Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Dance Review: Ballet Hispanico Gets a One Way Ticket on the HOT TAMALE TRAIN!!!

Ballet Hispanico, Photo of Angelica Burgos & Waldemar Quiñones-Villanueva 2 by Cheryl MannIf Mary Murphy, guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, attended Ballet Hispanico’s opening night at The Joyce on Tuesday, she would definitely have handed out several tickets on the “hot tamale train.”  Ballet Hispanico turns on the heat this season with a program of sultry solos, delicious duets, and raw traditional pieces that are the perfect recipe for a memorable show.

The show opens with my favorite piece of the evening, Triptico, a series of duets choreographed by Ron De Jesus.  Triptico is the ultimate orgy of contemporary ballet and Latin dance.  Ron De Jesus creatively integrates two very different styles in this piece through fancy footwork, daring partnering, and salsa lifts, turns, and flips. Now, imagine all of this with a cast of dancers with impeccable facility and beautiful lines.  Perfection!  Of all the duets, Min-Tzu Li and Rodney Hamilton really take the eye candy prize, with their standout performance and fierce attack of the movement.

In the next piece, Locked Up Laura by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, the mood shifts to a more intimate and somber setting surrounding a mysterious pair.  Angelica Burgos and Jeffrey Hover give a spellbinding performance that keeps the audience curious about their characters relationship and enthralled by the beauty of their movement. Aside from the fact that the two are gorgeous, they maintain an intense chemistry throughout the piece.

Are You A Dancer?  Join iDANZ Today! Naci, choreographed by Andrea Miller, shows us a whole other side of Ballet Hispanico.  In Naci, Miller ‘s choreography is deeply rooted in culture, and set in a world other than our own.  The cast displays the raw quality of the work and its connection to history through their full out expression of the movement.  In particular, Jessica Alejandra Wyatt has a refined quality in her work that makes the audience feel what she’s feeling and see what she’s seeing every second she is onstage.

The evening concludes with Batucada Fantastica, a piece choreographed by Vincent Nebrada on the company in 1982.  Despite the fact that this piece is 27 years old, the work is still fresh and very much alive.  Although eight solos in any other case would put most people to sleep, the feisty cast keeps all eyes on them with their rolling hips, shimmying, and rhythmic body language.  In the coda the entire company comes together for a final bang.  The pulsating music, bright costumes, confetti, and dancing colorful lights give the feeling of one big carnival onstage.

Eduardo Vilaro is leading Ballet Hispanico in a new and exciting direction that will keep them among the ranks as a contemporary ballet company.  Their eclectic style and stunning dancers coupled with gifted choreographers is what makes this company work so well.  Ballet Hispanico is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the contemporary ballet scene in New York.

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Official Dance Review by
Simone Sobers
Performance:  Ballet Hispanico
Choreography:  Ron De Jesus, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Andrea Miller, Vincente Nebrada
Venue:  The Joyce Theater
Show Date:  December 1, 2009

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