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Jennifer Wesnousky
Performance Reviews
The Joyce Theater
Ballet Hispanico
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Ballet Hispanico - ¡Sí Señor ¡Es Mi Son!, Corazón Al Andaluz, Eyes Of The Soul, Tito On Timbales, Palladium Suite

by Jennifer Wesnousky
November 12, 2006
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011

Featured Dance Company:

Ballet Hispanico
Ballet Hispanico (office)
167 West 89th Street
New York, NY 10024

The glossary provided by BALLET HISPANICO's Artistic Director, Tina Ramirez, in the program for the Company's 2006 Fall Season described the first act, entitled "FEATURES," as "Highlights from Latin American choreographers who have indelibly shaped the Company's diverse repertory." Said diversity was indeed showcased on November 12, 2006 at the Joyce Theatre, where the company performed a first act made up of four of its many mini-vignettes as well as the stand-alone second act, "PALLADIUM SUITE."

The first "feature," ¡SÍ SEÑOR ¡ES MI SON!, offered two contrasting couples dressed respectively in black and white. With the black-clad lady in high-heeled character shoes and the woman in white in ballet pointes, Randy Barceló's costumes complimented choreographer Alberto Alonso's stylistic infusion of tango and other Latin social forms into the dancers' ballet/modern pas de deuxs. Danced to Gloria Estefan's tranquil croons of "Cuanto te quiero" ("How I love you…"), the dancers' controlled elegance seemed to stand for equally subdued and stable relationships until, ironically, the couple in white's continued movement and facial expressions post-song alluded to something stormier. Renowned Spanish choreographer Ramón Oller's CORAZÓN AL ANDALUZ then injected color onto the scene with a sizzling soloist whose bright orange frock billowed with her body's ripples and gyrations. With an Arab-inspired costume and choreography that constituted a tribute to Islamic influences in the Spanish south, her impassioned performance included controlled, acrobatic drops as well as sharp musical accents within usually smooth and balletic lines. In EYES OF THE SOUL, a male-female duet in simple white costumes resembling nightclothes appeared to be tormented by sleeplessness. Their otherworldly demeanors and physiques in motion were most compelling when he, on his knees on a mattress, lifted her at a series of innovative angles. The first act's closing number, TITO ON TIMBALES, then changed the evening's energy with a pulsating Batucada beat in which a duo energetically executed a range of movement from elegant to undulating.

"People meet, people dance, people fall in love…at the Palladium," proclaimed an offstage voice at the end of the performance's second act, aptly summing up "PALLADIUM SUITE." This homage to the famed Palladium, a once all-white club that became renowned for featuring top African American and Latino Artists, featured a potpourri of colors and personalities with a shared desire to mambo, cha-cha and pachanga the night away. Characters ranging from nerdy types, a schoolgirl, a flapper, a marine and a glamour girl complete with a boa and cigarette holder, stayed constantly in character whether performing featured bits or ensemble segments which constituted the evening's highs and lows. Although certain segments seemed stilted, probably due to overly balletic choreography set to pulsating mambo music, causing one to feel as if the dancers were holding something back, PALLADIUM SUITE included some of the evening's highlights as well. The nerdy character, for example, complete with glasses, a cowlick and a too-tight suit, could certainly strut his stuff to the rhythms of the Mambo. And, the sultry, dark-skinned duo of Antonio and Veronique, the club professionals whose partnering exuded athleticism and prowess, took the dancing to new heights not only with innovative lifts, slides and splits but with the performance's most authentic and nitty-gritty energy. Finally, the bespectacled young girl who shed her glasses- and self-consciousness- to find a kind of freedom as, beaming beautifully, she was lifted overhead by a multitude of men, imbued the audience with a similar sensation.

When the music and performers turned sleepy after a wild Palladium night, the audience felt ready to depart as well. For they had lived vicariously through the evening's frenetic festivities, performed to the fullest by an eclectic array of BALLET HISPANICO's colorful characters.

Artistic Director: Tina Ramirez
The Company: Eric Rivera, Irene Hogarth-Cimino, Natalia Alonso, Rodney Hamilton, Sara Kappraff, Candice Moné McCall, Angelica Burgos, Kristine Covillo, Iyun Harrison, Waldemar Quiñones, Nicholas Villanueve, James A. Pierce, III, Jessica Batten
Executive Director: Verdery Roosevelt
General Manager: Derek R. Munson
Artistic Associate/Rehearsal Director: Gina Bugatti
Production Stage Manager: William Schaffner

Choreography by
Alberto Alonso
Assisted by Sonia Calero
Music by Gloria Estefan (from the album Mi Tierra)
Costume Design by Randy Barceló
Lighting Design by Donald Holder

Choreography by
Ramón Oller
Music by Rosa Zaragoza, Luis Delgado, Luis Paniagua
Costume Design by Willa Kim
Lighting Design by Scott Zielinski

Choreography by
Ramón Oller
Music by Joaquín Rodrigo
Set Design by Eugene Lee
Costume Design by Willa Kim
Lighting Design by Roger Morgan

Choreography by
William Whitener
Music by Tito Puente and The Tito Puente Percussion Ensemble
Costume Design by Patricia Zipprodt
Lighting Design by Roger Morgan

Conceived by T
ina Ramirez
Choreography by Willie Rosario
Dramaturge by Edwin Sanchez
Set Design by Neil Patel
Costume Design by Emilio Sosa
Lighting Design by David Weiner
Additional Lighting Design by Mark Hankla
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