If you love dancing and Latin rhythms, you’re in for a treat this weekend. Viva el Arte de Santa Bárbara!, a program presenting free music and dance from important traditions to Santa Barbara County, hosts the incredible Ballet Hispanico, New York’s premier Latino dance ensemble. The ensemble will kick off the new year with a week-long residence, made possible by the generosity of Jody and John Arnold.
Ballet Hispanico is a 12-member international company led by artistic director Eduardo Vilaro with members that hail from the U.S., Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela and Italy. Through their curriculum of classes on ballet, modern and Spanish dance, as well as their national programs, Ballet Hispanico beautifully reflects and preserves the Hispanic culture in the United States in the best possible way. Their performances include elements from the Latino diaspora, combining them with modern dance and the mechanics and grace of ballet.
“Dance…makes you a better human being…It is a language that really brings people together,” says Vilaro.
They will perform in three free family shows:
- Friday, January 11, 7 p.m., Isla Vista School, 6875 El Colegio Road
- Saturday, January 12, 7:30 p.m., Guadalupe City Hall, 918 Obispo Street
- Sunday, January 13, 7 p.m., Santa Barbara Jr. High’s Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota Street
They also have an exciting new program! It comprises different parts, each boasting stunning choreography displaying a different aspect of Latino culture. The first, Nube Blanco, comes from Annabelle Lopez Ochoa‘s childhood memories of the songs of Maria Dolores Pradera. In Club Havana, choreographer Pedro Ruiz captures his audience with the catchy rhythms of the Conga, Rumba, Mambo and Cha Cha that will keep your toes tapping. Last but not least, Tito on Timbales celebrates world-renowned percussionist Tito Puente, where choreographer William Whitener conveys the complexity and pure beauty of social dance.
In addition to the shows, the company will host five free Latin Social Dance classes:
- Thursday, January 10, 7–8:30 p.m. – La Cumbre Jr. High, 2255 Modoc Road
- Saturday, January 12, noon–1 p.m. – Abel Maldonado Youth Center, 600 S. McClelland Street, Santa Maria
- Saturday, January 12, noon–1 p.m. and 1:15–2:15 p.m. – El Padrecito’s Dance Studio, 950A Guadalupe Street
- Sunday, January 13, 1–2 p.m. – Santa Barbara Jr. High, 721 E. Cota Street
Come experience a piece of Latino culture and see this amazing dance company before they leave!
For more information on Ballet Hispanico, you can visit the website.