“Words are unnecessary when movement and feeling and expression can say it all,” Tina Ramirez

Honor The Memory of Our Beloved Founder

Tina Ramirez was a tireless, brilliant, singular woman who left behind a rich legacy of bringing dance, cultural connection, and transformation to students and communities worldwide. For her work as a trailblazer for women and communities of color, she was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts.

Tina Ramirez was responsible for Ballet Hispánico’s growth from a local, community-based dance program into an acclaimed organization with a renowned professional dance company, a scholarship-rich School of Dance, and extensive community arts programs and partnerships. Due to her massive efforts, Ballet Hispánico, since its founding in 1970, has performed for over 2.3 million people around the world, trained over 20,000 students, provided $5.5 million in School of Dance scholarships, and reached over 750,000 New Yorkers through community programming.

Please ensure that Tina’s legacy continues to grow by making a gift to Ballet Hispánico today. Your generosity will help support ongoing company performances, School of Dance scholarships, and wide-reaching education and community programs.


About Tina Ramirez

Tina Ramirez (1929-2022) founded Ballet Hispánico 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, including Talley Beatty, Ramón Oller, Maria Rivera, and William Whitener, among many others.

Tina 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 recognition of her enduring contributions to the field of dance, Tina received the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest cultural honor, in 2005. Juilliard awarded her an honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, in 2018. Numerous other awards include the Honor Award from Dance/USA (2009), the Award of Merit from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (2007), the Dance Magazine Award (2002), the Hispanic Heritage Award (1999), a Citation of Honor at the 1995 New York Dance and Performance Awards (the “Bessies”), the NYS Governor's Arts Award (1987), and the NYC Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts & Culture (1983).

Tina Ramirez Through The Years

Tina and Coco Ramirez captured by famed photographer of the stars, Bruno of Hollywood NYC.
Photo Credit: Bruno of Hollywood NYC - Ballet Hispánico Archives

Tina Ramirez and Lolita Gomez with Federico Rey in 1948.
Photo Credit: Bruno of Hollywood NYC - Center of Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College

Tina Ramirez’s first professional dance shot.          Photo Credit: Bruno of Hollywood NYC - Ballet Hispánico Archives​

Tina Ramirez teaching movement at Ballet Hispánico's School of Dance. 
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ballet Hispánico

Tina and Coco Ramirez posing with Jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, taken at the Chez Paris in Chicago in the 1950s.
Photo Credit: Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College

Tina Ramirez receiving the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 2005.
Photo Credit: Eric Draper

Tina Ramirez and Eduardo Vilaro share a special moment at Ballet Hispánico’s Black Slipper Ball at The Plaza Hotel, The Grand Ballroom on April 20, 2009.
Photo Credit: Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

“I am heartbroken by the news of Tina's passing. Her legacy lives on not only in the extraordinary gift that she left the world, but in each and every person, child, artist and family member that she touched and inspired. We are all part of her legacy of access and cultural pride and will continue her mission to give everyone the right to find their bliss in dance.”  Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director & CEO

Video By Table Rock Productions

Video created by The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), the organization that awarded Tina Ramirez the Lifetime Achievment Award in 2012.

Remember Tina Ramirez, our beloved founder, by reading her obituary in The New York Times and The Washington Post

Tina Ramirez

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