Ballet Hispanico In Detroit

The curtain opens as a strong spanish guitar chord fills the Detroit Opera House. A sole dancer raises her hands in mesmerizing movement as she stands with her back to the audience, the train of her long red dress trailing for at least 5 feet after it hits the floor. As the music picks up, male dancers come onto the stage and engage in a passionate and flamenco-inspired modern dance. Filled with extraordinary lifts between male and female dancers along with powerful ones between solely males, Linea Recta (straight line), choreographed by the amazingly talented Annabelle Lopez Ochoa—takes on flamenco and a powerful conversation between the sexes. After the dancer with the long train finishes her powerful performance, the next half an hour is filled with powerful group dances and striking pa de deuxs. Finally the whole cast of the dance takes the stage for a high energy finale and a well deserved bow.

After a fifteen-minute intermission, the curtain opens revealing a very different piece. Michelle Manzanales’s Con Brazos Abiertos (with open arms) tells the deep and moving story of Manzanales’s journey of balancing her Mexican-American childhood. Filled with a range of music from traditional folkloric music to Radiohead’s Creep this humorous, but deeply touching piece became a favorite of the night with a drawn-out standing ovation filled with thunderous applause. With a beautiful original poem written by Maria Billini, sombreros, and the entire cast in long white skirts (including men) for the final dance it was impossible to take your eyes away from the stage. Big group numbers filled with high energy and perfect synchronization told the story perfectly. The soloist and pa de deux’s took the audience’s breath away leaving the whole auditorium completely silent so that the organized breathing of the dancers was heard. In a whirlwind of emotions Manzanales story is told beautifully and frankly by the company.

The final dance of the night, 3. Catorce Dieciseis (3, 14, 16) captivated the audience as the classical masterpieces of such composers like Vivaldi, Frescobaldi, and Pergolesi accompanied the whole company in this soulful and technically strong piece. With a tasteful use of props and beautiful lighting this piece closed out the show in an unforgettable manner. The whole company took Tania Perez-Salas choreography and brought it to life. Inspired by the number π and the circular movement through life, dancers took the stage in groups, pa de deux and solos to close out the night of amazing storytelling, death defying lifts, choreography and pure dance.