( ENSPIRE Entertainment ) Ballet Hispánico’s B Unidos Facebook Watch Party Series Celebrates 50th Anniversary Archival Performance Treasures Take Center Stage
ENSPIRE Contributor: Octavia Johnson
Ballet Hispánico, the nation’s renowned Latinx dance organization recognized this year as one of America’s Cultural Treasures, kicked off 2021 with a glimpse into the company’s past. The 50th Anniversary Celebration continued with a series of entertaining repertory pieces, inviting audiences to look back at vibrant performances from the 80s and 90s. The performance was followed by a live Q&A session with Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Hispánico Eduardo Vilaro, choreographers and company and alumni dancers. The piece featured Vilaro during his years as a dancer with the company.
Feb. 10, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
Café America by George Faison, Tony Award winner for The Wiz, followed by a conversation with the choreographer himself and the trio of three dancers, Jose Costas, Pedro Ruiz, and Eduardo Vilaro. Café America is a bittersweet envisioning of the “American Dream.” Three immigrants make their way to a new life dawned in brilliant-colored suits with a sense of determination evoked by Faison’s expansive, jazzy choreography.
“Best of all were the performances of Jose Costas as the new immigrant and Pedro Ruiz and Eduardo Vilaro as his friends. Mr. Faison’s tight-sprung, lyrical dance flowed authoritatively through their bodies. And each man established a personality — Mr. Costas a wiry, quick learner; Mr. Ruiz so full of delight in his surroundings that his face was transfigured with radiance, and Mr. Vilaro a wryly savvy survivor with a sense of humor and the look of being the most adaptable of the three,” said Jennifer Dunning from The New York Times.
#BUnidos began as a daily video series to combat the loss of performances and community programming due to COVID-19. As social distancing continues, they provide content through social media platforms as a way to instill a sense of community within the BH familia and offer ways to explore dance and Latino cultures online. For them, social distancing does not mean emotional distancing.
“As a community of dancers, artists, and human beings, we are all in this together. We will persevere through this challenging time, and we hope that this programming provides a coping outlet, for you, for our followers and the community overall,” said Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director and CEO of Ballet Hispánico. “Now more than ever, it is important to band together in support of the arts. The personal and professional challenges that we have already endured and will continue to face over the next few weeks or months are significant. What we can take from this time of cancellations, uncertainty and social distancing is a chance to use our creativity to connect with the community on a new level. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Ballet Hispánico was founded upon and has always believed in the importance of reaching and servicing our community through dance and culture. As this pandemic occurs during our 50th Anniversary, it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come, get back to our roots by reaching out to the community near and far, and look forward to what is ahead.”
Ballet Hispánico Watch Party Series, available at atballethispanico.org, including YouTube and Facebook.