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Ballet Hispanico Opens Juniata Artist Series

(Posted September 24, 2001)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Blending Latino dance styles as diverse as flamenco and salsa with ballet, jazz and modern dance, Ballet Hispanico will bring an internationally flavored evening of dance to Juniata College at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 29 at Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall on the Juniata campus.

Tickets for the performance are $15. Senior citizens and children age 18 and under pay $8. For ticket information, please call (814) 641-3333.

Ballet Hispanico has a repertoire of more than 70 new works created by choreographers such as Ramon Oller, Alberto Alonso, Pedro Ruiz and Ann Reinking. The dancers mix ballet and jazz styles with ethnic dance forms into pieces that emphasize Hispanic-American culture.

A typical dance program by the ensemble might showcase salsa, Afro-Cuban, Broadway jazz and gymnastics into a single performance. Much of Ballet Hispanico's choreography is characterized by inventive, daredevil partnering.

Ballet Hispanico also operates a year-round school of dance in New York City. The company also has an extensive educational outreach program, both in New York City and during the company's tour dates. Ballet Hispanico's educational program is called "Primero Pasos (First Steps)" Locally, the dance company will visit four Huntingdon County schools and will teach a class at Juniata College during their stay in Huntingdon.

Founded in 1970 by artistic director Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico has toured across the United States and internationally. Some of the company's works include "Bury Me Standing," based on Gypsy melodies; "Cafe America," with music by Ruben Blades; and "Somethin' from Nothin," with music by Eddie Palmieri.

"There are 22 nations that speak Spanish," said Ms. Ramirez in the New York Times. "The have many similarities and many differences. I represent as many as I can, but I also commission works from non-Hispanics who understand our culture."

Chicago Tribune dance writer Richard Christiansen described the ensemble: "Ballet Hispanico dancers don't just dance; they sing, talk, clap hands, snap fingers and beat out rhythms on their bodies."

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.