Last week, Ballet Hispanico continued its 45th anniversary tour with their spring New York season at The Joyce Theater, April 5-10, 2016. This time around, the company chose to honor the past by bringing back some old favorites from their repertoire.
The evening opened with the New York premiere of a fun piece entitled Flabbergast. With choreography by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, the dance tells the story of someone coming to a place for the first time through the humor of stereotypes and preconceived ideas about new and foreign places. I loved the way the dancers moved with such fluidity, strong technique, and great musicality. They also really got into character as you could hear giggles throughout the audience. What an enjoyable piece! The dancing was entertaining, the music by Juan Garcia Esquivel was upbeat, and it looked as though the dancers were having fun which is always a nice bonus. I also loved the nice blend of ballet and Latin flare.
Next was Bury Me Standing, a work choreographed by Ramón Oller that tells the story of the Gypsy culture or “Roma” people, a marginalized group with strong communal bonds, sensuality, and oppression. The opening scene was so powerful with the lighting and fog as the dancers climbed on top of each other as if they were trying to reach something, but couldn’t. It was absolutely beautiful. You can see the influence of flamenco in the choreography with the presence of the intricate footwork, the claps (palmas), and lovely arms. I particularly loved the all-men section. There is something about seeing men dance on stage that’s wonderful and exciting.
The program concluded with the delightful Club Havana. The piece brings you back to the glamorous Havana of the 1950s during the heyday of Cuban music, dance, and nightlife. Choreographer Pedro Ruiz, a Cuban native, takes you on a journey of a reimagined nightclub with the exhilarating sounds and rhythms of the conga, rumba, mambo, and cha cha. The dancers were absolutely stunning. I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. In the end, the piece closed with confetti coming down as they danced the night away. It is performances like this that make Ballet Hispanico such a cultural gem. Definitely a crowd pleaser!
I love Ballet Hispanico. The company does an excellent job showcasing the cultural diversity of the Hispanic Diaspora. And it’s great to have them based here in New York! As one not of Latin descent, I truly appreciate what this company does and will continue to do.
Photo: Martina Calcagno and Mark Gieringer in CLUB HAVANA