Ballet Hispanico celebrates multiple Latin cultures


Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro Returns to Chicago March 22–24


CHICAGO, IL —The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago concludes its 2011–12 season with the celebrated Ballet Hispanico, helmed by Eduardo Vilaro, Columbia College Chicago alumnus, former Dance Center artist-in-residence and founder and former artistic director of Chicago’s Luna Negra Dance Theater. Performances are March 22–24 at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The company also concludes the 2011–12 season of The Dance Center’s FamilyDance Matinee series, featuring a free workshop with the artists and a family-oriented performance March 24.

The program features the Chicago premiere of African-American choreographer Ronald K. Brown’s Espiritu Vivo, commissioned by Ballet Hispanico, which examines the intersection of the African and Latino diasporas in the Caribbean and Latin America, set to a suite of four songs performed by Peruvian singer Susana Baca.

Also new to Chicago, Vilaro’s most recent work, Asuka, honors salsa legend Celia Cruz, “the voice of many immigrants,” according to Vilaro. “I want to expand awareness of the culture and celebrate the new and the past. Asuka is not about the life of Celia Cruz; it is about her music and how she captured the emotions and spirit of a culture.”

Also on the program are Naci, choreographer Andrea Miller’s investigation of the Moorish influences on Sephardic Jewish culture of Spain, and Locked Up Laura, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s exploration of the human struggle to maintain authenticity in the face of routine.

Residency Activities

 Vilaro will participate in Dance & Revolution, A Cafe Society Event co-presented by The Dance Center and Critical Encounters, moderated by Critical Encounters Fellow Amy Mooney, Monday, March 19, 4–6 p.m. at A+D Gallery, 619 S. Wabash. This event, part of a series of conversations on important social issues relating to this year’s Critical Encounters focus on Rights, Radicals & Revolutions, is free and open to the public.

There will be a post-performance conversation with the artists Thursday, March 22, and Vilaro will give a pre-performance talk at 7 p.m. before the Friday, March 23 performance, both free and open to ticket holders. Ballet Hispanico Rehearsal Director Michelle Manzanales will lead the final DanceMasters class of the season Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd. DanceMasters is a series of community master classes presented by The Dance Center’s division of Community Outreach and Education (COE), in partnership with the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Classes are for dancers at the intermediate level or higher.

Ballet Hispanico

Founded in 1970, Ballet Hispanico explores, preserves and celebrates Latino cultures through dance. The mission unfolds in the work of the professional Company, the School of Dance and the Education & Outreach programs. Together, these divisions celebrate the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic Diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities.


The Dance Center’s presentation of Ballet Hispanico is funded, in part, by the Sara Lee Foundation and the Performing Arts Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council, General Mills Foundation and Land O’ Lakes Foundation. Additional support is provided by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust.

The Dance Center

The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, named “Chicago’s Best Dance Theatre” by Chicago magazine and “Best Dance Venue” by the Chicago Reader, is the city’s leading presenter of contemporary dance, showcasing artists of regional, national and international significance. Programs of The Dance Center are supported, in part, by the Alphawood Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Sara Lee Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The Irving Harris Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts and Arts Midwest. Additional funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council. Special thanks to Athletico, the Official Provider of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy for The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, and the Friends of The Dance Center.

Ticket Information

Ballet Hispanico performs Thursday–Saturday, March 22–24 at 8 p.m. at The Dance Center, 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Single tickets are $26–30; subscribers who order tickets to three or more performances from the 2011–12 season save 20%. The DanceMasters class with Michelle Manzanales Tuesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Lou Conte Dance Studio at the Hubbard Street Dance Center, 1147 W. Jackson Blvd., is $15, $10 for students; space is limited. The FamilyDance Matinee Saturday, March 24 at 3 p.m., preceded by the workshop with Ballet Hispanico artists at 2:15 p.m., is free for children younger than 12, $15 for adults. All programming is subject to change. The theatre is accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information, call 312-369-8330 or visit