Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Bonnie Rosenstock
Calendar
Dance Events
Dance New York
Music Performance Reviews
Performance Programs
Performance Reviews
Ballet
Dance-theater
Latin
Modern/Contemporary
The Joyce Theater
Ballet Hispanico
USA
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com

Ballet Hispánico Shines in Two Lorca-Inspired Premieres

by Bonnie Rosenstock
April 27, 2018
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800

Featured Dance Company:

Ballet Hispanico
Ballet Hispanico (office)
167 West 89th Street
New York, NY 10024
212-362-6710
www.ballethispanico.org

Federico García Lorca, Spain’s most celebrated and influential poet, playwright and artist has never gone out of fashion. His brilliant works have been celebrated in live theater, dance, music and film. Yerma (1934), the first of his trilogy plays about the tragic lives of women in rural villages, just finished a limited, sold-out run by London’s Young Vic in an acclaimed contemporary adaptation at the Park Avenue Armory, which I was fortunate enough to see. Ballet Hispánico’s New York Season at the Joyce Theater (April 10-15) honored the playwright with two World Premieres. One was inspired by the last play in the trilogy, The House of Bernarda Alba (1936). The other debut was a moving duet reimaging a purported love affair with Spanish artist Salvador Dalí.

Ballet Hispánico’s program on April 13 began with "Waiting for Pepe" by Canary Island-born Carlos Pons Guerra exuded sexual repression, despair, yearning and passion. (Pons wrote in the program that as a young gay man growing up in Spain, he was bullied and rejected. But after reading The House of Bernarda Alba, his life changed.) The Pepe in the title refers to Pepe el Romano, the much talked-about but unseen love interest of three of Bernarda Alba’s five daughters—he is engaged to the oldest, having a secret affair with the youngest and is the fantasy of another—and the cause of great tension in the household. (At the end, the tyrannical matriarch scared him off with a gun and condemned them all to spinsterhood.) The Company danced seamlessly in tight formations as well as dispersed across the stage. There were some duets that did not end well. An animated marching sequence was accompanied by toreador music. A female dancer repeatedly banged the floor with a long pole (reminded me of Bernarda Alba’s cane that she used to show her displeasure and cow her daughters). A lone dancer screamed out in sexual frustration and release. Finally, once the sex genie is out of the bottle, there is no holding back. And what better music to accompany a no-holds-barred orgy with all manner of simulated sexual positions than Batucada, repetitive fast-paced African-Brazilian percussion-driven music. At the finale there was a suspended neon sign of a strange-looking rooster that the dancers seemed to worship. I found out later it represented that heartbreaker Pepe (the “cock”) and was meant to be a symbol of liberty that leads the sisters to break away from sexual repression. Despite the strange bird, it was a very powerful well-executed ensemble piece.

García Lorca and Dalí met in 1923 at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, Spain, and were quite taken with each other’s genius and unconventionality. Whether it developed into a sexual relationship is still open to debate today. However, they left behind a trove of letters they exchanged that are playful and seductive. Their up-and-down friendship lasted until 1936, when Lorca, age 38, was assassinated by fascists at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, his body thrown into a mass grave that still has not been found. In the tender, beautifully danced duet "Espíritus Gemelos" (Spiritual Twins), Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramírez Sansano captured the nuances of their imagined intimacy through these letters. Dalí (Chris Bloom) is at his easel. Lorca (Omar Román De Jesús) is on his bed, reading from papers (their correspondence or his poetry is unclear). Lorca approaches. They dance tentatively, slowly. The dance conveys initial shyness, tenderness, a sense of discovery, yearning. They part.

The other two pieces in this satisfying program were "Línea Recta" (2016) by Colombian-Belgian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, with flamenco guitar played by Eric Vaarzon Morel. It is a paean to the passion of flamenco, but with a great deal more physical contact, and the glorious Jenna Marie as the lead bailaora (flamenco dancer). The rousing Con Brazos Abiertos (2017) by Houston-born choreographer Michelle Manzanales captured her feelings of being caught between two worlds, never feeling fully accepted by either, but also eschewing her Mexican heritage. Her nostalgic, frank and humorous look at iconic Mexican symbols are intertwined with folkloric details, set to a variety of music and spoken word. Although based on the personal, her narrative is universal. I reviewed these two outstanding pieces last year. (See Ballet Hispánico’s Program of All-Female Choreography a Powerhouse, published April 25, 2017 at http://www.exploredance.com/article.htm?id=4669&s=author&sid=7554.) It’s always a pleasure to revisit fine works, each time seeing them though a different lens and enjoying them all over again.
Ballet Hispanico in Carlos Pons Guerra's 'Waiting for Pepe'.

Ballet Hispanico in Carlos Pons Guerra's "Waiting for Pepe".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Carlos Pons Guerra's 'Waiting for Pepe'.

Ballet Hispanico in Carlos Pons Guerra's "Waiting for Pepe".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's 'Espíritus Gemelos'.

Ballet Hispanico in Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's "Espíritus Gemelos".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's 'Espíritus Gemelos'.

Ballet Hispanico in Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's "Espíritus Gemelos".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's 'Línea Recta'.

Ballet Hispanico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Línea Recta".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's 'Línea Recta'.

Ballet Hispanico in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Línea Recta".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Michelle Manzanales''Con Brazos Abiertos'.

Ballet Hispanico in Michelle Manzanales'"Con Brazos Abiertos".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo


Ballet Hispanico in Michelle Manzanales''Con Brazos Abiertos'.

Ballet Hispanico in Michelle Manzanales'"Con Brazos Abiertos".

Photo © & courtesy of Paula Lobo

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health