Cal Performances, “Ballet Hispanico”
Saturday, November 6, 2021 8 PM
Zellerbach Auditorium Berkeley, CA
Style and Performances
“Ballet Hispanico” made its first performance at Zellerbach Auditorium on Saturday eve, November 6, 2021. Although the company is fifty years old (so reports the director, Eduardo Vilaro), we have not seen them here before. The dancers are beautifully accomplished and are masters of a variety of dance styles.
First on the program was “Arabesque” a work in ‘balletic’ style from 1984, music by Enrique Granados, choreography by Vinc18+1ente Nebrada. Program notes report that the company in its early years was experimenting in style, fusing ballet technique with “flamenco’ dimensions”. Vilaro notes that this work is an opportunity to “honor Nebrada’s legacy and the impact of Ballet Hispanico’s mission to create a platform for Hispanic choreographers”
“Arabesque’ was beautifully performed by ten dancers, six women and four men. The movement for the women is lyrical; their long dress costumes echo the sweeping movement. The men’s steps are more percussive and intense, displaying great skill in jumps, turns and foot work. “Arabesque” is a highly successful fusion of styles.
Next on the program was “Tiburones” (2019); music by Perez Prado, Dizzy Gillespie and the Funky Lowlives. It is appar18+1ently a comment on the filming of the “dance at the gym” in West Side Story, although the program notes choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ocha “addresses the stereotypes placed on Latino culture.” A film director snaps his board seemingly attacking the performers who carry on nevertheless. Since the dancers are excellent (as they were in the original film), his action seems to denigrate the dancers. They prevail and perform.
“18+1” the final work on this program returns to18+1 the “mambo”; the familiar music is by Perez Prado. Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, choreographer is noted for his 19 years’ contributions to the company. The dancers, dressed in all black, flirt with each other and with the audience, at one time seating themselves at the stage’s edge. The dance is a well executed medley of rhythmic steps, performed with several variations by individuals, duets and small groups. It is delightful!
The company dancers are:
Christopher Bloom, Jared Bogart, Simone Cameresi, Antonio Cangiano, Shelby Colona, Amanda del Valle, Paulo Hernandez-Farella, Laura Lopez, Omar Rivéra, Gabrielle Sprauve, Dandara Veiga, Lenai Wilkerson, and Mariano Zamora.
Bravo all! Return to Zellerbach again soon!
Joanna G. Harris