Dance News
Gabrielle Sprauve. Photo by Paula Lobo

Ballet Hispánico dancer Gabrielle Sprauve understands firsthand the major impact teachers of color can have on a young black dancer's career. Over the course of her training, she had two teachers in particular who left a lifelong impression on her dancing. Here, she shares some of her experiences.

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Michelle Manzanales has been a part of BH for more than seven years. Photo courtesy of BH

Michelle Manzanales' Mexican-American heritage is a constant theme weaving through her work as a teacher and choreographer. Especially when it comes to the music she chooses. "Dance class is where my love for music grew, so for me it's important to expose students to all kinds of music."

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Dance News
Ballet Hispánico students in a flamenco class, a signature technique of the school.

If you've never taken a flamenco class or had the pleasure of watching one, now's your chance.

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Dance News
Michelle Manzanales teaching Ballet Hispánico. Photo by Alona Cohen

This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.

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Lyvan Verdecia and Melissa Fernandez

When Ballet Hispánico’s Lyvan Verdecia was studying at the Cuban National Ballet School as a teenager, Martha Iris Fernandez helped him perfect his turns.

“Male dancers in Cuba are known for their turns and their jumps. For me, jumps always came naturally, but turns—not so much. So Martha would focus on turns and turns and turns, getting me to execute them at a level that made them look effortless. She would emphasize the placement of my spine and make sure I always had a high passé—things that separate the amateur from the professional.”

Martha Iris Fernandez is a classical ballet teacher at the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana.

See Ballet Hispánico tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm at the Apollo Theater in New York City.

Photo by Paula Lobo, courtesy of Ballet Hispánico

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Alessandra Corona in rehearsal with Alexandre Barranco for Ramon Oller's Thorns of the Crown

After dancing with Ballet Hispanico for 12 years, Alessandra Corona found a mentor in Zvi Gotheiner, who encouraged her to take care of her body.

“He teaches you to be very connected with your own body. If you feel it’s not possible to extend your leg, or if you’re injured or in pain, you just have to listen to your body and not force it too much. When I had a knee problem and was recovering, he said to take it easy for a while and then slowly rebuild the strength to achieve what I had done before.”

See Corona and her company, A Corona Works, in Thorns of the Crown, September 9–10 at 7:30 pm at Sheen Center in New York City.

Photo courtesy of A Corona Works

Don’t miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

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."

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Revelations

This fall, great American dance is coming to a movie theater near you. The Lincoln Center at the Movies series kicked off on September 24 with screenings of San Francisco Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet in nearly 400 cinemas nationwide. On October 22, dance lovers can see Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s signature work Revelations and other Ailey fan favorites. Performances by Ballet Hispanico and New York City Ballet round out the inaugural cinema season, which concludes December 10 with NYCB’s holiday classic George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Each screening includes fun extras like interviews with company dancers and behind-the-scenes footage. See lincolncenteratthemovies.org.

Ashley Bouder and the New York City Ballet perform George Balanchine's The Nutcracker.

Photos from top: by Gert Krautbauer; by Paul Kolnik, both courtesy of Lincoln Center

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