World March 4, 2024 | 11:52 am

Dominican Ballet in Europe: a cultural odyssey reflecting national identity

The Dominican Ballet has undertaken a profound exploration into the cultural identity of the Dominican Republic, with a focus on its musical roots, expressive forms, and manifestations that project the nation’s image. This artistic endeavor, initiated by the Activando Cultura Foundation, marked the inception of the first professional dance company created in the diaspora in 2015. Led by Dominicans Hector Farias, Engels Montero, and Doris Araujo as the cultural manager, artistic director and choreographer, director, and advisor, respectively, the project aims to promote multidisciplinary dance, culture, and cultural tourism in the Dominican Republic.

Noteworthy for its significant collaborations, the MARCA PAIS project of the Activando Cultura Foundation has actively engaged with Dominican institutions abroad, including embassies, consulates, and tourism promotion offices of the Ministry of Tourism. The Dominican Ballet has also supported initiatives and projects of European entities, contributing to over 600 activities in eight years. The repertoire includes Cultural Exchanges in 2016 and 2018, the I Dominican National Games Europe 2017, the I and II Dominican Night in Madrid, Btravel Fairs, FIL Lisboa, International People’s Fair, the 78th Madrid Book Fair, Expo Dubai 2022, and Fitur 2024, where the show “Tribute to Dominicanness” was produced in collaboration with Banreservas.

The celebration of Dominicanness through the show involved 30 dancers and the musical accompaniment of the Boba Ban orchestra, featuring artists such as Adalgisa Pantaleón and Roger Zayas. The spectacle “Homenaje a la dominicanidad” took attendees on a journey into the heart of the Dominican Republic, highlighting its richness through music, dance, and cultural elements. The dancers creatively portrayed the national flower, the flower of Bayahibe, while guests were welcomed with monumental installations “Dominican Roses” and “I hope it rains Coffee,” designed by Juan Luis Guerra.

Within the framework of the renowned Fitur 2024 Tourism Fair in Spain, the Dominican Ballet conducted bachata master classes at the Dominican Republic stand, drawing a substantial audience.

The Dominican Ballet Project in Europe comprises skilled dancers, presenting new choreographies and a diverse repertoire of indigenous rhythms at various events. As part of its social responsibility initiatives, the ballet engages with immigrant communities, exemplified by Héctor Farias teaching classes at the Tetouan Immigrant Participation and Integration Center twice a month.

An adaptable and innovative organization, the Dominican Ballet seamlessly incorporates changes and appeals to new dance generations. The project’s repertoire spans traditional rhythms like Merengue, Bachata, Mangulina, Carbine, Palos, Machaco, and Pasa Pie, alongside classical and modern dance proposals, reflecting Dominican customs.

The Dominican Ballet in Europe, as a Classical, Contemporary, and Folk Dance Project, not only serves as a cultural ambassador for the tricolor but also delves into the technical, contemporary, and transcendent aspects of academic art. This unique international dance company in the diaspora, composed of young specialists in dance and cultural management, marks a historic milestone in the Dominican Republic’s artistic landscape.

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