Meet the Dancer: Ashley Anduiza

The Ballet Hispánico Company welcomed Ashley Anduiza onboard for the 16-17 season with open arms. BH fans might recognize Ashley as a previous member of second company BHdos, where she wowed school and community audiences throughout the city as part of our educational programming. It’s been a thrill to watch Ashley grow to the mainstage–get to know more about her below!

Ashley Anduiza

Ashley Anduiza (c) Mario Ismael Espinoza

Name: Ashley Marie Anduiza

Age: 24

Hometown: Miami, FL

How long you’ve been living in NYC: 1 year

What’s your favorite food? Mexican cuisine

When you’re not dancing, you are…

Reading, cooking, and spending time with my family. I love being home!

Your reaction when you heard you got into the company?

I kind of just sat there with a smile smacked onto my face and absolutely no thoughts circulating in my head. It took a second to hit me but when it did, all of my thanks and praise went to God. I have never felt more rewarded.

In one word, what does ‘dance’ mean to you? Union

Danzon_BH_Apollo_Paula_Lobo-5389

Ashley Anduiza in DANZÓN (c) Paula Lobo

Ballet Hispánico has a unique cultural lens as an artistic organization–why did that appeal to you as a dancer?

My father is Cuban and I grew up in Miami in a household that practiced multiple Cuban traditions. Whether we were dancing salsa in the living room, cooking arroz con frijoles, or driving to the beach singing along to Spanish radio stations, this environment provided for me a strong sense of family, unity, pride, and comfort. Not only did I feel this same atmosphere during my time with BHdos, but I have witnessed and experienced that Ballet Hispánico, as an organization, approaches its mission with all of these qualities, making a truly authentic representation of Latino culture through dance today.

Moment you knew you wanted to be a professional dancer?

When I was at New World School of the Arts, I performed a neoclassical ballet by Gerard Ebitz. Up till then, it was probably one of the more daring pieces of choreography I had done. There was a moment onstage when I was briefly dancing alone and I felt myself become different from the inside out. The best way I can explain it is that I felt immersed and involved in every part of the environment; the movement, the music, the audience, the dancers around me, the lights, the stage, and the character. It made sense to me and I knew that this wholesome feeling would drive me through the hardest times I would encounter in my career, but fulfill me in inexplicable ways.

“From the first day of my first season with BHdos where I was warmly introduced to and welcomed by the members of Ballet Hispánico, I knew that the environment of this company and organization was different.”

What company repertory piece have you always wanted to learn/are you looking forward to learning? 

I can’t wait to learn El Beso by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano! I love the athleticism of the movement coupled with the theatrical quirks.

You’ve spent a little time with the company dancers already–how would you describe their dynamic both on and off the stage?

From the first day of my first season with BHdos where I was warmly introduced to and welcomed by the members of Ballet Hispánico, I knew that the environment of this company and organization was different. Working in the studio and sharing the stage with them was ALWAYS positive and encouraging. Ballet Hispánico was where I truly started to believe in myself–the Company members are responsible for a huge part of that for me.

Thanks for the love Ashley–and right back at you! Catch Ashley and the rest of the Company on stage during our NY Season at the Joyce Theater, April 18-23! Tickets and details: http://bit.ly/2mmLwNd


Ballet Hispánico en Familia: BHdos, the second company

Did you know? In addition to receiving specialized dance training, the talented young dancers of second company BHdos have opportunities to perform on the mainstage for our wider audiences. After a successful run at the Apollo Theater this past fall, they’re sharing the stage with the main company again for the En Familia program of the company’s 45th Anniversary Season at the Joyce Theater.

BHdos dancers with Ballet Hispanico's Artistic Director, Eduardo Vilaro, at the Joyce Theater!

BHdos dancers with Ballet Hispanico’s Artistic Director, Eduardo Vilaro, at the Joyce Theater!

We decided to catch up with some of our second company dancers to get more insight into their experiences performing as part of BHdos:

You get to perform company works for our youngest fans year-round, which can be a very different experience from performing for adult audiences. What’s one thing that surprised you about dancing for younger fans?

Stefanie Roper Headshot - websiteSTEFANIE ROPER: The commentary they make throughout the dance–we can hear little comments on stage when we’re performing. It is so fun to hear their simple remarks from what they see, and their screams and applause are always THE BEST. They make you feel like you’re a celebrity!

 

 

N Nerup_sq(2)

NICOLE NERUP: I was pleasantly surprised and overjoyed to discover how enthusiastic the younger fans are about dance! I swear I have felt the closest I will ever feel to being Taylor Swift or the “Queen of Salsa” herself, Celia Cruz, at our performances for young people.

 

 

 

Ashley Anduiza - websiteASHLEY ANDUIZA: I am constantly surprised by how much detail our younger fans observe. Their curiosity and questions excite me and open another perspective that I enjoy exploring and that are just as valid as any others.

 

 

 

 

What motivates you to dance?

image1NICK FEARON: The thrill of being on stage is what keeps me going, and so is my mom. She has worked so hard for me to be where I am today that all I want to do is be the best dancer I can be for myself and also for her.

 

 

 

Christopher Wilson HeadshotCHRISTOPHER R. WILSON: My motivation to dance stems from the sheer fact that I know I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else!

 

 

 

 

Iosu_Headshot - websiteIOSU BASCARAN: Getting to learn new choreography and also getting to work with an incredibly talented and motivated group of dancers!

 

 

 

 

What’s it like sharing the stage with the main company dancers?

Criss Rodriguez - websiteCRISS RODRIGUEZ: Just having them around is inspiring and a boost of confidence and joy. To have their help is great. Makes me feel like a part of the family, always trying to find ways to improve. It’s a great feeling of energy. They are always looking out for each other, which is amazing.

 

 

ASHLEY: Being able to see, hear and even work together through certain steps with company members that have performed the same roles in the past gives us such valuable information that enhances our experience and delivery.

STEFANIE: I can feel their energy and support in dancing as a group! I know that we all support each other and want all of us to succeed–that is rare. The main company dancers are so approachable and they always have great tips and tricks how to accent or fulfill certain movement that you are struggling with.

 

What’s the best question you’ve heard during a Q&A?

IOSU: How do you change costumes so fast?

STEFANIE: Why are you all so pretty?

NICK: The best question I’ve heard would have to be when a kid asked me about my hair and who cuts it. It was a great plug for my hairdresser Richard.

 

Any pre-show rituals or lucky charms?

HannahHeadshot02 - websiteHANNAH JEW: I like to do my four minute plank series and eat a banana and drink a bottle of Gatorade. I also have some cards with encouraging words from my mentor that I keep in my makeup box.

 

 

 

NICK: While I’m waiting in the wings I have to shake out my whole body and pop my toe knuckles.

NICOLE: Before every show I always do the same pre-class warm up that I have been doing every day for the past 4 years. Sometimes I shorten or vary it, but the elements are the same. This ritual not only prepares my body but also centers me–reminding of my younger self, how much I have grown, and why I love what I do.

CHRISTOPHER: I listen to a playlist I created called “Let’s Werk.”

 

If you weren’t a dancer, you would be a:

HANNAH: Gifted education specialist in a school system.

STEFANIE: School teacher or a full-time mom.

CHRISTOPHER: Finance/marketing advisor of an arts organization.

IOSU: I’m currently studying finance and mathematics, so possibly something having to do with that.

NICOLE: Writer, choreographer, or lawyer.

CRISS: Veterinarian, or marine biologist.

NICK: Wildlife veterinarian.

ASHLEY: Veterinarian! My career has never come close to going down this path but I believe that my passion for nurturing animals runs at the same level as my passion for dance.

 

Merde to our dancers on their Joyce Theater debut! Get a taste of the Ballet Hispanico En Familia experience in this video below:

 

 


Meet our newest BHdos dancers!

The sixth season of our second company, BHdos, kicked off to a great start yesterday with their first rehearsal of 2014! BHdos is a talented group of young dancers on the brink of starting their professional dance careers, who get the amazing opportunity to hone their talents under the mentorship of the artistic professionals of BH. In addition to receiving training and having the chance to take class with the main company, BHdos plays a huge role in our Education & Outreach program by performing BH repertory for New York City schoolchildren throughout the five boroughs. The second company also performs at community functions throughout the city.

We’re excited to introduce three new dancers, Christian, Trevor, and Kaylee, to the team this season! Start getting to know them here:

Christian Christian DeLuna Zuno

Hometown: Colorado Springs

Moment you knew you wanted to pursue dance:

When the time came to register for high school, the designated school in my district was a Performing Arts school. Here, at the age of 15, with the help of a mentor at my middle school’s science department who would gift my first pair of ballet shoes and Jazz pants, I could go audition for the high school’s Dance Arts Magnet program. After my first semester there I realized that dance had been my secret passion all along and started pursuing it rigorously.

What are you looking forward to about working with BHdos?

As I have gotten the privilege to further my education in Dance and other topics like Latino studies and child’s psychology at New York University, my interest with Ballet Hispanico has grown. I came to admire the focus and passion for education and outreach programs the company provides to their audiences. Getting closer to my own Mexican heritage through dance is probably the most exciting part of this opportunity.

Favorite way to unwind after a long rehearsal:

As unhealthy as it may be at times, my absolutely favorite recipe for unwinding is a large cup of herbal tea with honey, chocolate chip cookies, and some Netflix. Aka the perfect trio.

Favorite place in New York City: Riverside Park

Trevor Miles Trevor Headshot Colo

Hometown: Coos Bay, OR

Moment you knew you wanted to pursue dance:

Ever since I can remember I have been a performer. If I wasn’t performing on a stage, I was singing, acting, or dancing around the house. Singing became my primary focus, but not too long after that, I wanted to learn the technique of dance; and I just fell in love.

What are you looking forward to about working with BHdos?

I am so grateful for the opportunity to begin dancing with BHdos. I am at a point in my dance training where I am finally bridging the gap between being a student dancer and a professional, and I could not be more excited and eager to work, learn, and grow with all of the Ballet Hispanico Dancers and faculty.

Favorite way to unwind after a long rehearsal:

I love Broadway, as that is a second aspiration of mine, so on my off-time I take advantage of any opportunity to see a Broadway show or any Fine Art’s related performance in the city. I also enjoy things interior design related; and watching movies is always a go-to of mine.

Favorite place in New York City: Any time I have a view of the Ocean. 🙂

KayleeKaylee Tang

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Moment you knew you wanted to pursue dance:

I cannot recall a moment when I knew that I wanted to pursue dance. Dance has been a part of my life since I was little, so maybe it would be more accurate to say dance pursued me.

What are you looking forward to about working with BHdos?

I am looking forward to the comfort of having another dance family among the many others I already have. It will be a blessing to have a community to be a part of!

Favorite way to unwind after a long rehearsal:

I love to take long naps. I always fall into my deepest sleep after dancing!

Favorite place in New York City: Riverside Park

———————————————————————————————————————

Maybe we just discovered a correlation between dance ability and love for the coast?

Christian, Trevor, and Kaylee will be joining some returning BHdos dancers–Ana, Kassandra, Kyree, and Molly–for the new season. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on their successes throughout the year!


Dancers and Injuries: A BHdos Dancer’s Perspective

Injuries are the bane of every dancer. They can strike at the worst times and keep a dancer on the sidelines for weeks, even months. How does one cope? Returning BHdos dancer Laura Montas shares her experience in today’s guest post.

My name is Laura Montas and I am a dancer with Ballet Hispanico’s second company, BHdos. Currently we are reaching the end of our season and we have experienced some wonderful opportunities. About three weeks ago I was injured on the job. I am now nursing tendinitis on my patella and a slight tear in my meniscus on my left knee. My doctor feels as though the tear is small enough to be cured with physical therapy, so I have been adamant about attending my P.T sessions and trying to get as healthy as I can.

As a dancer, your livelihood is your body and how well it can perform. When the doctor told me I had this injury I was very scared because I felt as though I wouldn’t be able to dance anymore or be able to partake in the experience Ballet Hispanico has offered me. Having a conversation with my rehearsal director was frustrating because all I wanted to do was dance and they thought it was best if I sat out for the rest of the season to focus on my knee. Nicholas (Rehearsal Director for BHdos) and Franchesca (Program Coordinator) emphasized the importance of healing the knee injury instead of pushing through the pain. It feels great to know that the company you love so much hasn’t given up on you and this is an opportunity that they’re giving me rather than a punishment.

Ballet Hispanico agreed to keep me on board and now I have a new job responsibility. I now observe company class and their shows as well as take notes for the rehearsal director. It’s definitely not as fun as being a dancer that’s part of the rehearsal process physically but I’m learning to use different tools that will help me when I return to dance.

Taking a step back and looking at dance through the perspective of a director is really eye-opening because you learn how to speak to people so that you get what you want out of them. You also begin to observe and realize the importance of form and positioning in choreography. Suddenly you have the opportunity to view your friends habits and you have the option of taking some of their habits with you when you do return to dance.

I have to admit when I was dancing I didn’t pay attention to the musical counts as much as I should have. Now that I am unable to dance I’m all about the counts! I’m able to hear the music a lot better and it’s all become very clear to me.

Even though I’m not dancing, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped my training. I’m just using different muscles to strengthen my all-around abilities as an artist. I want to say this experience has been a gift and a curse. A curse because I am not able to dance for now. But a gift because I can now focus on some of the aspects of dance I felt I was weaker in. When I start dancing again I’ll know the importance of musicality, focus, and taking direction better. I am very grateful Ballet Hispanico has given me this opportunity . Though it’s a different one it’s extremely valid and helpful towards my growth as a dancer.

-Laura Montas

BHdos dancer Laura Montas

BHdos dancer Laura Montas