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Ballet Hispanico 'Leads You Through Awareness, Discovery And Expansion Of Understanding' Of Latinx Culture

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we're introducing you to Ballet Hispanico, a dance organization which honors Latinx dance culture through its work each day.

As CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported Monday, through movement, dancers tell a story -- the story of the former first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron, who rose from poverty to become a powerful leader.

"She is quite a heroine in Argentina," said Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director and CEO of Ballet Hispanico.

Vilaro brought DeAngelis into rehearsal for a sneak peak at the piece premiering in the spring.

"This is a work that is being created by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and we're very excited because it's a work by a Latina -- of a Latina -- which is important as we continue to change the narrative of stories of diversity in our landscape," Vilaro said.

As now the largest Latinx cultural organization in the country, according to Vilaro, the mission of Ballet Hispanico -- since its start 50 years ago -- has been to provide access.

"Access for people who have been marginalized, oppressed or people who just need to see themselves reflected when they weren't reflected," Vilaro said.

Vilaro, a Cuban immigrant, started with the company as a dancer and educator and now is its artistic director and CEO.

"Our heart is dance, but education is our backbone," Vilaro said.

Educating more than 1,000 children a year through the school of dance, audiences as its professional company travels the world, and the public through its community arts programming.

"That's what Ballet Hispanco does. It takes you by the hand and it leads you through that awareness, discovery and expansion of understanding our cultures," Vilaro said.

For Hispanic Heritage Month, that work is amplified, with special performances, discussions and celebrations.

Ballet Hispanico is also looking forward to bringing back its annual "A La Calle" block party after a hiatus last year due to the pandemic.

Vilaro explained "A La Calle," or "in the street," celebrates how the grassroots organization started.

With concerns of the Delta variant, the show will be virtual, but that means taking the event beyond the streets of New York.

"We feel that the block party is now available to everyone in the world," Vilaro said.

Bringing communities together to celebrate Latinx culture and contributions, through dance.

The virtual block party will take place Oct. 1. To join the free festivities and see what else Ballet Hispanico is doing for Hispanic Heritage Month, CLICK HERE.

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