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Ballet Hispanico

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 6, 2002
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800

About the Author:


Ballet Hispanico

212.362.6710
167 West 89th Street
NY, NY 10024

www.ballethispanico.org

Tina Ramirez, Artistic Director
Verdery Roosevelt, Executive Director
Gina Bugatti, Rehearsal Director
Derek R. Munson, Company Manager
William Schaffner, Production Stage Manager

Jovanna Huguet, Ellen Jacobs Associates, Publicity, ejacobsassociates@earthlink.net


Performances Presented at the Joyce Theater
www.joyce.org


Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 6, 2002


Ballet Hispanico was founded in 1970 by Tina Ramirez, and its Repertory includes a fusion of Ballet, Latin dance, and Modern Dance. Ballet Hispanico has performed for over two million people worldwide, including appearances in Kansas, Chicago, Arizona, Wolf Trap, Jacob's Pillow, Zurich, and Barcelona. The Company has toured Spain and South America. Ms. Ramirez has commissioned over 70 new choreographed works for Ballet Hispanico. A year-round School of Dance provides over 600 young people with training in specialized dance techniques and cultural heritage. In addition, Primeros Pasos (First Steps) is an education initiative to bring this talented Company into public schools across the country. Ms. Ramirez, from Venezuela, studied with Lola Bravo, Alexandra Danilova, and Anna Sokolow. In April 2002, Ms. Ramirez received the Dance Magazine Award, and, in 1999, she received a Hispanic Heritage Award at The Kennedy Center. She has also received several awards from NYC Mayors.


Ballet Hispanico - "Cada Noche…Tango" - in photo Natalia Alonso and Jae-Man Joo - photo by Andrew Unangst



Ballet Hispanico - "Club Havana" - in Photo: Jennifer DePalo and Eric Riviera - photo by Bruce Laurence


Bésame (2001): Choreography by Ramón Oller, Music…Medley of Latin American Songs, Sets Design by Neil Patel, Costume Design by Willa Kim, Lighting Design by Donald Holder, Performed by the Company. Bésame, titled from Bésame Mucho, is an exuberant piece, with a leaping ingénue, Jennifer DePalo, dashing off a table into the arms of Pedro Ruiz, the man of the moment, this Ballet Hispanico Season, dancer, choreographer, dreamer. In the first section of Bésame, Ramon Oller transported the audience form the theater to a magnificent dream, as if we awoke in a Chagall painting, with lovers flying upside down into each other's arms, Ms. DePalo in a flowing, chiffony purple dress, and Mr. Ruiz in a suit. Also appearing in this section are two other lovers, Natalia Alonso, a remarkably talented dancer, and Eric Rivera. The second section, less passionate, more modern, still about lovers and kisses and suitors, focused on the table and teatime, a combination of grace and passion. The third section, danced by Jae-Man Joo and Walter Cinquinella, highlighted one man in a ruffled, blue, brief overall and another in a fine suit. Their love duet appeared to be less obvious and more inventive. The final section, an epilogue, finds Mr. Ruiz returning with Natalia Alonso, in a moment of loss and despair. One is reminded of the Schnitzler play, "La Ronde".

Cada Noche…Tango (1988): Choreography by Graciela Daniele, Restaged by Kathryn Ross-Nash and Pedro Ruiz, Music by Astor Piazzolla, Costume Design by Patricia Zipprodt, Lighting Design by Peggy Eisenhauer, Piazzolla's Music for Cada Noche…Tango, The Rough Dancer, and The Cyclical Night used by Arrangement with Nonesuch Records, Virgin Atlantic, Performed by the Company. As a seasoned and experienced dancer of Argentine Tango, my wish is to see a Modern Dance or Ballet Company merge the two genres into an extremely well danced Tango, with the best of the style and inventive technique that the particular Modern Dance or Ballet Company has to offer. Graciela Daniele has almost achieved this wish, with this highly engaging and sensual piece, which included Argentinean males in quintessential suspenders and dress hats, knives and whips, prostitutes and pimps, high-heeled Tango shoes and black lace costumes. Yet, I yearned for a few Gonchos and Boleos, an eclectic mix of Tango technique Modern Ballet. Ms. Daniele was highly successful in her interpretation of Astor Piazzolla's music (For More About Piazzolla, See Binelli Review and Interview), which is energetic, emotionally violent and provocative, and magically magnetic. She created the predatory and tense ambiance of old Tango scenes (between the World Wars) in the bordellos of Buenos Aires, with women intervening for the lives of men, who expressed their macho competition through death-defying fights and choreographic cunning. Kudos to Patricia Zipprodt for perfectly designed costumes, and kudos to Kathryn Ross-Nash and Pedro Ruiz for the restaging of this magnificent interpretation of Piazzolla's music and mood.

Club Havana (2000): Choreography by Pedro Ruiz, Music by López, Gonzales, Salim, Prado, and Repilado, Costume Design by Emilio Sosa, Lighting Design by Donald Holder, Performed by the Company. Pedro Ruiz, as a Dancer and mainly as a choreographer, will be highlighted in a series of reviews of three of his pieces for Ballet Hispanico. Club Havana is the first of this series, and, if the others are as amazingly choreographed and stylistically mounted as this piece, the Ballet Hispanico audience is in for a rare treat this last week of its engagement at The Joyce Theater. This upbeat, buoyant piece, received by the audience with Bravura accolades, includes most of the genres of Latin Dance: Mambo, Son, Cha, Cha, Bolero, Rhumba, and Conga. With glittery ballroom shoes and sweeping dresses, that resemble those used in Competitive Dance Competitions, (See Photos of Latin Ballroom Competitions, such as at the Manhattan Dancesport Championships) (Kudos to Emilio Sosa), with flashing background lighting (Kudos to Donald Holder), this sexy, sometimes evocative, sometimes electric piece transported the audience to a Copacabana-like (See Copacabana Website) ambiance. Mr. Ruiz' choreography was wild and wanton, cool and charismatic, and always perfectly balanced to the specific songs and orchestrations of the moment.

Kudos to Tina Ramirez, Artistic Director, Ballet Hispanico, for organizing and facilitating such an amazing array of talented choreographers, performers, and technical and costume designers. Thanks to Ms. Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico is a nationally acclaimed Company.

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