One of the new Kimmel organizations is the Esperanza Academy Dance Ensemble, a Latin performing troupe from the North Philadelphia Charter School.
Its director, Tania Ramos Otón, takes advantage of the ensemble’s 15 minutes on stage at the Perelman Theater to perform excerpts from four choreographed dances.
“We’re going to do a Puerto Rican medley,” said Ramos Otón.
The Esperanza ensemble is made up of a constantly rotating troupe of high school students that Ramos Otón choreographs with a blend of modern and traditional Latin folk dance: think full, flippy skirts paired with expressive slits and jumps.
Before the pandemic, the group performed publicly on a fairly regular basis, including for the annual Puerto Rico parade. After graduating, some of his dancers studied dance in college and became professional dancers.
The ensemble has never performed on stage at the Kimmel Center, and never in the company of such revered dance companies as PHILADANCO, BalletX and the Philadelphia Ballet.
Ramos Otón said she was “extremely honored and blessed” to be among them.
“As an educator, you want your students to eventually see themselves as these artists, so that they can follow this passion,” said Ramos Otón. “The kids are even more excited. They were like, ‘Oh! They are really important people! ‘ And I said, ‘You are important too!’ “
Arts Launch 2021 is essentially a celebration marking the momentous occasion for artists and the public to come together again. The free event does not require a ticket or registration, but all participants must wear masks and show proof of vaccination prior to entry. Evidence of a negative COVID test is not sufficient.
“The health and safety of our Philadelphia community – the performers on our stages, our guests, technical teams, volunteers and staff – is our top priority,” said Ed Cambron, executive vice president and director of the operation of the Kimmel. Cultural campus. “A recent survey indicates that 99% of our public are fully immunized. “
The Kimmel Center has been forced to cancel more than 1,100 events due to the pandemic. It is only now, with a calendar of fall performances, that it comes back to life for the public. Tarnopolsky called the launch event a “gift to Philadelphia”.
“For anyone involved in the performing arts, for any artist, this connection with a live audience is like oxygen,” he said. “For us, having this opportunity to reimagine the power of the arts right now, to reconnect with audiences, is just paramount.”