Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915– ) Biography to Bessie Smith (1895–1937) Biography » Lupe Serrano: 1930—: Ballerina Biography - Born With Desire To Dance, Leapt From Mexico To New York, Danced With Nureyev, Turned Talent Toward Teaching

Lupe Serrano: 1930—: Ballerina - Leapt From Mexico To New York

ballet company american hispanic

Serrano soon joined the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, a Mexican-government sponsored troupe that celebrated the varied cultures of Mexico through their ethnic dances. With this company her fame in Mexico continued to rise. However, by 1950, 20-year-old Serrano yearned for more. Just like the little girl who couldn't help dancing through the rooms of her childhood home, the young woman that Serrano had become longed to dance across the stages of the world. She also wanted to return to ballet. The most natural jumping off point for her was New York City and in 1951 she moved there. The Mexican choreographer Sylvia Ramirez recalled Serrano's departure for New York to Noticias del día, "She went full of enthusiasm, fervor, and love for dance. She had no contract, nor the security that she'd be accepted in a ballet company, but she had talent and faith in herself, as well as solid technical training. These qualities opened the doors to the Metropolitan Opera House and the American Ballet Theatre where she soon became one of the most famous principal ballerinas of her era."

Upon her arrival in New York, Serrano auditioned for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and landed a position with the company. With the troupe she traveled throughout North and South America and made her solo debut. However, the company soon folded under financial strain and Serrano dejectedly returned to Mexico City. She promptly landed a starring role on a television show dedicated to the classical arts and danced regularly on the program. It required some changes in her performance technique. "We had to rearrange the way we covered space on the floor, because the cameras were not very mobile," she told the Dictionary of Hispanic Biography. "And you had to be much more subtle in expression, because the camera brings you much closer to the audience. On the stage, you have to think of projecting yourself a block away. Television is much more intimate."

Not long after returning to Mexico City, she was summoned back to New York by the former road manager of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He was now working for the American Ballet Theatre and suggested that Serrano audition. There was no question about it; Serrano had immense respect for the company and longed to dance with it. She left for New York where she immediately enrolled in dance classes and prepared her audition. In 1953 she was accepted into the American Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer, one of the highest ranks within a ballet company. It was the culmination of a lifetime of dreams and dancing. She recalled to the Dictionary of Hispanic Biography her feelings the first time she led the company in a grand finale. "[I thought] 'Well, look at you now, leading this group of wonderful dancers.' I felt a great sense of pride." She wasn't the only one filled with pride. By joining the American Ballet Theatre, she became the company's first Hispanic principal dancer and a role model for young Hispanic dancers worldwide.

Lupe Serrano: 1930—: Ballerina - Danced With Nureyev [next] [back] Lupe Serrano: 1930—: Ballerina - Born With Desire To Dance

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