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Ballet Hispanico to color Columbus’ Capitol Theatre with exotic rhythm

Courtesy of Rosalie O’Connor

People in black and white are jumping and kicking in the air, rolling on the floor and making sounds such as “Yip!” or “Eee!”

It sounds like tribal dancing but it isn’t. It’s ballet.

Ballet Hispanico, the internationally touring dance company, is scheduled to perform 8 p.m. Saturday at Capitol Theatre.

Since its founding in 1970, Ballet Hispanico has performed for more than 2 million people worldwide, and its notable alumni include actresses Jennifer Lopez and Leelee Sobieski, according to the company’s website.

Donald Borror, who is in his third year of dancing with the group, said the professional dance company performs Latino-infused ballet pieces in an effort to share Latino culture with a wider audience.

“We always try to break the mold of people’s ideas of what it means to be Hispanic,” Borror said. “It’s not just sexy or smooth. It includes diverse emotions and we want to express them with our dance movements.”   

To express those emotions, Borror said, the choreography tends to be athletic and energetic.

“We attempt to show very ‘wow’ moments to the audiences with very athletic movements like big jumps,” he said. “But we also try to show sensitive details with artistic movements.”

Borror also said theatrical components are as important as exotic rhythm and compelling dance movements in the performance.

“The tone of the stage, light and costume make the story clear,” he said. “We wear muted colors when the dance is simple and static.”

Borror said part of Saturday’s performance is an unveiling of the group’s new movement.

“We will perform a new movement for the first time in Columbus,” Borror said. “It’s called ‘Turning Eighties’ in English. With 1980s Spain punk rock, the choreography’s telling (about) being free, having a new lifestyle and being energetic.”

Borror said not only the color of costumes – silver, gold and black – but also their textures give a sense of early ’80s culture in Spain.

Ryan Collier, a second-year in political science and criminology, said dance is an effective way to share cultures.

“I don’t know too much about ballet, but I think all kinds of dances can show inside cultures of different countries,” Collier said.

Theresa Hauser, a graduate student in public health, said the different types of costumes and settings of the performance might help her understand Hispanic culture.

“I think those different elements work for me,” Hauser said. “They are definitely showing the culture in a more accurate way.”

Hauser also said that unlike her interpretation of most ballet performances, Ballet Hispanico sounds fun.

“I think I can expect a lively atmosphere,” Hauser said. “Fun and energetic, that’s what I expect from this performance.”

Borror said Ballet Hispanico offers a good chance to think about culture in general.

“Nowadays, our culture is layered with different cultures,” Borror said. “I think what we do is introduce one of (those) cultures to the audience in a very sexy way.”

Tickets for the show range from $19 to $34 and are available through Ticketmaster. Capitol Theatre is located at 77 S High St.

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