Saturday, September 15, 2018

A taste of Ballet Hispánico at 92Y Harkness

Choreographer Bennyroyce Royon is developing
a new work for famed Ballet Hispanico.
(photo: Kuo-Heng Huang)

92Y Harkness Dance Center's Fridays@Noon series regularly offers audiences up-close-and-personal views of dance. Yesterday, New York's Ballet Hispánico delivered a presentation so masterful and  charged that it was a wonder the relatively small space could contain its energy.

Billed as a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and an intersection between Asian and Latinx cultures, the Pino-Latino program gave a just a taste of what Eduardo Vilaro's troupe can do. The afternoon opened with Sombrerisimo (2014), Colombian-Belgian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's male sextet with Magritte-inspired bowlers. It is filled with intense and slippery entanglements between and among men, acrobatic flourishes and dashes of salsa, flamenco and Fosse. Filipino-American dancemaker Bennyroyce Royon previewed a work in development, Homebound/Alaala. With its novel use of visual symbolism--primarily, numerous brown cardboard boxes--and the dancers' deeply expressive performances, this ensemble reflects on caring, longing, suffering, mourning, collaboration and community resilience, speaking to what and how we share as human beings.

Following these performances, John-Mario Sevilla, Harkness's director, engaged Vilaro, Royon and two dancers (Raúl Contreras and Gabrielle Sprauve) in a conversation that often returned to the value of the arts for the health of society. When evoking difficult histories (in this case, the ravages of colonialism), the arts can also strengthen cultural identity and help dissolve artificial and destructive barriers between people.

Hurry, hurry, hurry if you want tickets to catch this beautiful company  on either October 12 or October 13 at New York City Center's Fall for Dance Festival. Click for information here.

For information on upcoming Fridays@Noon at 92Y Harkness Dance Center, click here.

1395 Lexington Avenue (91st-92nd Streets), Manhattan

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