UPDATE (10/2/2022): The street renaming has been postponed due to inclement weather. A new date will be announced soon. The block party will take place inside at 167 West 89th Street.
Ballet Hispánico, the “largest Latinx cultural organization in the United States,” will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a street renaming ceremony right outside its headquarters (167 West 89th Street) this weekend.
The event will take place on Sunday at 11 a.m. and the street — between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues — will now be known as Ballet Hispánico Way.
Following the dedication, festivities will continue with the dance outfit’s annual A La Calle Block Party from 12 to 4 p.m.
Ballet Hispánico was founded by Tina Ramirez in 1970. In a 1984 interview with the New York Times, Ramirez said there “wasn’t a dance company that represented the Hispanic people. At that time, people didn’t know what Hispanic meant — not even the Hispanics.”
Ramirez recalled pushback from people over her decision to call the company Ballet Hispánico. “People felt I should name it after a country or a city or a town. But I said no, because we’re 21 nations that all speak Spanish — and we should all be included.”
Ballet Hispánico has trained countless dancers while staging performances across the nation over its 50-plus-year history.
Tina Ramirez passed away on Tuesday, September 9 at her Upper West Side home. Ballet Hispánico Artistic Director and CEO Aduardo Vilaro said Ramirez “was fiercely proud of her heritage and her community” in an email to the NY Times. “She had such a great eye for choreographers who could marry the dance forms, music and aesthetics of the Spanish-speaking world to contemporary dance techniques. There was nothing like it when she started.”
The A La Calle Block Party will feature performances from Flamenco Vivo, Bombazo Dance Company and Capulli Mexican Dance Company, as well as the Ballet Hispánico’s Pa’lante Scholars and students from its School of Dance. Free dance classes, live music and food from local vendors will also be available.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is the time of the year when the country comes together to learn about and acknowledge the Latinx community and our heritage with great pride, highlighting the many contributions our vibrant community and artists have made and continue to make to this country,” said Eduardo Vilaro in a statement to ILTUWS.
You can register for Ballet Hispánico’s free Sunday event here.