Arts and Entertainment

Ballet Hispánico to perform three dances choreographed by Latina women Oct. 17

Company returns to Eisenhower for first time since 1993

Ballet Hispánico will perform three works by Latina choreographers at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in Eisenhower Auditorium — “Linea Recta” (pictured) by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, “Con Brazos Abiertos” by Michelle Manzanales and “Catorce Dieciséis” by Tania Pérez-Salas. Credit: Paula LoboAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — New York City’s Ballet Hispánico will celebrate the work of women in a program featuring three dances by Latina choreographers at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Eisenhower Auditorium. The performance will feature “Linea Recta” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, “Con Brazos Abiertos” by Michelle Manzanales and “Catorce Dieciséis” by Tania Pérez-Salas.

“Ballet Hispánico has been a gem of the New York dance scene for years, and, in their season premiere at the Joyce Theater [in April], the company proved as strong as ever,” wrote a Village Voice reviewer. “Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro gives his troupe … opportunities to work with choreographers from around the world, producing contemporary works of bold technique that illuminate concerns of Latino/a identity and resiliency.”

Lopez Ochoa, a Colombian-Belgian who lives in the Netherlands, has choreographed works for more than 50 dance companies across the globe. In 2016’s “Linea Recta,” she explores the conspicuous absence of physical partnering in flamenco dance. While maintaining the integrity and passion of the genre, Ochoa conjures an original movement language built around the theme of partnership. Flamenco guitar music composed by Eric Vaarzon Morel sets the sound for the dance.

Read a Center for the Performing Arts interview with Lopez Ochoa.

Watch Ballet Hispánico perform “Línea Recta” by choreographer Annane Lopez Ochoa.  Credit: Ballet Hispánico

A native of Houston, Manzanales is a choreographer and educator who directs the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance. “Con Brazos Abiertos” (2017), her first work for Ballet Hispánico, delves with humility, nostalgia and humor into the iconic Mexican symbols she was reluctant to embrace as a Mexican-American growing up in Texas. Mixing folkloric details with a contemporary dance voice, and set to music ranging from Julio Iglesias to rock in Spanish, “Con Brazos Abiertos” is a fun and frank look at a life caught between cultures.

Pérez-Salas, a major voice in Mexican contemporary dance, brought her Mexico City-based company to Eisenhower in 2008. In “Catorce Dieciséis” (2002), she derives inspiration from the mathematical constant Pi to reflect on the circularity of human movement through life. Featuring music by Antonio Vivaldi and other Baroque composers, the dance uses intense theatricality and breathtaking imagery to craft a joyful feast for the senses.

Founded in 1970 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan by Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispánico has become a catalyst for bringing communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures from around the world. The company of 15, representing a number of nationalities, brings to the stage training in modern and classical dance plus ballet.

Read an interview with Ramirez.

The Cuban-born Vilaro, a former Ballet Hispánico dancer, has since 2009 infused the company with a vision of social equality, cultural identity and quality arts education.

Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring a visiting artist or artists, is offered one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders. Artistic Viewpoints regularly fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis. Following the performance, Ballet Hispánico artists will participate in a discussion with audience members.

For more information, visit the Center for the Performing Arts online or call 814-863-0255.

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders. Reservations are required by Oct. 3. Phone 814-238-0132 to reserve audio description.

This presentation is part of the Center for the Performing Arts Diversity and Inclusion Collaborative. Penn State’s Equal Opportunity Planning Committee provides lead funding for the collaborative. Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support. The Penn State International Dance Ensemble Endowment also supports this performance.

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Last Updated September 20, 2018