Ballet Hispanico brings bold retelling of Carmen to Edinburgh for its European premiere
- Kelly Apter
- 23 February 2018
America's premier Latino dance company promises a remarkable contemporary fusion
When Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispanico in New York in 1970, her intention was to 'break through stereotypes'. Almost 50 years later, her humble dance school and community project has grown into a company of international repute. And now, for the first time in its history, Ballet Hispanico is visiting the UK.
Eduardo Vilaro, who was passed the baton of leadership by Ramirez in 2009, explains why her vision was so important. 'The organisation was founded in order to give voice to Latino artists in the United States, at a time in the 1970s when there weren't a lot of possibilities because you were pigeon-holed into a certain kind of dancer,' he says. 'And it continues to do that today, but in a very broad way. We try to capture the essence of the full scope of the Latino diaspora and then share it with the world.'
Vilaro says it's the voice of the choreographers that gives the company its essence, and the two dance-makers whose work we'll see in Edinburgh will be speaking loud and clear through two complementary works.
Inspired by the work of Picasso, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano's CARMEN.maquia is a bold re-telling of Prosper Mérimée's novella/Bizet's opera. While Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Linea Recta, explores the idea of partnership in flamenco. All those who saw Ochoa's work for Scottish Ballet, A Streetcar Named Desire, will be thrilled to see her back.
'Annabelle says to everyone "Eduardo pulls the Latino-ness out of me,"' laughs Vilaro. 'This gorgeous piece really tries to bring flamenco further into the contemporary dance world. And only Ballet Hispanico could do it, because the arch of the back, the hands, the liquidity of the flamenco movement is alive in us – and it just pairs beautifully with CARMEN.maquia.'
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Tue 6–Sat 10 Mar