A Celebration of Dance by Ballet Hispánico at New York City Center

Omar Rivéra, Cori Lewis, Leonardo Brito, Amanda del Valle, & Antonio Cangiano in 18+1, Ballet Hispánico. Photo by Benjamin Rivera Photography
Omar Rivéra, Cori Lewis, Leonardo Brito, Amanda del Valle, & Antonio Cangiano in 18+1, Ballet Hispánico. Photo by Benjamin Rivera Photography

NEW YORK – A Celebration of Dance by Ballet Hispánico at New York City Center

This week, New York City Center was the epicenter of cultural vibrancy with a spectacular presentation of dance by Ballet Hispánico. The evening featured three standout pieces: Eduardo Vilaro’s Buscando a Juan (looking for Juan), Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s House of  Mad’moiselle, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s 18+1. Each work weaved unique narratives through exquisite choreography, sophisticated lighting and sound, and passionate performances by extraordinary dancers.

Buscando a Juan

Inspired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Juan de Pareja: Afro-Hispanic Painter exhibition, Eduardo Vilaro’s Buscando a Juan pursued an enigmatic, reflective, and sensual approach to exploring themes of one’s roots and identity. Vilaro’s choreography was poignant and profoundly moving.


Ballet Hispánico Company Dancers in a scene from Buscando a Juan. Photo by Rosalie O'Connor Photography

Ballet Hispánico Company Dancers in a scene from Buscando a Juan. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor Photography

Dancers elegantly portrayed sanchoco (stew, undercooked meat, or mixed soup), a metaphor for the experiences of “people of color in traditionally white spaces.” One sensed yearning and delight through the dancer’s dynamic, elegant movements. The piece was a beautiful reminder of personal journeys that shape individual and collective identities.

House of Mad’moiselle

House of Mad’moiselle, choreographed by the renowned Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, was mesmerizing. As Ochoa explains, “The word ‘Mad’ in the title does not solely refer to the craziness of the main character but points out the quirky aspects of women.”



Ochoa’s choreography conveyed a multifaceted tapestry of identity and expression delivered with precision, sparkle, and captivating comedy that was well received by the audience.

Omar Rivéra, Cori Lewis, Leonardo Brito, Amanda del Valle, Isabel Robles, Amir J. Baldwin, & Antonio Cangiano in a scene from House of Mad'moiselle. Photo by Benjamin Rivera Photography

Omar Rivéra, Cori Lewis, Leonardo Brito, Amanda del Valle, Isabel Robles, Amir J. Baldwin, & Antonio Cangiano in a scene from House of Mad’moiselle. Photo by Benjamin Rivera Photography

The dancers, dressed in dark costumes against a dark backdrop, wore striking red wigs and whirled bright white fans. They moved with fluidity and strength, seamlessly intertwining contemporary and traditional elements set to the music of Leonard Bernstein’s Maria from West Side Story, Maria Dolores Pradera, Mercedes Sosa, Chavela Vargas, and Henry Torgue. The troupe finished with the dance interpretation of Charles Gounod’s marvelous Ave Maria set to J. S. Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 846, sung by the great tenor José Carreras.

18+1

The narrative of 18+1 by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano reflected a vibrant celebration of the choreographer’s 19 years in dance. The “+1” perhaps symbolized a nod to the journey ahead. The piece encapsulated the essence of creativity and the emotional rollercoaster of bringing art to life. Through the dancers’ movements, Sansano conveyed the vulnerability of each new project—a gentle uncertainty and meticulous care in crafting each motion and the hopeful anticipation of the audience’s reception.

The work exhibited Sansano’s signature electric choreography, which in this piece was infused with subtle humor and aligned perfectly with the playful rhythms of Pérez Prado’s mambo music. The dancers embodied captivating musical pulses with dynamic movements, at times precise and staccato, mimicking the spirit and drive of the mambo, which flowed with a sense of abandon and joy.

Omar Rivéra, Leonardo Brito & Antonio Cangiano in a scene from 18+1. Photo by Benjamin Rivera Photography

Omar Rivéra, Leonardo Brito & Antonio Cangiano in a scene from 18+1. Photo by Benjamin Rivera Photography




Choreographic techniques tailored tempos with accelerations and decelerations, mimicking the highs and lows of a creative career. Formations, blocking, and group dynamics reflected the collaborative nature of artistic endeavors. Solos or duets underscored personal milestones and moments of introspection. Throughout 18+1, there was a palpable sense of reminiscence and a hopeful gaze toward the future, with choreography connecting past experiences and aspirations.

18+1 was a dance piece and a time capsule of Sansano’s career, a tribute to any artist’s journey. It also celebrated the mambo—a dance inviting everyone to join in its rhythm and partake in the joy it embodies. 18+1 looks back over the shoulder with a smile, dances in the present with a whole heart, and leaps into the future with an open spirit.

Exquisite Lighting, Music Accompaniment, and Sonic Soundscapes

Tonight’s celebration of dance and culture was adorned by exquisite lighting and costuming, music accompaniment, and sonic soundscapes ranging from soulful strains and plaintive church bells to energetic percussion. These amplified the emotional import of the dances. The lighting design skillfully highlighted the dancers’ dynamic expressions and movements, creating enchanting, thought-provoking visual scenes.

Rich Tapestry

Tonight’s New York City Center presentation showcased a rich tapestry of dance and highlighted its profound storytelling power. Through innovative choreography, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Eduardo Vilaro, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano left an indelible psychic mark on all who attended. This event celebrated culture, heritage, and the unending possibilities of dance as a form of expression and association.

Eduardo Vilaro and the company in a rehearsal scene from Buscando a Juan. Photo by Paula Lobo

Eduardo Vilaro and the company in a rehearsal scene from Buscando a Juan. Photo by Paula Lobo

Magical Warmth

Ballet Hispánico created an enchanting spectacle that lingered in the hearts and minds of audience members as they basked in the reminiscence of effervescent stirring dance after the final curtain. Dance, music, sets, lighting, and costumes effectively projected an overall experience through layers of motion, mood, and ambiance. Lights cast shadows while bathing the dancers in magical warmth as moments of genuine artistry elevated the performances to cinematic and ethereal heights.

Finally, the cumulative effect of the evening—a symphony of movement, music, and visual art—left many with a sense of connectedness and revitalization.

Everyone needs to experience Ballet Hispánico. Bravo!

Runtime: 175 minutes with two intermissions

A Celebration of Dance by Ballet Hispánico at New York City Center

Artistic

Buscando a Juan

Choreography by Eduardo Vilaro
Costume design by Eduardo Vilaro
Associate Costume Design by Dianela Gil
Music by Osvaldo Golijov
Set and Lighting Design by Christopher Ash

House of Mad’moiselle

Choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Drag Dramaturgy and Drag Wardrobe by Nicolas Villeneuve
Soundscape by Bart Riginink
Costume Conception by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Costume Development and Construction by Diana Ruettiger
Lighting Design by Christopher Ash

18+1

Choreography by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano
Music by Pérez Prado
Costume Design by Ghabriello Fernando
Lighting Design by Christopher Ash

New York City Center

Click HERE for tickets
For other New York City Center productions, call 212.581.1212 or email Info@NYCityCenter.org

Ballet Hispanico

167 West 89th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 362-6710
info@ballethispanico.org

New York City Center

131 W 55th St (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
New York, NY 10019



Readers may also enjoy reading White Wave Dance Festival, 49 Years of Preserving Native American Culture Kaatsbaan Ballet Intensive, Wine Tasting Fundraiser,  Smashworks Social,  Thunderbird Dancers, and the Fall for Dance Festival.

A Celebration of Dance by Ballet Hispánico at New York City Center

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