I’ve seen many great dance companies courtesy of High 5, including Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, and the New York City Ballet. I am a dance student, and in order to advance my artistry, I try to go watch as many different styles of dance as I can, which I would not be able to afford to do without High 5.

On Sunday, October 12th, I had the privilege of watching Ballet Hispanico perform at the Joyce Theater. I sat in the second row, one row closer than when I last visited the Joyce Theater to see Momix. At that performance, the closeness of my seat made me lose some of the scope and mystery of the overall performance. But this was definitely a different experience for me. Sitting so near to the stage just made me appreciate the intricacy of the dancers’ footwork even more and their dramatic facial expressions heightened the intimacy of their performance. They really committed to acting out the emotions of the choreography and that drew me in.

Every one of the Ballet Hispanico dancers was incredibly talented. I would describe Ballet Hispanico as a hybrid of ballet, modern, jazz, salsa and flamenco. The program consisted of 3 dance numbers (Tito on Timbales, Destino Incierto, and Stages) and a musical interlude performed by the Latin Rhythm Percussion Ensemble. The style of music performed wasn’t something I usually listen to, however I really enjoyed it. The musicians’ high energy perfectly matched that of the dancers.

The dancers were very passionate with their movement, especially when they performed the “Destino Incierto” number, which was a “Carmen” trio. This number involved a lot of lifts between the three dancers. The dancer who played the role of fiery Carmen was like hot liquid melting in and around her competing partners, Don Jose and Escamillo; it was amazingly graceful and beautiful. The whole thing was performed so smoothly that it almost seemed effortless. It wasn’t until much later that I thought about the enormous power and control it must take to pull something like that off so well.

On the other hand, “Tito on Timbales” was the polar opposite — a very rhythmic, athletic, and fast paced number that had somewhat of a flamenco feel to it with a lot of syncopated head movements. There was a lot of partnering going on in the dance with the entire company participating and everything was seamlessly synchronized.

But my favorite number had to be “Stages,” a very sentimental traditional “story-telling” kind of piece. “Stages” showed the life of a young girl interested in dance. It went from her being a little would-be ballerina in dance school, to her as a grown woman working with a choreographer/teacher and partner, then progressed to her as teacher and finally to an elderly beloved dance mistress holding court in a classroom of adoring students.

There’s not a single thing I didn’t love about this show, and if given the choice, I would definitely see Ballet Hispanico perform again. You don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy this show; anyone with a beating heart will be caught up in the excitement of this company.