Ballet Hispánico at SMC

Ballet Hispánico Gives Master Classes at Santa Monica College

Collaboration with The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center Gives Students Access to World-Class Artistes

Ballet Hispánico’s Melissa Verdecia (far left) teaches a ballet master class to Santa Monica College students on Thursday, March 21 at the SMC Core Performance Center.

Salsa Master ClassSalsa Master Class with Lyvan VerdeciaBallet Hispánico’s Lyvan Verdecia (center) teaches a salsa master class to Santa Monica College students on Thursday, March 21 at the SMC Core Performance Center.

Modern Dance Master ClassModern Dance Master Class with Chris BloomBallet Hispánico’s Chris Bloom (foreground) gives a modern dance master class for Santa Monica College students on Thursday, March 21 at the SMC Core Performance Center.

Photo Credit: Francine McDougall

March 29, 2019

SANTA MONICA, CA—Members of Ballet Hispánico—the premier Latino dance organization in the U.S. for nearly half a century—gave master classes to roughly 80 Santa Monica College (SMC) dance students on Thursday, March 21 at the sun-lit Core Performance Center on the college’s main campus in Santa Monica. Chris Bloom taught modern dance; Lyvan Verdecia, salsa; and Melissa Verdecia, ballet.

It was a unique opportunity for SMC students to learn directly from dancers The Washington Post has called “. . . the most technically accomplished and musical dancers you’ll find in the contemporary sphere.” The master classes are part of an ongoing collaboration with The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center Education & Community Programs.

SMC students can avail themselves of deeply discounted tickets and special events such as the master classes, while “spotlight talks” feature SMC fine arts professors who are experts in their fields and lead pre- and post-show conversations, panel discussions or Q&A's before select performances at The Broad Stage. SMC dance professor Vanessa Van Wormer gave the spotlight talk before Ballet Hispánico’s Saturday, March 23 performance at The Broad Stage.

Other master classes planned for the remainder of the Spring 2019 semester include an improvisation and youth theater workshop with Story Pirates on April 18; a master class on May 14 with artist-in-residence and violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill, Emmy® Award winner, two-time GRAMMY® nominee, and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient; and a screening with the SMC Music Department on May 23 of O’Neill’s Hello?! Orchestra (co-created with the Korean broadcaster MBC TV and SEN Media in 2012, the film tracks an international group of children, many who face difficulties because of their multicultural heritage in Korea. Started in 2012, Hello?! Orchestra began with 24 children from Ansan, South Korea and has grown to include more than 50 children who perform regularly).

From its grassroots origins as a dance school and community-based performing arts troupe, Ballet Hispánico has grown into a world-class institution. Recognized for her achievements by the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest cultural honor, Tina Ramirez founded Ballet Hispánico in 1970. 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. In August 2009, Ballet Hispánico welcomed Eduardo Vilaro as its Artistic Director. See the Ballet Hispánico website for more information.

Santa Monica College offers an Associate in Arts degree in Dance, as well as a Teacher of Dance Pre K-5 Certificate among various options for students interested in performance, choreography, teaching and related careers in dance; SMC also prepares the serious dance student for transfer to universities and conservatory programs. The SMC dance program is considered a unique gem in two-year training programs. In Spring 2017, SMC unveiled the Core Performance Center, which features four spacious sunlit studios dedicated to the Dance Department. SMC students in the contemporary dance ensemble Synapse and the global dance ensemble Global Motion perform in four full-length dance concerts each year at The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit the SMC Dance Department website.

# # # #

About Santa Monica College

Founded in 1929, Santa Monica College is a California Community College accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In addition to being California’s leader in transfers to the University of California system, the University of Southern California, and Loyola Marymount University, SMC also offers more than 110 career training degrees and certificates. SMC provides news and cultural enrichment through its NPR radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) and The Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center as well as lifelong learning through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus Program for older adults.