The Legacy of the Repertory – Innovative, Diverse, Powerful

A tribute to Ballet Hispánico’s 50 years of repertory through the lens of the Company’s work on stage.

Deer Dance (1974) by Jose Coronado and 1974Ballet Hispánico

The First 10 Years: 1970-1980
The first decade of BH ushered a mix of dances that spoke to Latin American folk forms and its Spanish legacies. From Afro-Puerto Rican dances like Patchoili, a bomba, styled dance, to the Mexican Deer Dance, of the Mayo and Yaqui people of Sonora.

Tres Cantos by Talley Beatty and 1975Ballet Hispánico

Diversity from the Beginning

The manifestation of what the Company became reflected a generation of Black and Latinx American choreographers that were interested in the fusion of varied styles of dance and cultural narratives.

Deer dance by Jose Coronado and 1974Ballet Hispánico

Danse Creole (1976) by Geoffrey Holder and 1976Ballet Hispánico

Echoes of Spain by Louis Johnson and 1973Ballet Hispánico

Loranzo Maldonado and Sandra Rivera in Echoes of SpainBallet Hispánico

Well-Rounded Dancers 

The early dancers were trained in both classical and contemporary styles with a large dose of Spanish and folkloric dance within the repertory. This diverse movement language required these dancers to be chameleons.

Group Portrait of a LadyBallet Hispánico

The Second Decade:1980-1990
Founder, Tina Ramirez’s idea for the Company was to model it similar to a Theater Repertory Company, with a roster of diverse choreographers trending on the dance scene. The spirit to seek storytellers who could work with Latin music and history led to some of Ballet Hispánico’s most beloved works.

Batucada Fantástica by Vicente Nebrada and 1983Ballet Hispánico

Batucada Fantástica

This work showcased the incredible athleticism and artistry of the dancers and how far the Company had come since its folkloric-styled beginnings. The weighted, strong Afro-Latino torso articulations fused with classical choreographic structure and the execution of its divertissement, perfectly embodied the style of the Company. 

Tito on Timbales by William Whitner and 1984Ballet Hispánico

Tito on Timbales

The work utilizes highly stylized ballroom patterns, inflections of Afro-Caribbean folk, and contemporary dance movement, highlighting the powerful polyrhythmic nature of the Latin music of Tito Puente.

Recuerdo De Campo Amor (1985) by Talley BeattyBallet Hispánico

Recuerdo de Campo Amor

The ballet celebrated the Latin dance halls and nightclubs of the sixties and seventies in New York City. Talley Beatty created a highly athletic and technically layered work that took the ensemble through their paces with turns, jumps and lifts, all fused with salsa and mambo steps. The work is performed in heels, even by the men, a nod to the Spanish influence and the styles of the times.

Cada Noche Tango by Graciela Daniele and 1988Ballet Hispánico

Cada Noche Tango
A smoldering work centered on the lives of working-class men and women of Buenos Aires, as they come together each night at a bordello. The ballet portrays a labyrinth world that is brutal, erotic and deadly.

Company in Tito en Timbales costumes by Eduardo PatinoBallet Hispánico

The Third Decade, 1990-2000
A decade of great change and great social trauma in the world. In the fall of 1990, Ballet Hispánico celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a tribute to Ms. Ramirez with a work by Graciela Daniele.

Tina Ramirez with the Company in StagesBallet Hispánico


Stages – an homage to Tina Ramirez. Less biographical and intentionally emotional, the work depicted Ramirez’s life in dance, and achievements as a director. It was a proper celebration for a powerful woman who witnessed her vision come to full fruition.

Good Night Paradise (1994) by Ramon OllerBallet Hispánico

Good Night Paradise

Set with an iron fence surrounding the dancers, the work dealt with powerful images of love, marginalization, and oppression. Oller’s dark emotionally drenched Spanish imagery was the perfect work to continue the dialogue on the diversity of Latinx cultures. The narrative was abstract and the character building was left to the movement language as well as the powerful imagery. Male and female dancers physically partnered with one another. This was the first time in Ballet Hispánico’s history that a work dealt with homosexuality and sexual fluidity. A huge step, as most of the work at that time was focused on cisgender story-telling. It pushed the dancer’s comfort zone and showed nuances of their artistry.

Guajira (1999) by Pedro RuizBallet Hispánico


The work is a light and joyful memory of Cuban country farmers and their community during the sowing, gathering and harvesting of the land. What makes this work, and most of Pedro Ruiz’s work utterly surprising, is his honest depictions of a homeland left behind. It is a full circle experience to watch a work of Ruiz on the dancers of Ballet Hispánico.

Corazon Al-Andaluz by Ramón Oller and 2006Ballet Hispánico

Fourth Decade, 2000 – 2010 The New Millennium, New Beginnings
The works of this decade mainly focused on the iconic, often cliched, representations of Latinx communities.

Nightclub by 2003Ballet Hispánico

Nightclub, conceived by Tina Ramirez, featured acts by three distinct Broadway choreographers, Graciela Daniele, Alexander Magno and Sergio Trujillo. Daniele’s truncated version of Cada Noche Tango was followed by Magno’s Dejame Soñar, culminating with Trujillo’s Hoy Como Ayer. The works, held together by a narrator’s monologue, took the audience through Latin America with dance hall stylized choreography and glitzy stage design elements. Immigration, assimilation, and unrequited love were the overarching themes of the work.

Palladium Nights by Willie Rosario and 2006Ballet Hispánico

Palladium Nights

This was the first full-length night club extravaganza with live accompaniment in the history of Ballet Hispánico. 

Palladium Nights - Natalia AlonsoBallet Hispánico

The beauty of Palladium Nights was in the musical collaboration with Arturo O’Farrill and his Latin Jazz Orchestra. This demonstrated the dancers' abilities to thrive in live accompaniment and revel in the jazz improvisations of the composition.

Mad'moiselle by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and 2010Ballet Hispánico

The Fifth Decade 2010 to Present – Pa’lante ( Moving Forward)
As the new Artistic Director & CEO, Eduardo Vilaro was looking for a defining shift in repertory, taking risks with emerging choreographers and changing the narrative of Latinx stories, while building up the existing established Latinx choreographers in the field.

Nube Blanco by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and 2009Ballet Hispánico

Nube Blanco

It takes the audience through a scrapbook of memories of an artist of mixed race and their search for a balance in identity, coming to terms (of a sort) with that identity in all its rawness.

Nube Blanco (2009) by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and 2009Ballet Hispánico

It does not suggest an antidote for imbalance, but rather it requires the viewer to sit with the unknown, which is exactly what many immigrants do for most of their lives.

Nube Blanco by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and 2009Ballet Hispánico

Emerging Latinidad

Nube Blanco, was one of the first works Vilaro brought into Ballet Hispánico’s repertory and remains an audience favorite.

Asuka (2011) by Eduardo VilaroBallet Hispánico


Vilaro’s first work for BH, paid homage to the life and music of salsa queen, Celia Cruz. As a Latin music icon, it was a story Vilaro was excited to bring to the dance world. It also enabled him to revisit his own Cuban heritage and  “identity mambo.” Like many Cubans, Vilaro’s immigration was forced upon his family because of the political revolution. 

Jamal Rashann Calender and Vanessa Valecillos in Asuka by Eduardo PatinoBallet Hispánico

Leaving Cuba at a young age, left a colorful mystery for Vilaro, one that was incited by his parent’s glorification of their past, as well as the Afro-Cuban lore his mother imparted on them.

Vilaro yearned for the sea, the gods and goddesses of his parent’s youth. All these snippets of Cuban culture, appropriated memories, color, music and news of Cuba was Vilaro’s inspiration for Asuka.

“Who we left behind and who we find on our journey, how we are forever waiting for something, whether it is acceptance in a foreign land or a green card; Asuka is a meditation on a shared experience.”

The Company in CARMEN.maquia by Gustavo Ramirez-Sansano, 2012, and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico


The first full length ballet in the history of the Company, the work opened a door into sustained character building and theatrical risk taking for the Company.

CARMEN.maquia (2012) by Gustavo Ramirez-Sansano and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico

Taking Our Stories Back 

The story of the gypsy Carmen was first introduced by the namesake opera by Georges Bizet.  For one hundred and forty-five years, Spanish people and all of its colonized lands have been plagued by the iconic and exotic representation of that infamous Spanish gypsy. Versions of that opera/story abound, telling the tale of the sexy manipulator and her lovers, and finally her death, because women's stories, especially of dark gypsies, could only end in tragedy. 

CARMEN.maquia (2012) by Gustavo Ramirez-Sansano and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico

“A Picasso-inspired, contemporary take on Bizet's beloved classic. The physically charged and sensual choreography fuses contemporary dance with nods to the Spanish paso doble and flamenco. Ramírez's movement is refreshingly unique ... Ballet Hispánico's ensemble plays many parts and maneuvers through humorous and nuanced moments with ease and clarity." - Broadway World

Con Brazos Abiertos by Michelle Manzanales and 2019Ballet Hispánico

Con Brazos Abiertos

A powerful exploration of the dichotomy of choreographer, Michelle Manzanales, the work examines her youth, pulled between the Mexican heritage of her parents and her American upbringing. Manzanales delves into the limbo most immigrants or first-generation immigrants experience as they to settle into their adoptive land. 

Con Brazos Abiertos (2017) by Michelle Manzanales and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico

Intertwining folkloric representations with humor and music that ranges from Julio Iglesias to Rock en Español, Con Brazos Abiertos brings life to a Latino dilemma.

Con Brazos Abiertos by Michelle Manzanales, 2017, and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico

Defining Cultural Identity 

"Fresh and funny. Ms Manzanales’ work grapples with her ambivalence toward her Mexican-American identity—symbolized by sombreros and voluminous skirts that she mocks but also mines for beauty. The strains of hyphenated identity are exhausting, a voice over explains, but this dance is mostly a delight.” - Brian Seibert, The New York Times 

3. Catorce Dieciseis by Tania Perez Salas, 2002, and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico

3. Catorce Dieciséis

Tania Pérez-Salas draws inspiration from the number Pi to reflect on the circularity of movement through life. 

3. Catorce Dieciséis by Tania Perez-Salas, 2002, and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico

3. Catorce Dieciséis showcased the Company’s technique and the most artistically integrated work on the program. Set to music by Vivaldi and other Baroque composers, the piece moved seamlessly through a series of scenes as through a kaleidoscope: the colors and moods shifting but ever moving forward. Quick, sharp movements, unexpected flexes of the feet and undulations of the back and chest, brought out the astringent quality in the music, making it sound thoroughly up to date. Unlike the others, this piece is not meant to be fun, yet as a picture of the human condition — keep moving or die – it was beautiful.”- Robin J. Miller, Dance International Magazine

Homebound-Alaala (2018) by Bennyroyce Royon and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico


Explores the intersection of Latino and Asian cultures through ideas including the spirit of communal unity (bayanihan), the resilience of women, overcoming hardship, and the quest for home. 

Ballet Hispánico in Homebound-Alaala, photo by Paula Lobo (9)Ballet Hispánico

In this work, choreographer BennyRoyce Royon, a Filipino native, explores what connects us to the culture we leave behind as immigrants and the layers of customs which remind us that we are not alone, nor are we removed from that which we all seek, a home.

Tiburones by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, 2019, and (c) Paula LoboBallet Hispánico


Annabelle Lopez Ochoa addresses the discrimination and stereotypes placed upon Latinx culture and the power the media has in portraying these themes by diminishing the voices of Latinx artists.

Ballet Hispánico in Tiburones Photo by Paula Lobo (4)Ballet Hispánico

Ochoa deconstructs gender roles and identity to revitalize an authentic perspective of Puerto Rican icons appropriated within the entertainment industry.

“Piercing stereotypes” - The New York Times

TiburonesBallet Hispánico

Ballet Hispánico's Amanda del Valle in Doña Perón (2021) by Rachel NevilleBallet Hispánico

Coming in spring of 2022, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa creates her first evening-length work for Ballet Hispánico about the iconic Eva "Evita" Péron. Doña Perón: The Rise and Fall of a Diva, is an explosive portrait of the figurehead exploring the varying extremes of power at the forefront of her life.

Ballet Hispánico's Doña Perón (2021)Ballet Hispánico

Learn More

Explore Ballet Hispánico's more current touring repertory in our Noche de Oro Google Arts & Culture exhibit and visit for updates on Doña Perón.

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