If you missed it live and in-person during the winter of 2022, the next installment of the new PBS primetime performing arts series Next at the Kennedy Center, a multi-year collaboration between the two organizations, will feature Ballet Hispánico’s Doña Perón, an exploration through dance of the rags-to-riches journey and controversial legacy of Eva “Evita” Perón – one of the most famous women in Argentinian history – from her beginnings as the illegitimate daughter of a prosperous farmer, to becoming a dancehall performer, radio personality, and Argentina’s First Lady, to her premature death at the age of 33.
Choreographed by award-winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and set to the music of composer Peter Salem, Ballet Hispánico’s Dandara Veiga (Eva “Evita” Perón), Chris Bloom (Juan Perón), and the company’s ensemble bring artistry, emotion, and a Latinx perspective to Doña Perón, capturing the inner conflict and the extremes of power and powerlessness she experienced in her life, as she was loved by Juan Peron but rejected by the aristocracy, dedicated to justice yet part of a regime with fascist tendencies, and an activist and advocate for Argentina’s women and working class while indulging in an opulent high-class lifestyle. Was she a devoted voice for the people or a deceitful actress and social climber?
Along with the full-length performance filmed live at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall, the PBS special includes behind-the-scenes off-stage moments, first-person commentary, and interviews with the performers and creative team of Ballet Hispánico – the largest Hispanic cultural organization in the US, based in NYC, founded by National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez in 1970, and now led by Artistic Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro (who was first recruited as a dancer by Ramirez in 1985). The illuminating discussions consider the significance of Doña Perón and the process behind its conception and creation, intended to provide the opportunity for artists of Latinx heritage to reclaim the narrative with their own interpretation of the historical icon, whose story is most widely associated with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s multi-award-winning Broadway musical Evita.