By Walter Rutledge
Ballet Hispanico returns to The Joyce Theater for its annual New York Season beginning April 17 through 29, 2012. The company will offer three different programs; which will include the world premiere of Espiritu Vivo by Ronald K. Brown, set to music by Afro-Peruvian Latin Grammy Award winner Susana Baca. The season will also feature the Joyce premiere of Asuka the first work for the company by Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro, and the New York premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Nube Blanco.
Espiritu Vivo is a collaborative work between Ballet Hispanico and Brooklyn-based choreographer Ronald K. Brown. The work explores the intersection of the African and Latino diasporas in the Caribbean and in Latin America The rich heritage, cultural traditions, and evolving dance forms from these regions create a work that depicts the different stages of grief and the promise of a new day. Susana Baca will perform live during the Program A performances.
The music of Celia Cruz, renowned as the “Queen of Salsa,” is celebrated in Asuka. Cuban immigrant Cruz captured the heart of Latinos the world over and became a symbol of perseverance. With stunning imagery and humor, Eduardo Vilaro explores her dispair as she departs her homeland and the exuberance of newfound success in America.
The company returns to its original roots of flamenco in Nube Blanco (White Cloud). The work is inspired by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s childhood memories of the beautiful songs of Maria Dolores Pradera. Lopez Ochoa theatrically blends the Spanish zapateado technique or footwork that is found in flamenco dance and gives it a contemporary twist.
In addition to the aforementioned work the company will also perform company favorites including a revival of Guajira by Pedro Ruiz and is set to the music of Los Activos, Conjunto Céspedes, and José Maria Vitieir. Two works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa will also be performed. The highly theatrical Mad’moiselle, which explores iconic male/female images and gender role-playing in Latin American cultures, and Locked Up Laura, a sensuous pointe duet by set to the music of Bart Rijnink. The season will also present Tito on Timbales a tribute to the music of master percussionist Tito Puente by choreographer William Whitener.
The performance schedule is:
Program A: Nube Blanco; Espiritu Vivo with Susana Baca; Asuka- Tuesday, April 17 at 7:30pm; Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30pm; Thursday, April 19 at 8pm; Friday, April 20 at 8pm; Saturday, April 21 at 8pm; Sunday, April 22 at 7:30pm
Program B: Guajira; Espiritu Vivo; Mad’moiselle- Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30pm; Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30pm; Thursday, April 26 at 8pm; Friday, April 27 at 8pm; Saturday, April 28 at 8pm
Program C: Tito on Timbales; Locked Up Laura; Espiritu Vivo; Asuka- Saturday, April 21 at 2pm; Sunday, April 22 at 2pm; Saturday, April 28 at 2pm; Sunday, April 29 at 2pm
The matinee performance on Saturday, April 21 will be a Family Matinee. Tickets for children are $10 ($6 with Joyce Junior Membership). Ballet Hispanico’s Family Weekend matinees will take place on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street), NYC. Tickets begin at $10 and are available by phone at 212-242-0800 or joyce.org.
Photos by 1) Paula Lobo 2) Eduardo Patino