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Ballet Hispanico Opens 2017 Season With All-Female Choreographers

Tuesday Apr 18, 2017

Ballet Hispánico, the nation's premier Latino dance organization, brings its bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance to the Joyce Theater with a program of all-female choreographers from April 18-23.

The engagement features the world premiere of Michelle Manzanales's "Con Brazos Abiertos," an exploration of iconic Mexican symbols that Manzanales was reluctant to embrace as a Mexican-American child growing up in Texas; "Línea Recta" by Belgian-Colombian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, a work pairing the hallmark passion of flamenco dance with highly inventive and intricate partnering; and "3. Catorce Dieciséis" by Tania Pérez-Salas, one of the leading voices of Mexican contemporary dance, which draws inspiration from the number Pi to reflect on the circularity of the human condition.

"Our Joyce program this year showcases the talents of three exciting Latina choreographic voices," said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Hispanico. "Ballet Hispánico's commitment to presenting diverse perspectives has never been stronger or more necessary."

"Con Brazos Abiertos" (2017) by Michelle Manzanales - World Premiere
In her first work for Ballet Hispánico, Michelle Manzanales explores with humility, nostalgia, and humor the iconic Mexican symbols that she was reluctant to embrace as a Mexican-American child growing up in Texas. Intertwining folkloric details with a distinctly contemporary voice in dance, set to music that ranges from Julio Iglesias to rock en español, "Con Brazos Abiertos" is a fun and frank look at a life caught between two cultures. "Con Brazos Abiertos" came to fruition through Ballet Hispánico's Instituto Coreográfico, an innovative choreography lab for Latino dance makers launched in 2010 by Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro.

"Línea Recta" (2016) by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
From one of today's most sought-after choreographers comes a powerful and resonant work that explores an intriguing aspect of flamenco dance: the conspicuous absence of physical contact between dancers. While maintaining the integrity and hallmark passion of the genre, Belgo-Colombian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa imagines an original and explosive movement language premised upon the theme of communication between the sexes and performed to an original guitar composition by Eric Vaarzon Morel."Línea Recta" came to fruition through Ballet Hispánico's Instituto Coreográfico, an innovative choreography lab for Latino dance makers launched in 2010 by Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro. "Línea Recta" was commissioned in part by the Apollo Theater and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

"3. Catorce Dieciséis" (2002) by Tania Pérez-Salas
One of the leading voices of Mexican contemporary dance, Tania Pérez-Salas draws inspiration from the number Pi to reflect on the circularity of the human condition. With intense theatricality and breathtaking imagery set to music by Vivaldi and other Baroque composers, "3. Catorce Dieciséis" is a joyful feast for the senses.


Michelle Manzanels is a choreographer and dance educator originally from Houston, TX who has created works for numerous professional companies, universities, and schools including Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre (Chicago, IL), Houston Metropolitan Dance Company under the direction of Dorrell Martin, the University of Houston, and Rice University among others.

In 2007, Manzanales created "Sugar in the Raw" ("Azucar Cruda") for Luna Negra Dance Theater, which was applauded by the Chicago Sun-Times as "a staggering, beautiful, accomplished new work." In 2010, her homage to Frida Kahlo, "Paloma Querida," was hailed as a "visual masterpiece" by Lucia Mauro of the Chicago Tribune.

Manzanales's choreography has also been presented at the Capital Fringe Festival (Washington, DC), Texas Contemporary Weekend (Houston, TX), Spring to Dance (St. Louis, MO), Fort Worth Dance Festival (Fort Worth, TX), Festival de Danza Córdoba (Veracruz, Mexico), and honored by the American College Dance Festival.

Michelle Manzanales began working with Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro in 2003 as a dancer for his then-company Luna Negra Dance Theater of Chicago, where she later became Rehearsal Director in 2006 and eventually served as Interim Artistic Director 2009-2010. Before being named Director of the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance in December of 2016, she served as the Rehearsal Director and Artistic Associate of the main company of Ballet Hispánico since 2010.

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is a sought-after Belgo-Colombian choreographer who since 2003 has created works for more than 40 companies around the world.

In the fall of 2007 she was selected to participate with the prestigious New York Choreographic Institute. Dance Magazine named her work "Cylindrical Shadows," performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet, as one of the highlights of 2012. Her full-length narrative ballet "A Streetcar Named Desire" has been awarded 'Best Classical Choreography' by the Circle of Critics of the National Dance Award UK, the South Bank Sky Arts Awards for "Best New Production" and has been nominated for an Olivier Award 2012.

Tania Perez-Salas was born in Mexico City. She obtained her first significant recognition in 1993 when she received the award for best female performer in the National Dance Competition of Mexico. Since then, she has won national and international recognition as both a dancer and choreographer, including the National and Continental Prizes for Choreography in Mexico and the sixth Paris International Dance Competition, among others.

In 1994 Pérez-Salas founded the Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza. The company has been invited to perform her work in some of the most important theaters and festivals in Mexico, the United States, Canada, South America, China, the Middle East and Europe. She has been awarded multiple contemporary dance fellowships, both as a dancer and as a choreographer from the Mexican National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA). She has also obtained recognition and support from several other cultural institutions in Mexico, as well as support from private enterprises.

Pérez-Salas has lectured in Mexico and abroad, served as a juror for prestigious arts awards in Mexico, and with her company represented Mexico in the CINARS 2002 conference in Montreal and at Gateway to the Americas conferences in Mexico City, in 2003 and 2004. Since 2008, Perez-Salas has been the host and a member of the creative team for "Juego de Cuerpos" ("Body Games"), a television series featuring dance that is airing for its third season, now under the title "Pasión en Movimiento" ("Movement in Passion") on Mexico's Channel 22.

Ballet Hispanico's program of all-female choreographers will be held from April 18-23 at the Joyce Theater, 175 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011. Tickets start at $10. For information or tickets, call 212-257-8447 or visit Joyce.org


For more information, visit www.ballethispanico.org.

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