Ballet Hispánico: “Club Havana,” “Papagayos” & “Sor Juana”

Ballet Hispánico returns to New York City Center with four performances this summer, featuring two exciting world premieres of “Sor Juana” and “Papagayos” (by Puerto Rican choreographer Omar Román De Jesús), a masterful duet from “New Sleep,” and the return of the much loved “Club Havana” (by Cuban choreographer Pedro Ruiz). Performances are scheduled for June 1-3, 2023. See more information below from New York Latin Culture.

[. . .] Club Havana

“Club Havana,” a signature Ballet Hispánico work by Cuban choreographer Pedro Ruiz, rounds out the program. It’s Pedro’s homage to his homeland. He also trained in Venezuela. 🇨🇺 🇻🇪

This piece brings the social dance roots of Latin dance up onto center stage. It is set in a nightclub in Havana, but could just as well be a field, patio or town square in the countryside, somewhere in the Latin world.

Since the beginning of time, people (not only Latins) have gathered together to drum, sing, dance, get a little spirited, and maybe find love. This piece is set once upon a time in a Havana nightclub, but today New York City is one of the best places in the world to dance. @pruizjr0823

[. . .] New York Puerto Rican choreographer Omar Román De Jesús, originally from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, is the Artistic Director of New York dance company Boca Tuya. Omar is a 2022 Princess Grace Award winner. 🇵🇷

“Papagayos” is his first work for Ballet Hispánico. Papagayos are parrots. The parrots of Puerto Rico are the endangered Iguaca. They currently live in the El Yunque rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the American park system, and parts of Arecibo on Puerto Rico’s northern coast.

Omar is a strong up-and-coming choreographer. By recognizing talent and creating opportunities for greatness, Ballet Hispánico is starting to generate its own heat.  @bocatuya

[. . .] Mexican American choreographer Michelle Manzanales is the Director of Ballet Hispánico’s School of Dance. 🇲🇽

Her “Sor Juana” is inspired by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the Mexican nun (1648-1695) who was a brilliant poet and author in Spanish, Latin, and Nahuatl, the Aztec language.

Her genius showed when she was just a teenager. The elite women of what was then New Spain were drawn to her company. For criticizing the character of men, Sor Juana was shut down, forced to work in a poverty that killed her, and then forgotten.

Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz, one of Mexico’s greatest writers, brought Sor Juana back from history. She is now considered one of the first Latina feminists and is an inspiration for contemporary conversations about what happened then, and what is happening today. 

We have a lot to talk about so Sor Juana is going to live forever in the hearts of the people. @mmanzanales [. . .]

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[Photos above by Rachel Neville.]

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