CEO of Ballet Hispánico on the Arts and Culture of Ballet

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with the Artistic Director and CEO of the famed, Ballet Hispánico, Eduardo Vilaro.

2/21/19 #2203






"That's some beautiful dancing. Beautiful ballet. Our good friend here is Eduardo Valero, artistic director and CEO, of ballet Hispanico. Good to see you. Good to see you as well. Thank you. What were we just checking out? We were just seeing an excerpt from Línea Recta which is currently one of our programs and it is by Annabella Lopez Ochoa. Beautiful. Describe your organization. It started in 1970 if I'm not mistaken? 1970. Started by Tina Ramirez who wanted to give voice to the Latino community. She formed a small group of dancers who were untrained. She trained them. She was a flamenco artist, so our roots are in flamenco. She trained them and they became so proficient, it became a company. But at the same time, it became a school. So, Ballet Hispanico... it's hard as dance, it's backbone, it's education. Who are the students? The students are from all around the city. When we started up in the Upper West Side, they were mainly Latino students. You know, it's a different time in 1970 in the Upper West Side. But now we have students from all over the city and in our Summer programs all over the world. How did you get into this? It's funny... I always like to ask "what's your story?" But I know it's a complicated question. What's your story? How did you get into this? I'm an immigrant. I came with my family from Cuba in 1969 and the only thing that connected me to my heritage was music, and the music that was heard at home. And there was a lot of dance in Cuba and "where there's a song, there's a dance." That's the Latino culture. And so that connected me, but it wasn't until 8th grade... I did a production of you're a Good Man Charlie Brown. I was Linus, I had a dance... [laughter] I had to make up the dance, and there I was on stage, and I was hooked. Hooked. What hooked you? I loved the communication. That sense that I was telling a story and I was being appreciated and I was being accepted. And for an immigrant kid, that's a lot. As I'm thinking about this, you and I were talking right before we got onto the air about two things. One, how much... how hard do you have to work raising money with a not-for-profit, like us here in public broadcasting, like you? How much of your time do you spend outside of the art? This is our art, your art is clearly speaks for itself. How much time do you spend on the business side raising money? Right now, because I wear both hats, I spend about 60% of the time in administrative tasks. A lot of it is raising money. Yeah. I have the luxury..."