Legendary ballet dance company promotes Latin culture

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) – For nearly 50 years, Ballet Hispanico has presented ballet, contemporary dance and the arts to children and adults of all ages. The legendary New York-based dance company is now showcasing its Latin-infused brand of ballet nationwide.

“Ballet is our foundation, but we are doing a fusion,” said Laura Lopez, dancer for the company. “As Latinos we have that particular flavor and I think that’s what really stands out. There’s ‘a sazon’ as we would call it.”

“Some of the first dances I saw were actually images of Alicia Alonso, a very famous star dancer in Cuba,” said Melissa Verdecia, a member of the company. “She had such power and such balance. I couldn’t recognize it at the time, but it made me feel like I had power as a woman.”

Acclaimed dancer and former member of the Hispanico Ballet, Eduardo Vilaro now heads the organization.

“The company was founded in 1970 by educator and choreographer Tina Ramirez. She wanted to give access to the arts and arts education to her community, ”Vilaro said. “Since its inception, it has continued to provide a training ground as performers and art lovers for children of all ages.

Ballet Hispanico also partners with schools nationwide, including several Los Angeles area schools. Recently, the organization performed at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

“What we’re doing is really focusing on artists who celebrate the joy and shared experience of humanity. We really want to celebrate the diversity on our stage,” said Carolyn Elliott, director of programming at The Broad Stage.

Students from LA schools were invited to a special performance and educational session.

Hispanic ballet

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