancers are actually staccato movements. It was great to see them take that advice and run with it.

“It was really great to be in a position where I can look at these boys and see myself in them. It made me want to give them as much feedback as I could; not only for each of them to excel, but also so that one day they will be in the same position I am today.

It was a great treat for me!”

Check out these awesome and hilarious photos below:

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Dancers in the Studio

Just because our season at The Joyce wrapped a couple of weeks ago, it doesn’t mean Ballet Hispanico has slowed down at all! Our School of Dance students are very busy preparing for their End of Year Recital at the beginning of June, and BH Company members have graciously lent a hand. For the past few weeks, our dancers have been visiting classrooms to help our students perform their very best!

Recently, Lauren Alzamora visited Ms. Kiri’s Spanish Class. This is what she had to say about her experience:

“I asked to see the girls run their dance for the recital.  This was outside of their normal routine, as it was in the first half hour of class, before practicing the piece in sections.  I was pretty pleased with the run, but since there is always room for improvement, I asked each girl to tell me a spot where they messed up or could have done better.  Every girl was aware of at least one or two self-corrections, and as suspected there were some commonalities. We had the girls time on their own to practice their individual self corrections.

I narrowed it down to three areas of focus and we worked on the clarity of steps and positions in those three sections.  Next time I visit we will work those three corrections at the beginning and run the footwork section before running the dance.  We will see what they held on to!

I love how every one of the girls demonstrated self awareness – it gives the teacher the opportunity to reinforce the virtue of self-responsibility.  We are teaching them how to use their self-awareness toward a better end result (by practicing their self corrections).

I realize it is important to give them clear goals to strive for in each section. And since they don’t come to class every day, reinforce what we spoke about each time – the power of repetition! Looking forward to next week!”

We’ll have more stories in the weeks leading up to the recital. Thank you to our students, teachers, and Company dancers!

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Tango Vitrola

For most, the idea of tango conjures up images of steamy Buenos Aires nightclubs full of men, with roses gripped between their teeth, leading ladies across the floor. While Alejandro Cervera’s Tango Vitrola (1987) does feature the key elements of a stereotypical tango milonga (strong men, beautiful women and sensual music), it also challenges an audience’s preconceptions and offers a rich and beautiful exploration of the dance form.

The choreographer, Alejandro Cervera, hails from Buenos Aires, where his first exposure to dance was in the home where his parents would tango with friends and family during parties. “Growing up in Argentina,” he said, “it’s hard not to have a lot of contact with tango and tango music, especially in the big cities.” Tango has been inextricably linked to Argentinean culture, in both beautiful and problematic ways.

Through the creation of Tango Vitrola, Mr. Cervera aimed to challenge the gender stereotypes associated with tango. He explained that in the 1980s, Argentinean society became “much more balanced, more egalitarian” and he sought to reflect these changes in his work. His Tango Vitrola is more democratic and less black and white than the traditional dance form.

The relationship between the partners are complex and certainly not straightforward. His choreography blurs lines of tradition. Tango Vitrola presents the tango as a dance between two people, not as a dance defined by their gender. The result is a work of strength, beauty and subtlety.

Ballet Hispanico performed Alejandro Cervera’s sleek and sexy Tango Vitrola (1987) during our sold-out show at The Apollo last December. If you missed it then, fear not! Tango Vitrola will be performed for the remainder of our 25th New York Season at The Joyce, now through April 28th. For ticket and performance information, please visit our website HERE.

Tango Vitrola (c) Paula Lobo

Vanessa Valecillo and Jamal Rashann Callender in Tango Vitrola © Paula Lobo