Starting September 15 and lasting for 30 days, is Hispanic Heritage Month. Last week we looked at Pulitzer prize winning author Junot Diaz. Over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at different heroes, both male and female, of Hispanic and Latin American descent.
This week, the ICC profiles Lourdes Lopez. Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba. Her family came to the U.S. in 1958, when she was only an infant. As she grew, her feet began to hurt. Her family discovered she had pigeon toes, and from approximately age two to five she had to wear special orthopedic shoes. In order to strengthen the muscles in her feet and legs, she began ballet.
Once her orthopedic shoes came off, her parents asked her if she wanted to continue in ballet. And she did. She took ballet there near her home in Miami from a Russian teacher until she was 10. She was accepted into school in New York, to continue her ballet study, but she chose to remain studying at home for another four years. At 14 she enrolled in the School of American Ballet in New York City.
She joined New York City Ballet at 16, becoming a principal dancer in 1984 and performing numerous roles in the works of Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. After retiring as a dancer, Ms. Lopez worked as a culture reporter for WNBC in New York, an administrator at Ballet Academy East in New York and, starting in 2002, executive director of the George Balanchine Foundation. (Via)
Her successful career, her power as a dancer, her skills and hard work, led her to be asked to head the Miami City Ballet. When Lourdes Lopez got the call [...] she experienced a moment of sheer exhilaration. “I’m soon to be 54 and I seldom get giddy anymore, but…” says the former New York City Ballet dancer of the moment she learned she would become the next artistic director of the Miami City Ballet, succeeding Edward Villella, who founded the company in 1986. “It’s still a bit surreal at this point. These are huge shoes to fill.” (Via)
This wasn’t the end of Lopez’s success. She eventually began her own ballet company called Morphoses–an avant garde, contemporary company that seeks to re-invigorate ballet and modern dance: [Morphoses] has revolutionized the ballet world with innovative and contemporary choreography, costumes, music, set design, and programming to attract a wider audience. (Via)