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April 15, 2024 16 mins
Ballet Hispánico is the largest Latine/x Hispanic cultural organization in the United States and one of America’s Cultural Treasures. We are pleased to welcome Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro back to the show, ahead of their New York City Center Season, April 25-28, and their 2024 Gala. For more details, visit
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Welcome to Get Connected with Nina delRio, a weekly conversation about fitness,
health and happenings in our community onone oh six point seven light FM.
Good morning, and thanks for listeningto Get Connected. Ballet Hispanico the largest
Latine latinx Hispanic cultural organization in theUS and one of America's cultural treasures.

We are pleased to have this conversationagain with Artistic director and CEO Eduardo Valaro.
Back to the show ahead of theirNew York City Center season April twenty
fifth through twenty eighth and their twentytwenty four gala. Eduardo, good to
see you. Great to see you. I am always so happy to be
at the show and to be inconversation with you. It's always a great

pleasure for me. The website Ballethispanicodot org has all the details on the
upcoming performance is April twenty fifth throughtwenty eighth. The gala prior to the
first public performance on the twenty fifth, officially, the Kinsineta celebrates her a
fifteen season at artistic director. It'sa busy day. You've got a lot
going on. On the twenty fifth, it's a very busy day and it
does feel like a king signetta,you know, as the precursor to a

wedding. So it does feel alittle bit like a wedding, the preparations,
how everything goes, and so asthe bride. Hopefully I'm not a
bridezilla, but you know, justthe wonderful coming together of so many different
things. It's going to be quitea spectacular evening. How are you with
being feeded by the way. I'mnot good at all. I'm not.

I have my board chair and everyonesaying, well, we'd like to do
this for you, and we'd liketo do that. I'm like, no,
no, thank you. I've neverbeen good with that. It's an
odd position to be in, right, It's sort of you're the center of
the room when you spend so muchof your time, i know, representing
the company, but also bringing otherpeople forward. Right yeah, right,
So I spend a lot of timeinteracting with people, bringing them forward,

artists, setting up a platform forthem to do work and for me to
do work. Yeah, I'd ratherbe in that mode, you know,
creative mode, which is like alittle bit of of your own space.
So being vetted or being festive withwho I am is difficult. The last

fifteen years though. It's quite anaccomplishment to lead Bell Hispanico, and even
as big as it was, itseems to be more ambitious. There's more
growth in the stature of the company. Have you had time to look back
at the past fifteen really take stockof the accomplishments, you know? It's
really that's why celebrations are so important, because as soon as it started sinking

in that this is a celebration abouta full fifteen years, I've been really
in deep mode. Every time I'mthinking about it or meditating on it,
there's a lot has come up,and some teachings have come up that I've
learned in the past. Through allthis past excuse me, so it's been
really good. Once you place astake in the ground about this cell vibration,

the effects really come into play.What are some of those teachings.
I'm so much more patient now.You feel that you're in your own skin,
and you you know, you've I'vealways been a person to you know,
make light of the small things,but even more so you are now.

You are now able to look atyourself in the past holistically and go,
well, yeah, that was me, and that's what I did,
but I don't need to do thatanymore. So the reflection really helps you
move into this new way of beingin your and I'll say it being in

your power, being in your ownskin. And I think that comes you
know, this is also a bigbirthday for me this year, so that
comes with age. Some of that'slovely. I think that's the loveliest part
about ages. You can look backand you just have now you have more
information to make decisions, but youcan also look back and give yourself some
grace about certain things. Oh Ilove the way he said that. Yes,

there's a lot of grace that yougive yourself, which is very helpful
for me with a sixteen year olderwho's planning to go to college. Oh,
a lot of grace you have toget to that child. So the
gala is just ahead of the CityCenter season which is April twenty fifth through
twenty eighth. What did you wantto say overall? Did you think about

the fifteen years when programming it willtalk about the performances too. Of course,
I think that for the gala,there's an arc of my time here.
The works that I've selected both showwell, there's a work that I
dance for the first work I did, Requedo l So that's going to be
really fun by Tally Beattie. Andso there's that work. There are students

are performing in the gala for thefirst time ever and that is remarkable,
and students of all ages from theones to So there is a kind of
activity that I am bringing that Ifelt that I have nurtured as I've been
here, you know, the threadsof student families, artists, and so

there's that. And then there isthe nurturing of choreographers, the choreographers that
I've chosen Annavelopizo, Choa me toSansano. These are all choreographers belro Luis,
all choreographers that have significance in helpingme to build that bigger vision for
Ballet Hispanico and also that bigger profile. And then it ends with my new

work Muscando Juan. So it's quitea circle of looking at the past but
also with a view to the future. We're speaking with Edward de Valaro of
Ballet Hispanico. Their performances at CityCenter or April twenty fifth through twenty eighth.
For details and tickets, visit Ballehispanicodot org. You're listening to Get

Connected on one O six point sevenlight FM on Nina del Rio so A's
City Center the world Buscado j JuanYour choreography, an immersive piece inspired by
the Afro Hispanic painter Juan de Pareja. First, who is Juan de Pareja
and how would you describe his work? Sojan de Pareja was a sixteenth century
painter who was Diego Velasquez, whois the most well known Spanish painter.

One was his slave and would mixhis paint and pull his canvasses. But
he became an artist in his rightby working next to Diego Velasquaz. Very
little is known about him. Hewas Afro Hispanic. We don't know if
he was more issue, was directAfrican, or if he was second generation

Mestiso or even first generation Mestiso.So there's a lot of mystery around who
he was. But he did becomea Spanish painter in his own right,
and there are some works in thePrallo that were brought over through the Metropolitan
Museum, and that's how we becameeven further acquainted him and I in a

sense he's not alive anymore, butfor his work and this history such an
interesting story. What did you wantto express with the choreography. Well,
I wanted to express that intersectionality ofdiasporas, of issues at hand that still
are alive today, his oppression andhow he was oppression oppressed by certain structures.

How religion for him was both freedomand the oppressor, which happens to
syncretize bodies to syncretized cultures. Soto me it was utilizing one that bareha
to kind of work with my ownthings. Right, how are you extracted
from homeland? What does that?What does that do to you? How

does your art free you from thosestructures? So it was a very for
me. He's been very important,especially now that we're talking about fifteen years
and a life in this field,so there's a lot of that. There's
this famous portrait that Diego Velaska's decidedto paint him an Afro Hispanic person was

huge at that time, I wouldimagine, and still we don't see colonial
paintings with people of color in Royalgarb or, but this one was very
much a beautiful work. And thenyou see his own self portrait in a
larger piece that has to do withthe calling of Saint Matthew. So that

to me is there's so much fodderthere, there's so much going on there.
Since you mentioned, you know,thinking about absorbing material differently over all
these years, how was your choreographydo you think changed over time? Oh?
I was really when I was startingout. I was really a product
of those that I trained with,that I danced for, and so there

was some replication with him. Ireally this I really delved into who I
am. And so the movement vocabularyhas a lot of Afro Cuban movement mixed
with contemporary movement, mixed with alot of strong technical movement, and so
it was really jumping into finding acore vocabulary for me to develop this work.

One of the other works as partof the City Center performances comes from
Colombian Belgian choreographer Annabello pezl Choa.She's created work for multiple dance companies,
including Bella Hispanico. Her piece isHouse of Mademoiselle. So House of Mademoiselle
is actually again a reframing of anolder work, and I brought her back

to do this work because that wasthe first work I invited her to create.
It was called Mademoiselle only, andso now it's House of Mademoiselle.
So what she's done is she reframedit. That first work was about Latina
women and the power of Latina women, and also how we use Maria and

the idea of Maria, both thevirgin Mary and the different types of Marias
that you find in Latin America.She's added a twist with a non conforming
gender role as a Maria. Andit's not because she wants to jump on
the gender flowing It's just because shewants. She wants to say that there

are Marias in all of us,male, female, whatever flowing gender,
that there are these powerful, iconicrepresentations within our culture that speak to us
that also inspire us to be.And I remember that because even as a
young man myself, you know,what connected me to my culture was music,

and there were these big, powerfulwomen Celia Cruz l Gagillo. I
mean, I'm amazing, and soI love that she's gone back and done
this. It's a fun work.It's a little campy, but also very
poignant. The next piece also soundsvery fun and speaking of music, Paris

Prato, the Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramirezand Sano's eighteen plus one goes through that
music, those iconic big band hitsof Paris Prado. If you don't know
that music, it's fun. It'sso much fun. I mean, PTEs
bravo. It's because of him thatthe mambo was such a hit, right.
I know it comes from the Caribbean, but he took it and he

just added the instrumentation and just youknow, blew it movies, you know,
television. It was so big.I love this work because the choreographer,
Gustavo Ramir Sansano decides to create awork that has nothing to do with
the mambo. It is all aboutthe artists and their characters and who their

their personalities, and the movement vocabularyis not mambo until the very end,
there's a couple of little mambo's steps. But what you know, to me,
that represents so much of what musicand arts can be. It doesn't
also have to live in an iconor stereotype. It can be utilized to
open and welcome everyone into the music, into that kind of cultural milieu that

you find in a lot of theserepresentative both music and dance in art.
You talk about more than dance ofcourse, in the work that you do
out off stage, right, Iknow you have conversations about race and culture
and equity. What do you feelcomfortable and capable of addressing and leading in
conversations beyond dance. I'm comfortable inleading a conversation of how we're all connected

and how we have to break thebarriers in order to be comfortable to talk
about race and diversity in equity.They've become something of a They've been weaponized
those words, and it pains mebecause I feel that all those words are
about coming together and not separating us. That's a lovely way to put it.

I feel like those words are magicwords. Yes, yes, How
do those conversations or how do youtry to use them to inform the work
that you do both on and offstage. I think that those words become
images for us in the dance world. They become part and parcel. So

sometimes just to have a person ofcolor in a lead role is enough,
right, Sometimes it's not enough.Sometimes it's about telling a narrative that's not
known, like Juanda Barreja. Iso hope that not only the met but
this work people go and say,who was this person? Why can't he
be in the canon of our artiststhat we think are remarkable. And then

sometimes it's just the point and syof seeing an artist's voice come through to
give you a message of hope andresilience and perseverance. So I think that
those words really and that's the magicof the arts and hopefully the magic of

our work and the choreographers that theyare embedded in just because who they are
is being represented on stage. Again, this is your fifteenth season as artistic
director and CEO of Bela Hispanico,and you wear a lot of hats.
What's your favorite part of the job. What a wonderful question, you know,

My favorite part of the job isseeing joy. I walk into the
building. There are these young kidsrunning around, they're two, three,
four, and I see joy.I go in and see the company,
and I see joy in these artistswho are able to do the work.
I'm out in the field and teachinga class to a community, and I'm

seeing the joy of connectivity and thejoy of people just being themselves and not
worried about who they are, orwho they marry, or how what they
believe. It is. It removesus and so I love the joy that
I see when art removes us fromthe ugliness that we ourselves have built.

You can find out more about theNew York City Center season of Ballet Hispanico
coming up very soon April twenty fifththrough twenty eighth, at Ballehispanico dot org.
Edwardovolaro, good to see you.Thank you for being on the show
and it's always a pleasure. Mutairasias. Thank you. This has been get
connected with Nina del Rio on oneoh six point seven light Fm. The

views and opinions of our guests donot necessarily reflect the views of the station.
If you missed any part of ourshow or want to share it,
visit our website for downloads and podcastsat one oh six to seven lightfm dot
com. Thanks for listening.
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