Ballet Hispánico’s artistic director gives Latinos a voice

By Tanya Mercado

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Imagine a time when you had no voice, of walking down the street and not being allowed to speak in the language of your ancestors. Imagine coming to America and feeling like you had to forget where you came from.

Ballet Hispánico’s artistic director and CEO, Eduardo Vilaro, gives us a glimpse into that experience.

Born in Cuba, Vilaro came to the Bronx with his parents, Pascual Vilaro and Georgina Fernandez, when he was six years old in 1969.

Ballet Hispánico

Vilaro describes his experience growing up as having to assimilate to the American culture. You could not speak Spanish outside of your home. He says, “starting in the Bronx we were trying to forget where we came from.”

Through the visions of Tina Ramirez—Vilaros’ mentor and founder of Ballet Hispánico—and Vilaro, the dance company gives a voice to Latinos by telling their stories to help break stereotypes. It allows Latinos to go from feeling like they have to forget where they came from to “now I’m remembering and I’m bringing it back.”

Ballet Hispánico

Vilaro says being an artistic director for such a diverse dance company is a gift. It gives him the opportunity to go through all of the different cultures that make up Hispanics in hopes of not just entertaining audiences, but educating as well.

Ballet Hispánico is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with its Third Annual “A La Calle” Block Party on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on the performances at the Apollo Theater on Nov. 22 and 23, visit the Ballet Hispánico website.