A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Tina Ramirez, Founder of Ballet Hispánico
Ballet Hispánico announces a ceremony to honor the passing of dance innovator Tina Ramirez, the iconic founding artistic director of the organization, to be held this Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 5pm at 92NY. Tina Ramirez died peacefully on September 6, 2022, surrounded by her family. The event is open to the public, but seating is limited. To attend, please register in advance here.
“Words are unnecessary when movement and feeling and expression can say it all,” said Tina Ramirez, dancer and founder of Ballet Hispánico, born 1929 (Read the obituary.) – The New York Times, in the article The Artists We Lost in 2022, in Their Words.
The ceremony on February 18 will offer tribute – in both words and in movement – to all that Tina created. The memorial will feature performances by the Ballet Hispánico Company and School of Dance, with guest artists. Remarks and remembrances will be offered by Kate Lear, Chair of the Board of Directors; Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director & CEO; Verdery Roosevelt, Former Executive Director; artist Nancy Ticotin; Council Member Gale A. Brewer; and Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Founder of Dance Education Laboratory (DEL), 92NY and Ballet Hispánico Board Chair Emeritus.
“Tina was a bright light. She was an artist and activist who founded Ballet Hispánico to address structural inequities in the arts. From the moment I met her nearly twenty years ago, I knew I wanted to be part of the artistic movement she was passionately creating. Tina was fierce, brilliant, and completely her own person. She leaves behind a rich legacy of bringing dance, cultural connection, and transformation to students and communities throughout the world,” said Board Chair Kate Lear.
“Tina’s legacy lives on not only in the extraordinary gift that she left the world, but in each and every person, child, artist and family member that she touched and inspired. We are all part of her legacy of access and cultural pride and will continue her mission to give everyone the right to find their power and voice in dance,” said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director & CEO.
Tina Ramirez (1929-2022) founded Ballet Hispánico in 1970 and served as Artistic Director until 2009. Under her direction, over 45 choreographers created works for the Company, many of international stature and others in the early stages of their career, including Talley Beatty, Ramon Oller, Maria Rivera, and William Whitener, among many others.
Ms. Ramirez was born in Venezuela, the daughter of a Mexican bullfighter and grandniece to a Puerto Rican educator who founded the island’s first secular school for girls. Her performing career included international touring with the Federico Rey Dance Company, the Broadway productions of Kismet and Lute Song and the television adaptation of Man of La Mancha.
In recognition of her enduring contributions to the field of dance, Ms. Ramirez received the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest cultural honor, in 2005. Juilliard awarded her an honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts, in 2018. Numerous other awards include the Honor Award from Dance/USA (2009), the Award of Merit from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (2007), the Hispanic Heritage Award (1999), a Citation of Honor at the 1995 New York Dance and Performance Awards (the “Bessies”), the NYS Governor’s Arts Award (1987), and the NYC Mayor’s Award of Honor for Arts & Culture (1983).
From its inception, Ballet Hispánico focused on providing a haven for Black and Brown Latinx youth and families seeking artistic place and cultural sanctuary. By providing the space for Latinx dance and dancers to flourish, Ballet Hispánico uplifted marginalized emerging and working artists, which, combined with the training, authenticity of voice, and power of representation, fueled the organization’s roots and trajectory.
In 2009, Ballet Hispánico welcomed Eduardo Vilaro as its Artistic Director, ushering in a new era by inserting fresh energy to the company’s founding values and leading Ballet Hispánico into an artistically vibrant future. Today, Ballet Hispánico’s New York City headquarters house a School of Dance and state-of-the-art dance studios for its programs and the arts community.
For more information, visit www.ballethispanico.org.