Review: Ballet Hispanico

As you know, Latin music has always been a huge part of my life; it’s my standby, my comfort, and my internal rhythm.

Now, dance is an integral part of Latin music and, of course, Latin culture. In fact, I can’t even imagine Latin music without dance; it’d be like imagining summer without sun, or winter without cold, dry air.

Indeed, I grew up with mambo, salsa, and the silky guaguanco; I still remember my grandmother’s regal dancing. Hence, Ballet Hispanico was, for me, a revisiting of my past; it was my grandmother, my family, every taste, smell, and beat of my childhood. And yet, it was more – it was a re-imagining, a new, exciting way of entering that vivid and tumultuous world.

Ballet Hispanico is, in short, a riveting fusion performance of Latin dance forms; it is daring, innovative, and endlessly charming. Here, I’ll review two selections from their fascinating repertory.

First up is Club Havana, a beguiling Cuban-inspired dance. As the men lept, women craned, and deep lights flashed, I felt myself transported back to Cuba la bella, or la Habana vieja, or, in short, my grandmother’s beloved country. Ultimately, I was carried into a dream – and yet it was not simply a dream of the forlorn past, but of the sparkling, imagined, and fought-for future. Indeed, Club Havana is a work of memory, place, and boundless hope.

Second, we have Destino Incierto (translation: Uncertain Future), a fiery tour de force of strength and rhythm. Again and again, I was stunned by the vast flexibility of the body; I was taken aback by how deftly, how powerfully arms and legs can convey a search for passion, for harmony and happiness.

In closing, I urge you – yes, urge! – to check out Ballet Hispanico; they will be returning to New York City in April. I will surely be seeing them again (and again; this was actually my third time). Yes – they’re that good. Click here for more details.

Do you love dance? Have any recommendations? Let me know!

Oh, and by the way – stay safe out there in the snow!