Ballet Hispánico at the Joyce

Ballet Hispánico. April 11th at the Joyce Theater.

Tonight’s program featured two of my all-time favorite choreographies.

The bold and visually stunning “Línea Recta” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. During the curtain chat, the discussion focused on the contrast between Ballet Hispánico’s strength in partnering and the lack of contact in Flamenco (based on which the piece was created). I thought it was fascinating that Annabelle was able to create the connection between her dancers with limited physical touch.

The powerful story of “Con Brazos Abiertos” by Michelle Manzanales. Ive seen the piece four times, and am still touched by its narrative and feel empowered by its ending. Every single time.

Both of the new works required additional interpretation at the post-curtain chat, for me to appreciate their significance.

“Waiting for Pepe” had several unusual and beautiful choreographic moments. However, without knowing the play “The House of Bernarda Alba” on which the dance is derived, I had trouble following the story arc (e.g., Why is there a chicken lit in neon lights above the stage???), until it was explained by the choreographer Carlos Pons Guerra afterwards.

Similarly, “Espíritus Gemelos” told the story of two Spanish artists, Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí. I didn’t grasp the significance of their relationship, until after the curtain chat.

Tulsa Ballet

Tulsa Ballet at the Joyce Theater on Wednesday.

What an amazing group of dancers!!! Strong. Powerful. Musical.

I enjoyed learning, at the curtain chat, about the extensive effort the artistic director, Marcello Angelini, put into searching for and recruiting talented dancers. Many candidates don’t know what the company or the city has to offer, but those who come absolutely love dance…. and receive a good contract (40 weeks with benefits) and get to dance a lot.

In fact, more than just dancing a lot, they have also new work created on them often. As part of the “Studio K” that will soon be expanded, the company commissions (and is committed to creating) 4 to 5 new works per year, while giving the choreographers significant resources and artistic freedom.

As a result, tonight’s program featured an incredibly talented group of dancers (from 11 nationalities) and three recent works (by two female and one Asian choreographers).

My favorite goes to the world premier of “Glass Figures” by Ma Cong. I especially like the change of scenario into the night, when the stars came out (i.e., yellow lights hanging off the ceiling) and the night sky turned dark blue. Love the dynamics and movements that accompanied the scenes.

“Shibuya Blues” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and “Medel (Among)” by Helen Pickett both started out strong, but I personally felt the pieces fizzled out in the second half. However, both were filled with technical elements with jumps, turns, and lifts beautifully executed by the dancers.

Ballet Hispánico

Girl Power and Strong Women! A stunning performance tonight by Ballet Hispánico featuring all female choreographers at the Joyce Theater.

Love the sensual yet explosive fusion of flamenco and ballet in “Línea Recta” by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Love the storytelling in “Con Brazos Abiertos” by a lead female character who has depths, is expressive and thoughtful, and who evolves and grows with the story. Thank you for the choreography, Michelle Manzanales. Wow! Just wow!

Plus, an educational post-show curtain chat.

Plus, taking Pinguino to his first show at the Joyce. Hello, Penguin Ballerina!