Ballet Hispanico's Carnaval 2019 -- Honors Miami City Ballet's Lourdes Lopez

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Dandara Veiga. Photo: Paula Lobo. 

Ballet Hispánico will honor Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet, with the Ballet Hispánico Toda Una Vida-Lifetime Achievement Award for her glass ceiling-shattering career as a Principal Dancer with the New York City Ballet, her extraordinary artistic leadership in the classical dance world, and for being a cultural ambassador for dance. The Ballet Hispánico Nuestra Inspiración Award will be awarded to the television sensation Dancing with the Stars for nurturing a new generation of dance lovers, inspiring people to dance, and showcasing dance in all of its diversity.

Cocktails begin at 6:30pm and dinner and dancing commence at 7:30pm. Proceeds, which totaled over $1.1 million last year, will underwrite Company performances, School of Dance scholarships, and Community Arts Partnerships programs that engage audiences, students, and communities in New York City, across the United States, and around the world.

"Ballet Hispánico is deeply honored to celebrate Lourdes Lopez and Dancing with the Stars," said Board Chair Kate Lear, "We celebrate Lourdes' immense contribution to dance as an artist and artistic director, and the incredible influence of Dancing with the Stars in providing an international platform for Latin social dance and all dance forms." 

"As an American Company that was founded to give voice to the Latino experience through dance, Ballet Hispánico is excited to celebrate Lourdes Lopez and Dancing with the Stars for their contributions to the arts and our culture," said Eduardo Vilaro, Artistic Director and CEO. 

Ballet Hispánico's annual Carnaval Gala is a celebration of the impactful voices of the Latino world-an exciting and fitting way to showcase the resilience and unparalleled vision of one of America's cultural gems. Attended by more than 500 of New York's most influential civic leaders, philanthropists, and artists, the evening is filled with live Latin music and thrilling performances by the Ballet Hispánico Company and students of the School of Dance. This year's event will include live music by Los Hacheros, and a Company performance choreographed by Val Chmerkovskiy of Dancing with the Stars setting a piece on Company that will be presented at the Gala. Chmerkovskiy is a two-time World Latin Dance Champion and a 14-time U.S. National Latin Dance champion.

Lourdes Lopez became Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet in September 2012, bringing with her a nearly 40-year career in dance, television, teaching and arts management. Lopez has become one of the ballet world's most prominent and accomplished contributors. Dance Magazine named her a 2018 recipient of its prestigious Dance Magazine Awards, choosing Lopez for her "...admirable stewardship of Miami City Ballet, building upon the company's Balanchine legacy while also embracing the local culture and community of Miami," and as " exemplary leader, someone whom dancers look up to and are inspired by." In 2017, the magazine also named her one of "The Most Influential People in Dance Today." 

Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and raised in Miami by her parents along with two sisters.  She began taking ballet lessons at the age of 5. At 14, she moved to New York permanently to study full-time at the School of American Ballet. Shortly after turning 16, she joined the corps de ballet of New York City Ballet. She was promoted to Soloist in 1981 and to Principal Dancer in 1984. During her career, she danced for two legends of the art form - George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Upon retirement, Lopez joined WNBC-TV in New York as a Cultural Arts reporter. She was also a full-time senior faculty member and Director of Student Placement, Student Evaluation and Curriculum Planning at New York's Ballet Academy East, served on the dance faculty of Barnard College and guest taught at numerous dance institutions and festivals in the U.S. Other past achievements include executive director of The George Balanchine Foundation; co-founder of The Cuban Artists Fund and Morphoses with Christopher Wheeldon; recipient of the Jerome Robbins Award and the American Immigration Law Foundation award honoring Cuban Americans; dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts; and a member of the Ford Foundation's Board of Trustees. Lopez is married to investment banker George Skouras.  They are the parents of two daughters: Adriel and Calliste.

This year's Gala Chairs are Jody and John Arnhold, Richard Feldman, Kate Lear and Jonathan LaPook, David Pérez and Milena Alberti-Pérez, and Rita E. Rodriguez. Attire for the event is festive black tie. 

To purchase tickets, a table, a journal advertisement, or for more information, please contact Lorraine LaHuta at 212-362-6710, ext. 28 or or visit

For more information, visit Follow Ballet Hispanico on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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