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Ballet Hispanico: Hello and goodbye

May 31, 2009 | 11:30 am

Tina2 When the New York-based Ballet Hispanico takes to the stage of the Ahmanson Theatre June 5-7, the critically acclaimed troupe will be making its Music Center debut. But it also promises to be a bittersweet farewell: Its dynamic artistic director, Tina Ramirez, who founded the company in 1970, will step down at the end of June; her successor, former Ballet Hispanico dancer Eduardo Vilaro, begins his reign in August.

“Eduardo had a natural ability and I made him my assistant,” said Ramirez, who is still spry in her ninth decade. “As a dancer, he was very dramatic. But for now, I'm looking forward to performing in Los Angeles.”

You can read more about Ramirez and Ballet Hispanico here, in my Sunday Arts & Books story.

As for the 13 dancers in her troupe, Ramirez says she likes those “who can talk with their bodies.”
“But also the choreographer has to give them something to say,” she adds.


Described by the New York Times as “a group of sleek young racehorse dancers with heart,” the performers will present a quartet of sexy numbers. Included is the company's signature work, “Club Havana,” choreographed by erstwhile company member Pedro Ruiz, as well as the West Coast premiere of Carlos Sierra Lopez's “Destino Incierto.”

“It's a revisionist Carmen,” says Ramirez, “and a women's lib story. Carmen doesn't die in it -- she makes the decision to leave.”

-- Victoria Looseleaf

Photo: Alexandra Gonzalez and Candice Monét-McCall of Ballet Hispanico. Credit: Eduardo Patino