Contemporary dance meets worldwide Latin culture in the flamboyantly expressive and sensuously virtuosic Ballet Hispanico, presented by Dance St. Louis and Edison Theatre’s OVATIONS! Series April 25-27 at Edison Theatre.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. April 25-26 and at 2 p.m. April 27.
Since its founding in 1970 by artistic director Tina Ramirez, the Manhattan-based Ballet Hispanico has commissioned more than 70 works inspired by Hispanic music and dance from a variety of internationally known choreographers.
The St. Louis program will feature pieces by Ramón Oller, Graciela Daniele and Pedro Ruiz.
Oller, from Barcelona, Spain, tells three stories about love, ranging from the poignant and tender to the comic and capricious, in Bésame (“kiss me”), set to a collage of classic Latin-American popular songs.
Daniele, a Broadway and film choreographer, underscores Cada Noche … Tango with the sinister tango masterpieces of Astor Piazzolla. Set in a dance hall in Argentina during the years between the two world wars, the piece centers on a group of toughs and prostitutes who meet late at night — in dances that escalate to passion and violence.
Ruiz, a Cuban-born dancer and choreographer and member of Ballet Hispanico for 17 years, offers a very different kind of dance hall in the joyous Club Havana. The piece recalls those heady years in the 1940s and ’50s when Cuban immigrants swept popular culture with the intoxicating rhythms of the conga, rumba, mambo and cha cha.
Ramirez was born in Venezuela, the daughter of a Mexican bullfighter and a Puerto Rican educator. In 1967, she created Operation High Hopes, a professional dance-training program for inner-city children, which in turn led to the establishment of Ballet Hispanico in 1970.
Ballet Hispanico tours extensively every year and has appeared at venues ranging from the Zurich Summer Festival to Shea Stadium, where the troupe entranced some 35,000 New York Mets fans in September 1999.
Tickets — $27 for adults; $22 for students, seniors and University faculty and staff; $13 for WUSTL students — are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office, 935-6543; the Dance St. Louis box office, 534-6622; and all MetroTix outlets.
For more information, call 935-6543.