Ballet Hispánico Café America Watch Party and Conversation with Tony Award-winning choreographer George Faison
February 10, 2021
Ballet Hispánico, the nation’s renowned Latinx dance organization, recognized this year as one of America’s Cultural Treasures, kicks off 2021 with a glimpse into the company’s past. The 50th Anniversary Celebration continues its series of entertaining archival repertory pieces, inviting audiences to look back at vibrant performances from the 80s and 90s with Café America on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, available at ballethispanico.org, YouTube, Facebook. Enjoy a Company performance from the comfort of your own home, followed by live Q&A sessions with Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Hispánico Eduardo Vilaro, Tony Award-Winning choreographer George Faison, and company and alumni dancers. The piece features Mr. Vilaro himself, during his years as a dancer with the Company.
Café America by George Faison (Tony Award winner forThe Wiz), followed by a conversation with the choreographer himself and the trio of three dancers, Jose Costas, Pedro Ruiz, and Eduardo Vilaro. Café America is a bittersweet envisioning of the “American Dream.” Three immigrants make their way to a new life dawned in brilliant-colored suits with a sense of determination evoked by Faison’s expansive, jazzy choreography. Choreography by George Faison; Music by Ruben Blades and Julio Iglesias; Set Design by Pepon Osorio; Costume Design by Bernard Johnson; Lighting Design by Tim Hunter; Dancers: Jose Costas, Pedro Ruiz, Eduardo Vilaro, and Amir Levy
“An evening of good old-fashioned entertainment.” – The New York Times
“Best of all were the performances of Jose Costas as the new immigrant and Pedro Ruiz and Eduardo Vilaro as his friends. Mr. Faison’s tight-sprung, lyrical dance flowed authoritatively through their bodies. And each man established a personality — Mr. Costas a wiry, quick learner; Mr. Ruiz so full of delight in his surroundings that his face was transfigured with radiance, and Mr. Vilaro a wryly savvy survivor with a sense of humor and the look of being the most adaptable of the three,” said Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times.
#BUnidos began as a daily video series to combat the loss of performances and community programming due to COVID-19. As social distancing continues, we continue to provide content through our social media platforms as a way to instill a sense of community within our BH familia and offer ways to explore dance and Latino cultures online. #BUnidos! Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing.
“As a community of dancers, artists, and human beings, we are all in this together. We will persevere through this challenging time, and we hope that this programming provides a coping outlet, for you, for our followers and the community overall,” said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director & CEO of Ballet Hispánico. “Now more than ever, it is important to band together in support of the arts. The personal and professional challenges that we have already endured and will continue to face over the next few weeks or months are significant. What we can take from this time of cancellations, uncertainty and social distancing is a chance to use our creativity to connect with the community on a new level. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Ballet Hispánico was founded upon and has always believed in the importance of reaching and servicing our community through dance and culture. As this pandemic occurs during our 50th Anniversary, it provides us with an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come, get back to our roots by reaching out to community near and far, and look forward to what is ahead.”
About Ballet Hispánico
Ballet Hispánico is the nation’s renowned Latino dance organization and one of America’s Cultural Treasures. Ballet Hispánico brings communities together to celebrate and explore Latino cultures through innovative dance performances, transformative dance training, and enduring community engagement experiences. Founded in 1970 by National Medal of Arts recipient, Tina Ramírez, the organization emerged during the post-civil rights movement on New York’s Upper West Side, providing a safe haven for primarily Black and Brown Latinx youth seeking artistic sanctuary during New York City’s plight in the 1970s. The need for place, both culturally and artistically, led families to find Ballet Hispánico. The focus on dance as a means to develop working artists, combined with the training, authenticity of voice, and power of representation, fueled the organization’s roots and trajectory. With its strong emphasis on dance, achievement, and public presence, the organization has flourished in its three main programs: its Company, School of Dance, and Community Arts Partnerships. The organization serves as a platform for historically omitted and overlooked artists providing them with increased capacity, voice, and affirmation. Over the past five decades, by leading with Latinx culture at the forefront of performance, education, and advocacy, Ballet Hispánico’s mission is a catalyst of change and possibility for communities throughout our nation.