Hispanic Ballet celebrates Mexican feminist pioneer in new work “Sor Juana”

By Nora Quintanilla |

New York (EFE).- The Hispanic Ballet, the largest Latino cultural organization in the US, celebrates the life of the Mexican pioneer of feminism in its new work, “Sor Juana”, which opens this Thursday at a special gala at the most important dance venue in New York, the New York City Center.

“Sor Juana” tells through contemporary dance an “abstracted version” of the story of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a 17th-century Mexican nun “considered by many to be the first feminist in the Americas,” the Mexican choreographer explains to EFE. -American Michelle Manzanales.

Members of the Ballet Hispánico rehearse the work “Sor Juana” at the group’s headquarters in New York (USA). EFE/Angel Colmenares

The figure of Sor Juana, an icon in Mexico, is not as well known in the US with the clear exception of Chicago, where the National Museum of Mexican Art has an annual festival in its name, so the piece fit with the Ballet Hispánico’s mission to disseminate “the narratives of our Latino diaspora,” he says.

Sor Juana’s story

In one of the last rehearsals in the studio, Manzanales declares herself “excited, honored, excited, nervous and responsible” while observing the group of dancers who have been dedicated, like her, body and soul to the piece since September of last year. , and they perform it for the umpteenth time with millimeter sensitivity.

“It is impossible to tell everything about someone in a short dance, so I selected pieces from his life. (Sor Juana) she had many talents, she was an intellectual and she loved to learn. She studied many subjects, she didn’t just write poems, she also wrote theater, opera, music… ”, maintains the choreographer.

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Members of the Ballet Hispánico rehearse the work
Members of the Ballet Hispánico rehearse the work “Sor Juana” at the group’s headquarters in New York (USA). EFE/Angel Colmenares

Played by Gabrielle Sprauve, Sor Juana delicately emerges and begins a hypnotic dance with another woman, played by Isabel Robles, in which their gazes never leave each other as they get closer and closer until they hold each other, back to back, inviting to wonder about the connection they share.

Sor Juana, who did not want to get married and after entering a convent devoted herself to a literary and poetic production that ranged from the religious to the profane, continues to inspire today those who seek to live “without shame or censorship” and that is reflected in the characters of the people with whom she was “close”, suggests the choreographer, without making any revelations.

Hard work for ‘latinidad’

The company’s 14 dancers, with dark, mixed-race skin tones that reflect a melting pot of cultures, have not only had to learn the dance steps and link them to the music, but immerse themselves in the rich legacy of the nun, all while combining with his daily work and with an international tour.

Accustomed to working with a fusion of flamenco, contemporary, modern and ballet. In this performance the group uses a uniquely contemporary dance language. In addition, she wears a wardrobe that includes the habit of the protagonist and that makes references to the colonial era of Mexico and to the present.

Members of the Ballet Hispánico rehearse the work “Sor Juana” at the group’s headquarters in New York (USA). EFE/Angel Colmenares

The main executive and artistic director of the Ballet Hispánico, Eduardo Vilaro, who has been working with Manzanales for two decades, emphasizes that the work is the result of “a woman creating for another woman”, which shows how the dance company is leading the “changes ” in a sector very dominated by men.

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Some changes that begin in the very essence of the organization, created in 1970 by Tina Ramírez and named a “cultural treasure” of the US “Enjoy, be proud and educate the public about what our Latino cultures are, what some people they call it ‘latinidad’”, sums up Vilaro.

“Sor Juana” opens this Thursday at the opening of a charity gala that remembers the legacy of Ramírez. It will be dedicated to the Miranda family -collaborators of the Ballet Hispánico- and will be presented in two more performances, on Friday and Saturday.

2023-06-01 12:00:00
#Sor #Juana #Inés #Cruz #stars #ballet #Latinidad

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