“Ballet Hispanico” rocks the stage


Nadine Fox, Staff writer

The Mercyhurst Institute for Arts and Culture welcomed the dance company Ballet Hispánico to Mercyhurst University at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Ballet Hispánico is breaking stereotypes and celebrating the beauty and diversity of Hispanic cultures through dance. Ballet Hispánico is known as the largest Hispanic cultural organization in the United States and is one of America’s Cultural Treasures. The company has been bringing communities together for 50 years to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance
productions, transformative dance training and community engagement. Ballet Hispánico’s three main programs include the Company, School of Dance and Community Arts Partnerships.
Ballet Hispánico’s headquarters in New York City provide a haven and cultural heart for Latin dance
in the United States. It is a space that initiates new inclusive cultural conversations and explores the intersectionality of Latin cultures. Ballet Hispánico welcomes and serves all, no matter their background or identity – Latine, Latino, Hispanic. Tina Ramirez, Dance visionary and National Medal of Arts recipient, founded the Ballet Hispánico in 1970, at the height of the postwar civil rights movements. She wanted Ballet Hispánico to be focused on creating a safe place for Hispanic dance and dancers to flourish. Later in 1985, Eduardo Vilaro joined Ballet Hispánico as a Company dancer. In 2009 he was promoted to the organization’s second Artistic Director and eventually became the CEO in 2015. Vilaro said, “The extraordinary act of a Latina immigrant embarking on a journey of access to the arts for a community is a heroic example of arts advocacy. When thinking of the years, the families, the students, the artists, and the administrators whose lives Ballet Hispánico changed, one cannot help but wonder at the power of such a vision. It was this idea of service for a marginalized and silenced community that made Tina Ramirez’s founding of Ballet Hispánico unparalleled.” He is currently building on Ramirez’s impact by expanding and deepening the legacy of visualizing Latin cultures and exposing the intersectionality and depth of diversity found in the Hispanic cultures, Vilaro’s vision has elevated a community from the margins to its place ingrained at the center of the American cultural landscape. Today Ballet Hispánico is a catalyst for social change. Their mission opens a platform for new social dialogue. Ballet Hispánico nurtures and
sees a community in its fullness through its exemplary artistry, distinguished training program, and
deep-rooted community engagement, Ballet Hispánico champions and amplifies Latine voices in
the field. The Mercyhurst Dance Department was extremely grateful to have received free tickets to encourage students to perform Ballet Hispánico and experience the work this company is doing in the dance community. The Dance department also had the opportunity on Thursday morning to have a Master Class taught by the artistic staff of Ballet Hispánico. The performance was breathtakingly beautiful, with stunning lifts and flowy movements, as well as being bright, fun, and had a sharp sense of musicality. Be sure to follow Ballet Hispánico on their upcoming adventures to show your support!