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Michelle Tabnick
Dance New York
Press Releases

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Ballet Hispanico At The Arnhold Center & Ford Foundation Lobby

by Michelle Tabnick
October 12, 2015
Ballet Hispanico, celebrating 45 years of sharing and reflecting the diversity of Latino cultures through dance, announced the grand opening of Ballet Hispanico at the Arnhold Center & the Ford Foundation Lobby on Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at 167 W. 89th Street. The ceremony highlighted the recent renovation of Ballet Hispanico’s longtime home, with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony followed by a tour and reception.

Kate Lear, Chair of the Board of Directors of Ballet Hispanico, welcomed the crowd and introduced speakers, including Gale A. Brewer, Manhattan Borough President, City of New York; Lee Koonce, Executive Director, Ballet Hispanico; Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director, Ballet Hispanico; Margaret Morton, Program Office, Creativity & Free Expression, Ford Foundation; and Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Member & Honorary Chair of the Board of Directors of Ballet Hispanico. Notable attendees included: Vin Cipolla; Diana DiMenna; Tom Finkelpearl; Joan Finkelstein; Norman Lear; Sharon Luckman; Christina McInerney; and Nancy Ticotin, among others. Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting, attendees enjoyed a champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres and a special performance featuring young dancers from Ballet Hispanico’s School of Dance.

“The Arnhold Center will help us expand our programs and become a true and much needed Latino cultural center. And the Ford Foundation lobby will provide a sunny welcome to our students, guests and their families,” said Ms. Lear. “We are thrilled to celebrate this important milestone in Ballet Hispanico’s 45-year history and we extend our deepest gratitude to Jody Gottfried Arnhold, the Arnhold family and the Ford Foundation.”

The facades of Ballet Hispanico’s two historic carriage houses were restored and redesigned to give new life and improve accessibility to the building. Newly opened doors and windows, now with glass, welcome the community and enable passersby to see School of Dance classes. A complete refresh of the lobby, featuring interactive digital displays and historical photos, now enhances the impact of Ballet Hispanico’s artistic home.

SUK Design Group supervised the restoration of the façade and redesigned the layout of the first floor. Interior designer Carolyn Wharton, senior principal at Deborah Berke Partners, designed the lobby and reception furniture. A grant from the Ford Foundation allowed for the lobby make-over and technology improvements, including three large digital displays that will greet visitors and students. Additional funding from the Ford Foundation funded other projects and bolstered the organization’s reserve. A major gift from the Arnhold family celebrates Jody Gottfried Arnhold’s 30 years on the Board of Ballet Hispanico, 16 of those years in the role of Board Chair.

“Ballet Hispanico has brought individuals and communities together for 45 years to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through dance,” said Jody Arnhold. “Our family is very proud to usher in an exciting new chapter with the opening of The Arnhold Center where new programs and collaborations will further enhance Ballet Hispanico’s position as a source of connection and inspiration.”

“Under the artistic leadership of Eduardo Vilaro, Ballet Hispanico continues to thrive, and the new Arnhold Center and Ford Foundation Lobby embody the strength of his artistic vision over the past six years. We are looking forward to an exciting autumn and beyond,” said Lee Koonce, Ballet Hispanico’s Executive Director.

This fall, Ballet Hispanico is featured in the inaugural Great American Dance film series along with the San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and New York City Ballet. On Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7pm (local time), over 600 U.S. cinemas will screen Ballet Hispanico’s "CARMEN.maquia" and "Club Havana." The event will also include a special behind-the-scenes look at the company’s rehearsals and dancers.

In addition, Ballet Hispanico makes its annual holiday return to the Apollo Theater in Harlem with an expanded New York Fall Season from November 20-21, 2015. Highlights of the season include the World Premiere of an evening-length work by Brazilian choreographer Fernando Melo set to live music, and Saturday en Familia, a special matinee for families featuring fun Ballet Hispanico repertory favorites. The company continues to tour nationally and internationally and will return to The Joyce Theater in April 2016 for its New York Spring Season.


An interdisciplinary, cultural, and community resource, The Arnhold Center explores the intersection of the arts and Latino culture through programs and activities that unite, educate, and entertain. It is fittingly home to Ballet Hispanico whose mission is to bring individuals and communities together to celebrate Latino cultures and the shared human experience through dance. Ballet Hispanico is grateful to Henry Arnhold, John & Jody Arnhold and The Arnhold Foundation for the visionary leadership and support that have made The Arnhold Center and its programs possible.


Celebrating 45 years of repertory that reflects the ever-changing diversity of Latino cultures, Ballet Hispanico is the new expression of American contemporary dance. Led by Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, the Company 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. Ballet Hispanico has performed for audiences totaling over 3 million, throughout 11 countries, and on 3 continents. 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, Instagram and Twitter.

EDUARDO VILARO joined Ballet Hispanico as Artistic Director in August 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. He has been part of the Ballet Hispanico family since 1985 as a principle dancer and educator, after which he began a ten-year record of achievement as Founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispanico’s legacy with a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects America’s changing cultural landscape. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, he is a frequent speaker on the merits of cultural diversity and dance education.
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