Instituto Coreográfico

A platform for young Latinx artists. All-audience access to the dance-making process.

Instituto Coreográfico gives a voice to young artists and opens access to the dance-making process for all audiences.

When Ballet Hispánico was founded 53 years ago, Latinx artists were invisible to the dance field. Since its founding, Ballet Hispánico has played an instrumental role in changing the narrative - now, generations of Latinx artists have produced art that reinterpret their heritage, bringing fresh perspectives on the Latinx experience. In 2010, Artistic Director & CEO Eduardo Vilaro launched Instituto Coreográfico, a choreographic institute for Latinx artists to create culturally specific work in a nurturing learning laboratory of dance. The choreographer in residence is paired with an emerging filmmaker to document their process, create promotional materials, and add a layer of artistic collaboration.

Instituto Coreográfico also invites dance patrons to respond, reflect, and enter into a cultural dialogue with the artists about dance and culture in a safe, critical environment at a work-in-progress showing during the choreographer’s residency. With this invaluable platform, Ballet Hispánico continues to give a voice to young artists and opens access to the dance making process for all audiences.

Past Instituto Coreográfico Emerging Dance Residency Filmmakers

Samantha Chappas

Samantha Chappas (she/her) is a Mexican American artist based in New York City.  Originally from bordertown Laredo, Texas, Samantha began a mix of concert and commercial dance training at Laredo School of Contemporary Dance. She received her BFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied ballet, contemporary, composition, improvisation, Filming the Moving Body, Live Video Performance Art, and pedagogy. Her interest in dance + technology led her to NYU Tisch Shanghai’s Interactive Media Arts program where she earned her Master of Arts, to cultivate a career in dance + technology, choreography, filmmaking, and multimedia storytelling. For her graduate thesis she conducted research in the space of Latinx futurism and created an interactive dance and technology performance on Latinx stereotypes in US media. She asked, “How can I dissect racial issues in my artwork and make it approachable as opposed to intimidating, confrontational yet gentle?”

Dr. AnaMaria Correa

Dr. AnaMaria Correa (she/ella) is an educator, facilitator, leader and culture worker striving for justice at the intersection of agency, voice, access and identity. The daughter of Dominican immigrants and a "first gen", Dra. Correa earned her PhD centering narratives of Black and Brown women, which included herself, in educational spaces where they were othered. As a practitioner, scholar and artist, the power of lived experience informs her practice and, in justice, the role of truth, restoration and care inform her work. Dr. Correa is a member of the BH familia. She is co-creator of Ballet Hispanico Latinx Convening in partnership with Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director and CEO. She has served its mission during her tenure as director of the School of Dance and Community Arts Partnerships. Her work bridges, deepens and brings light to brave conversations, relationships and amplifies understanding and connection.  She serves the community of Brooklyn Friends School as their Director of Diversity, Equity & Belonging. She is honored to be part of the 2023 Instituto Coreografico team in moderating this conversation and thanks all at BH for continuing to be a platform and seeing her and so many others. 

Mario Ismael Espinoza

Mario Ismael Espinoza, LCSW (they, them, theirs) was born in Tijuana, B.C., Mexico to a large family of auto-mechanics and artists. Mario immigrated to the United States in 1998, attended the University of California, Irvine (2001-2005) earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance and went on to have a 12-year career in concert dance that culminated with the Ballet Hispanico of New York. In 2017, Mario retired from the stage and attended NYU for a Masters Degree in Social Work. Since then, Mario has been integrating their expertise in movement and mental health to join clients on their journey toward physical and socio-emotional wellbeing. Taking a pluralistic approach to treatment, Mario’s current work consists of partnering with individuals, families, and communities in the effort to heal, unite, and strengthen existing resources inherent in all. Currently a full-time employee of The Entertainment Community Fund, Mario provides mental health services and clinical case management for Entertainment Industry professionals nation-wide. Mario is also a 
part-time Clinic Therapist at Ackerman Institute for the Family, working with the Latinx Youth & Family Immigration Project: Dímelo en Español.Mario is also a student of Irma StarSpirit Turtle Woman, and an apprentice of the Medicine Way, which focuses on shamanic healing modalities and diagnostics. This work entails learning traditional methods of healing that have been passed down as oral traditions by Curanderxs and Medicine Elders. Mario’s clinical focus is derived from a deep commitment to social justice and mental health, which gives rise to an anti-oppressive approach to delivery of clinical services.  
 To learn more about mario's work, please visit 

Instituto Coreográfico: Mark Travis Rivera

Showcased onThursday, June 29, 2023

Telling stories is at the core of Mark Travis Rivera’s purpose in life. He is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and the Founder + Chief Executive Officer of The Professional Storyteller.

As a writer, Rivera’s bylines include The Bergen Record, Herald News, The Star-Ledger, Fox News Latino, and The Huffington Post. He was also a contributing author in the anthology, Crisis and Care: Queer Activist Responses to a Global Pandemic (PM Press, 2022), edited by Adrian Shanker. His debut collection, Drafts: An Imperfect Collection of Writing, was published in August 2017. He was also a contributing writer for Imagining: A Gibney Journal, where he shared his experience as a disabled choreographer and dancer.

As a stubborn and determined 17-year-old, Rivera founded marked dance project (2009-2019), becoming the youngest person in the United States to create and lead an integrated dance company for disabled and non-disabled dancers. Inspired by his desire to dance as a person with cerebral palsy, he would go on to help disabled and non-disabled dancers alike find their voice as artists. As a Puerto Rican queer man, he was also one of just a handful of artistic directors of color in the disability dance field in the United States. As an independent disabled choreographer, Mark is determined to build a bridge between the main dance field and disability dance.

As a speaker, he has addressed audiences at various institutions of higher learning, including Harvard, MIT, Rutgers, and NYU. As a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant and facilitator, he has spoken to corporate audiences virtually in the UK, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Israel, China, and India, just to name a few. His TEDx Talk, “Embracing Yourself, Embracing Your Potential,” was a smash in 2014 at Bergen Community College.

A first-generation high school and college graduate, Rivera earned his bachelor’s degree in women’s & gender studies with a minor in public relations from William Paterson University of New Jersey. In 2013, Rivera received the Student Government Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to the William Paterson community. That same year, he was honored with the Campus Pride National Voice & Action Award for his work with the LGBTQ community. More recently, he won the Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Lavender Legacy Award from William Paterson.

Mark also serves as Board Secretary for the Board of Directors at AXIS Dance Company, the nation’s leading integrated dance company. He formerly served as the Community Engagement Manager and apprentice. He is represented as a speaker by Hummingbird Humanity and their Speaks Bureau and is a member of the WE CREATE SPACE global collective of LGBTQ+ leaders. He was raised a Jersey boy, lived in New York City and the Bay Area, but now calls Atlanta, GA, home.

Instituto Coreográfico: Michelle Manzanales

Showcased on Thursday, December 15, 2022

In her new work, Michelle Manzanales takes on the powerful Mexican visionary Sor Juana, who was a 17th century nun, self-taught scholar and acclaimed writer of the Latin American colonial period and the Hispanic Baroque.

Major funding for Instituto Coreográfico was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


"As a dancer here back in the 80s, I could count on my hand the number of Latinx choreographers that would come through the door…[Instituto Coreográfico] is a way of nourishing, mentoring, and developing leaders and artists of color, in particular Latinas and Latinos."

-Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director & CEO

Applications Now Open

We are currently accepting applications our 2024 Instituto Coreográfico.

Click here for our Application Form

Previously Selected Choreographers

  • Michelle Manzanales, 2022

  • Omar Román De Jesús, 2022 

  • Marielis Garcia, 2021

  • Ramón Oller, 2019

  • Maria Barrios, 2019

  • Bennyroyce Royon, 2018

  • Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, 2018

  • Carlos Pons Guerra, 2017

  • Stephanie Martinez, 2016

  • Fernando Melo, 2015

  • Michelle Manzanales, 2015

  • Miguel Mancillas, 2014

  • Rosie Herrera, 2013

  • Abdul Latif, 2012

Instituto Coreográfico

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