Ballet Hispanico to collaborate with Apollo Theater, host performances for youth

Lapacazo Sandoval | 11/19/2015, 4:31 p.m.
A few years ago, I rang up the PR team of Ballet Hispanico and asked to watch a rehearsal, and ...
Ballet Hispanico Contributed

A few years ago, I rang up the PR team of Ballet Hispanico and asked to watch a rehearsal, and they said yes. I love dance but never felt comfortable enough to really dig in and write about it. They let me watch several rehearsals; it was bliss. All that I really know about dance is that it makes me happy and that Ballet Hispanico has always brought me joy.

Although the Spanish language may connect the speakers, the nuances of our culture are markedly different. Now celebrating 45 years of repertory, Ballet Hispanico has never missed a step in its reflection of the ever-changing diversity that comprises Latino cultures.

The world premiere of Brazilian native Fernando Melo’s “If Walls Could Speak” is so popular that new shows have been added for Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 at the Apollo.

“If Walls Could Speak” is choreographed to a live medley of Brazilian percussive and acoustic sounds, and explores Melo’s homeland—a land of soccer, samba and sensuality but also inequality and disorder—with abstract and poetic subtlety.

The evening-length work is co-commissioned by the Apollo Theater and the performances are sponsored by Univision Communications and lead by Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico Eduardo Vilaro. It’s exciting that the dynamic dance company has created a new holiday tradition. The premiere at the Apollo will mark the first time Melo’s work is presented in New York.

It’s also family time in Harlem: Friday, Nov. 20, two Ballet Hispanico “Performances for Young People/Apollo School Day Live” will be presented. These shows are a mixed repertory, celebrating Latin American dance and culture, and will be offered to schoolchildren on the morning of Friday, Nov. 20. This show is presented through the education programs of Ballet Hispanico and the Apollo Theater.

Adding more fun to the holiday season, the Apollo Theater and Ballet Hispanico will also present a specially priced family matinee, “Saturday en Familia,” Saturday, Nov. 21 (a 90-minute performance at 2 p.m.), which is described as “a fun-filled journey through Latin American dance and culture.”

“I’m delighted to be partnering with the Apollo Theater to introduce New York audiences to the work of Fernando Melo, a stunningly gifted choreographic voice whose work will be an inspiring look at contemporary Brazil,” said Vilaro. “The decision to enhance our season with added performances and low-cost offerings for the whole family speaks to our commitment to the cultural mecca that is the Apollo and the larger Harlem community.”

“We are thrilled to have Ballet Hispanico back at the Apollo this year and to extend the relationship into even more of a partnership,” said Mikki Shepard, Apollo executive producer. “African-American and Latin-American culture have long been paired in innovative ways at the Apollo, fostering new experimentation and stylistic mixing. And though music has always been at the core of the Apollo’s mission, dance has also always been a vibrant part of the theater’s rich legacy. We continue to celebrate that legacy through collaborations with esteemed companies such as Ballet Hispanico.”

Tickets are $28 to $58 for evening performances and $15 for “Saturday en Familia.” Tickets are available online now at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 or in person at the Apollo Theater box office at 253 W. 125th St. For more information, visit www.ballethispanico.org.