Ballet Hispánico brings Afro-Latin representation to dance
Ballet Hispánico artists want to inspire through dance and the sharing of life stories.
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Being a performing artist is not easy. Dancing ballet is not easy. Being Afro-Latino is not easy. Now, putting all three together is definitely not easy, but a group of Ballet Hispánico artists is putting a new spin on the experience with their performances.
Leonardo Brito and Gabrielle Sprauve are part of the dance company, and they've found in art an opportunity to express themselves and move forward.
"Being in Ballet Hispánico is a way to live my dream of being a dancer and at the same time proudly share my story and the story of my people," Brito told AL DIA News.
This group of young people who make up the largest Latino/Hispanic cultural organization in the United States and one of America's Cultural Treasures, traveling to various stages showing great stories through their dance steps.
However, it was not always easy for them to dedicate themselves to this full-time. According to Brito, "there are many barriers to get to this point." For him, coming from a humble home was a challenge, as he dedicated much of his life "to survive" amid the responsibilities of dance, school and work.
For Gabrielle, the situation has been no different, and like many of her peers, she has also had to face the doubts of the people around her who made her believe that she was not the best at what she did.
"My biggest inspiration is myself. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am not only as a dancer but as a woman of color," said Gabrielle, who added that today she recognizes her greatness and is willing to inspire others as well.
These Ballet Hispánico artists recognize that today there is not enough Afro-Latina representation in different artistic spaces, although, unlike previous times, social media has created a space where one can now connect with other peers.
"Although social media gives us the opportunity to connect with our people everywhere, we should be more involved in the dance world because we deserve to be taken into account and valued," Sprauve said as a criticism of the lack of visibility suffered today.
Despite all the difficulties that Afro-Latino artists have to endure to fulfill their dreams of dance, both Leonardo and Gabrielle agree that there are no barriers that prevent them from fulfilling their dreams.
"There will be days when it seems impossible, but you do your part and the wind will blow in your favor," said Leonardo as a way to inspire his future colleagues. To this Gabrielle added that "you should not believe in anyone who says it is not possible because you are the one who has the power over your decisions."
Ballet Hispánico will be performing on March 11 at the UCSB Arts Lectures Granada Theater in Santa Barbara, California, and March 15 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon.