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Michelle Tabnick
Press Releases

BALLET HISPANICO selected Mexican-American Choreographer MICHELLE MANZANALES for Instituto Coreográfico

by Michelle Tabnick
June 9, 2015
Ballet Hispanico, recognized as the nation's leading Latino dance organization since 1970, presented the latest installment of its choreographic institute, Instituto Coreográfíco, with a showing held on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at the company's headquarters at 167 W. 89th Street, NYC. This year's Instituto Coreográfico featured Mexican-American choreographer and Ballet Hispanico Rehearsal Director Michelle Manzanales, who was paired with filmmaker Fernando Venegas Traba and photographer Madeline Campisano. The 2015 installment of the Instituto program was made possible through support from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

The groundbreaking Instituto Coreográfico provides emerging Latino choreographers, dance filmmakers, and now dance photographers with a professional and supportive environment in which to explore their heritage and develop their craft. Choreographers receive ongoing feedback from a group of notable artistic mentors and advisors, daily archive DVD recordings of the rehearsals, an edited film of the resulting work, an academic advisor, and a showing of their work.


In 2010, Ballet Hispanico's Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro launched a new choreography institute for Latino artists to create culturally specific work in a nurturing learning laboratory of dance. Through the Instituto Coreográfico, Ballet Hispanico encourages the development of Latino leaders and the creation of new works of art that expand our cultural dialogue. The inaugural Instituto Coreográfíco took place in September 2010 when Cuban-American choreographer Maray Ramis Gutierrez created a new work, Puntos Suspensivos, on company members which then premiered two months later during Ballet Hispanico's annual New York season at The Joyce Theater. The Instituto continued in January 2011 when former Ballet Hispanico dancer Nicholas Villeneuve created a new work on his fellow company members. The program in June 2011 featured Cuban choreographer George Céspedes, a dancer with Danza Contemporánea de Cuba who is among the few Cuban nationals to create a work for a major U.S. dance company. The most recent installment of the program in 2014 featured Miami-based choreographer Rosie Herrera in January and Mexican choreographer Miguel Mancillas in May.


Michelle Manzanales is a choreographer and dance educator originally from Houston, TX who has created works for numerous professional companies, universities, and schools including Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (Chicago, IL), Houston Metropolitan Dance Company under the direction of Dorrell Martin, the University of Houston, and Rice University among others. In 2007, Manzanales created Sugar in the Raw (Azucar Cruda) for Luna Negra Dance Theater, which was applauded by the Chicago Sun-Times as "a staggering, beautiful, accomplished new work." In 2010, her homage to Frida Kahlo, Paloma Querida, was hailed as a "visual masterpiece" by Lucia Mauro of the Chicago Tribune and has also been presented at the Capital Fringe Festival (Washington, DC), Texas Contemporary Weekend (Houston, TX), Spring to Dance (St. Louis, MO), Fort Worth Dance Festival (Fort Worth, TX), Festival de Danza Córdoba (Veracruz, Mexico), and honored by the American College Dance Festival.


From Punta Arenas, Chile, Fernando Venegas Traba studied Jounalism and then became a professor at the University of Concepción, at the Social Communication Department. In 2013, he won SUSI ( Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars) as well as the Fulbright Scholarship for a Masters Studies in the U.S. Currently, Fernando is in the Social Documentary Film Masters Program at the School of Visual Arts. His work is centered mainly on social issues and art. He has directed two short documentary series, Biógrafo and Artifacts: Facts of the regional culture, in Chile. He was also the cinematographer of the documentary The Insomniac Village (2009, by Gerardo Quezada) that explores the life of the late Chilean poet, Sergio Hernández. In NY, he has launched The Ninth Art of Russ Braun, a short film that explores the work and influences of comic book Illustrator Russ Braun. This is Fernando's first experience documenting dance.


Madeline Campisano (Chicago, IL) began her dance training at the Contra Costa School of Ballet in San Francisco, CA and was later admitted to their pre-professional company. She is currently a senior in the Fordham/Ailey BFA program where she has performed works by acclaimed choreographers including Matthew Rushing, Nicholas Villanueve, Hope Boykin, and Darshan Singh Bhuller. Ms. Campisano is also a photographer in New York City and has trained under photographers Jordan Matter, Rose Eichenbaum, and Christopher Duggan at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA. Some of her published performance photography can be viewed on Alvin Ailey's social media sites as well as the Fordham University annual alumnae book.


Since its inception in 1970, Ballet Hispanico has been recognized as the nation's premier Latino dance organization. Led by award-winning Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, the Ballet Hispanico Company has performed for audiences totaling over 3 million, throughout 11 countries, and on 3 continents. The Company's commitment to contemporary repertory has produced world-class, multifaceted performances that have featured master works by Nacho Duato, cutting-edge premieres by Cayetano Soto and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and live music collaborations with renowned artists such as Paquito D'Rivera and Ruben Blades—to name a notable few. Through the work of its professional company, school of dance, and community arts education programs, Ballet Hispanico celebrates the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities. For more information, visit www.ballethispanico.org. Follow Ballet Hispanico on Facebook and Twitter.
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