Community Arts Partnerships Staff
Natalia Mesa (Community Engagement Director) holds a master’s degree in performance arts administration from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in industrial design with a minor in business administration from Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia. Her dance training started at Ballarte Escuela de Ballet and Ballet Anna Pavlova in Bogotá. Early in her dance career, she won an honorary mention on the V Encuentro para Estudiantes de Ballet, in Habana, Cuba, obtained a scholarship for the ballet program at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and later moved to New York where she completed her dance education at The Ailey School. Her experience in arts in education started at La Fundación Niños de Los Andes in Bogotá where she developed and implemented creative dance workshops with youth survivors of domestic violence. During her years working at Battery Dance, she managed the Battery Dance Festival, implemented arts in education programs into the New York public school system, and supported dance education programs in Latin America. In 2018, she was a panelist in support of 16 Days Against Gender-Based violence organized by RESIU within the U.S. State Department. Natalia recognizes the arts as a medium for social change that fosters dialogue, builds community, and changes misconceptions.
GABRIELA ESTRADAGabriela Estrada (Community Arts Partnerships Education Manager) Bilingual dance educator, artist, and producer dedicated to promoting the development of art, tradition, and culture. Estrada holds a BA and MFA in Dance at the University of California, Irvine and a Ph.D. in flamenco interdisciplinary studies from the University of Seville. Her MFA thesis, The Choreographic Development of The Three-Cornered Hat through the 20th Century, and the case study of her Ph.D. dissertation on the contributions of flamenco to ballet led to producing the documentary ENI9MA: The Legend of Félix. As an educator, Estrada founded Dance Collage, affiliated to the Royal Academy of Dance, engaged in teaching dance lecture and technique courses at the University of Sonora and UC, Irvine, collaborating as choreographer and teaching artists in theatre and dance organizations internationally. Her creative work embraces theatrical western dance forms, flamenco, and musical theatre. Estrada supports Ballet Hispánico’s mission as Community Arts Partnership Education Manager, furthering bridges between Hispanic and Latin American communities and the arts.
Mariana Ranz (Community Arts Partnerships Program Manager) is originally from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where she began her ballet training under the direction of Gryssel Berlioz. Later she joined and performed with Compañia de Danza Bellart. At the age of 18, Ranz relocated to the United States to pursue her higher education studies. She attended the University of California, Irvine and graduated with a BA in Dance and in Psychology and Social Behaviors. In 2012, Ranz was accepted with a partial scholarship into New York University Steinhardt Dance Education Program and graduated in 2014 with a MA for Teaching Dance in the Professions: American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Pedagogy. She is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level Seven of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Ranz is a passionate dancer, dance educator and artist. As part of her career development, she traveled to Uganda in 2014 where she had the opportunity to collaborate with Ugandan dance educators from Makerere University and the Kampala Ballet and Modern Dance School. In her efforts to give back to her community, Ranz has taught several workshops, master classes, and professional development workshops for dancers and dance educators in her home country, Bolivia. Ranz’s experience includes teaching in private and public schools, dance studios, and non-profit dance organizations. Throughout her career, she has served on the dance faculties of American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Hunter College Elementary School, and The Spence School.
Rodney Hamilton began his training in his native St. Louis at several schools including Carr Lane V.P.A., the Center of Contemporary Arts, and Alexandra School of Ballet. He also studied with Ms. Katherine Dunham and joined the chorus at the MUNY where he performed for seven years. After arriving in New York City, he graduated with a BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School and joined Ballet Hispánico where he was a principal dancer and assistant rehearsal director for 10 years. During this time, he performed works by José Limon, Paul Taylor, Hans van Manen, Robert Battle, Ohad Naharin, David Parsons, William Whitener, Ann Reinking, Ramón Oller, Sergio Trujillo, Trinette Singleton, Agnes DeMille, Talley Beatty, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Vicente Nebrada, and numerous other well-known choreographers. Mr. Hamilton was part of the national touring cast of Hello Dolly with Carol Channing and worked with the Broadway cast of Tarzan during its workshop process. In 2012, Mr. Hamilton became the Resident Choreographer for the Saint Petersburg City Theater in Florida where he choreographed Hello Dolly, Footloose, and Memphis. In 2019, Mr. Hamilton became the Associate Choreographer for a new version of the musical Evita that will premiere at New York’s City Center, Encores! series this fall. Mr. Hamilton holds an MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He has taught ballet, modern, and Dunham technique all over the world. Mr. Hamilton is happy to be returning home to Ballet Hispánico as a faculty member at the School of Dance and to take on the role of BHdos Rehearsal Director.