Ballet Hispanico Headquarters Gets a Makeover

Photo: by Stephanie Naru, courtesy of Ballet Hispanico

After two years of planning and construction, Ballet Hispanico has opened the doors of its newly renovated headquarters on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “Ballet Hispanico is continuing its mission to be a beacon for communities to celebrate Latino culture," says artistic director Eduardo Vilaro. “In order to do that, we can't be shrouded in darkness. We need to be bright and up front."


The building's old entrances were replaced with a glass exterior that allows passersby to look in and see dancing. The 10th-floor studio has been revamped into a performance space. Additionally, the costume and production room now has windows so visitors can observe work in progress.

Central to the new look is a brand-new lobby, with dance images and three digital displays. One of these is interactive, so visitors can access information about the company, founder and choreographers. “People don't just come in and take a class," Vilaro says. “They come in and experience the culture of the company." Studios will be available to rent for rehearsal, showings and other events. “We've been here for 45 years. We're here for the community," he says.

The reconstruction was made possible by The Arnhold Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Music
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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News
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

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