From its grassroots origins as a dance school and community-based performing arts troupe, Ballet Hispanico has grown into a world-class institution.
Recognized for her achievements by the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest cultural honor, Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispanico in 1970. From its grassroots origins as a dance school and community-based performing arts troupe, the organization has grown into a world-class institution. Ballet Hispanico’s New York City headquarters house a School of Dance and state-of-the-art dance studios for its programs and the arts community.
In August 2009, Ballet Hispanico welcomed Eduardo Vilaro as its Artistic Director. A former member of the Ballet Hispanico Company, Vilaro founded and led Chicago’s Luna Negra Dance Theater for a decade. Vilaro’s background in dance education and community outreach allows him to build on the company’s founding values and lead Ballet Hispanico into an artistically vibrant future.
TINA RAMIREZ founded Ballet Hispanico in 1970 and served as Artistic Director until 2009. Under her direction, over 45 choreographers created works for the Company, many of international stature and others in the early stages of their career.
Ms. Ramirez was born in Venezuela, the daughter of a Mexican bullfighter and grandniece to a Puerto Rican educator who founded the island’s first secular school for girls. Her performing career included international touring with the Federico Rey Dance Company, the Broadway productions of Kismet and Lute Song and the television adaptation of Man of La Mancha.
In addition to the 2005 National Medal of Arts, Ms. Ramirez has received countless awards and honors in recognition of her work, including the Dance Magazine Award, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education, Capezio Dance Award, NYS Governor's Arts Award, and the NYC Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts & Culture.
Ms. Ramirez currently serves on the board of The New 42nd Street, and was Co-Chair for the New York City Department of Education Dance Curriculum Blueprint Committee. She has served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, as well as the board of the Association of Hispanic Arts.
Ballet Hispanico and Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Over the last forty years under the leadership of Founder Tina Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico has remained an important artistic interpreter and educator of the Latin American experience in the American cultural landscape. Ms. Ramirez stepped down as the Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico in June 2009. Under new artistic leadership, it is imperative that her tremendous artistic legacy and dedication to sharing the diversity of Latino cultures is preserved.
Archival quality preservation, digitization, and an accessible public platform for these dance works and the many unique materials from Tina and Ballet Hispanico’s history is necessary to help share the evolution of Latino contemporary dance.
In this effort, Ballet Hispanico partnered with Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies (“Centro”) in 2009 to archive the collective effects of Ballet Hispanico and Tina Ramirez. The project is ongoing and will be completed in three phases. Phase One is a collaboration between Ballet Hispanico and Centro to collect, document, and preserve our archival materials, which began in 2010. In Phase Two, Centro will create the official archival catalogue for Ballet Hispanico. Centro will also move the collection to their upstate facility for archival-quality preservation and storage. In Phase Three, Ballet Hispanico will work with Centro to digitize a large selection of the materials and make a special selection of the effects accessible to the public through our bi-lingual website and a series of special events.
We look forward to sharing our collection with a greater segment of the population. On this page is a selected sample of the archive. The public will eventually be able to view actual items from the archives through Centro. As Ballet Hispanico’s legacy continues over time, Centro will continue to receive additional archival effects from the organization.