By Walter Rutledge
Ballet Hispanico returns for a third season to Harlem’s Legendary Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th Street, on Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 7:30pm. The company will present two world premieres by Edgar Zendejas, and company Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro and one Apollo premiere by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Tickets start at $28 and are available at the Apollo Theater Box Office, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745- 3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com
The Apollo performance echoes the bold new direction of Ballet Hispanico, which is emphasizing the works of Latin choreographers from the Western Hemisphere. This shift celebrates the culture of Latinos (and Latinas) from the Caribbean, Central and South American, veering away from the traditional Spanish/European themes and influences. A Bronx native and first generation Cuban-American, Vilaro fuses ballet and modern dance to create a new and original signature contemporary company style, which stays true the both the company mission and his personal esthetic.
Mexican born/Toronto based choreographer Edgar Zendejas’ work entitled Umbral is inspired by the beloved Mexican celebration Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This is Zendejas’ first work for the company and is set to original music by electroacoustic composer Owen Belton. In HOGAR Eduardo Vilaro explores themes of family, home, and immigration. Lev Zhurbin and his string ensemble will perform HOGAR’s original score live at the Apollo performance. Sombrerismo by Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is described as an “athletic tour de force”. Originally commissioned by New York City Center for the 10th anniversary of its Fall for Dance Festival the work is designed for six male dancers.
The company will also offer two Performances for Young People shows at 10am and 11:30am on Friday, November 22. The Performances for Young People are engaging 50-minute productions that lead students on a guided exploration of Latin American and Caribbean dance forms and music. The performances will be narrated and followed by a Q&A with the Ballet Hispanico dancers.
In addition to Zendejas’ Umbral, the company will offer Quinceañera, a contemporary work that commemorates a 15-year-old girl’s passage to womanhood; and Tango Vitrola, set to 1920s milonga recordings. The performance will also feature the participation of BHdos, Ballet Hispanico’s second company for young pre-professional dancers. Tickets are $8 and are available by contacting Siomara Bridges at (212) 362-6710 x17 or firstname.lastname@example.org.