Lourdes Lopez Named Executive Director Of The George Balanchine Foundation
YORK CITY - Lourdes Lopez has been
appointed as the new executive director of The George Balanchine
Foundation. A former principal
dancer of New York City Ballet, Ms. Lopez, will oversee the Foundation’s many
activities and will work to develop funding to support the organization’s
The George Balanchine Foundation
is a public charity that was incorporated in 1983, five months after
Balanchine’s death, to utilize the Balanchine legacy in order to advance the highest standards of excellence in dance and its allied arts in the United
States and throughout the world. The Foundation has pursued these goals through
ongoing projects, which include The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives
that are video documentations of coaching sessions by leading dancers who
worked directly with George Balanchine.
Other projects include lecture programs by leading dancers and dance
historians, and the exploration of new technologies to be used for dance
Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba, and
spent her early years in Miami, Florida.
She moved to New York City at the age of fourteen to attend the School
of American Ballet. Shortly after
her sixteenth birthday, George Balanchine invited Ms. Lopez to join the corps
of New York City Ballet.
Ms. Lopez was soon
seen in leading corps and soloist roles in the company’s repertory. Among them were the “Arabian” variation
in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, the “Coquette” in Balanchine’s La Sonnnambula, and a principal role in his Divertimento No. 15. Following
a successful European tour where Ms. Lopez danced principal roles in
Balanchine’s Strainvsky Violin Concerto, Serenade, and Apollo, Mr. Balanchine promoted her to soloist in 1981, and
in 1984, she was made a principal dancer.
Her many roles while in the company included leads in Balanchine’s Agon, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Concerto Barocco,
Cortége Hongrôis, The Four Temperaments, Jewels (“Emeralds”), Kammermusik No.
2, Liebeslieder Walzer,
and Stripes, Symphony in C, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, Tschaikovsky
Suite No. 3, Union Jack, Western Symphony, Who Cares?, and the Balanchine/Robbins collaboration Firebird; Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, Concertino,
The Four Seasons, Glass Pieces, The Goldberg Variations, In The Night, Ives
Songs and Brandenburg; Peter
Martins’ Fearful Symmetries, Jazz (Six Syncopated Movements), and The Sleeping Beauty. Ms. Lopez also
originated roles in several guest choreographers’ ballets. Among them were: Laura Dean’s Space, William Forsythe’s Behind The China Dogs, and Lar Lubovitch’s Rhapsody in Blue during the company’s 1988 spring American Music
Festival, and John Alleyne’s The New Blondes, which was presented during the company’s 1994
While in New York City
Ballet Ms. Lopez performed on several world tours with Edward Vilella and Peter
Martins, and she appeared several times with NYCB on the PBS series “Dance in
America.” In addition, Ms. Lopez
performed the role of “Hot Chocolate” in the film version of George
Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™,
produced by Elektra Entertainment/New Regency Enterprises, and distributed by
Warner Brothers in 1993.
activities, both while at New York City Ballet and since, have included an
active involvement in arts educational programs. Included among them are her
contributions to NYCB’s educational Family Matinees; her performing on, and
contributing to, several episodes of the popular PBS children’s television
series “Sesame Street;” her receipt of the Gold Medal of Honor from Casita
Maria for her volunteer work with underprivileged children, which included
teaching an integrated arts program created by Ms. Lopez; being a senior
faculty member of Ballet Academy East since 1998 where she held the title of
Director of Student Placement, Student Evaluation and Curriculum Planning for
the BAE Graded Level Program, being a guest teacher at Barnard College, and
guest teaching at various institutions and dance festivals throughout the
Shortly after Ms.
Lopez retired from New York City Ballet in 1995, she freelanced with WNBC
television as an on-air cultural arts reporter where she produced feature
segments on the arts, artists, arts education and human-interest stories. While at WNBC, she was sent to Cuba to
report on the island’s emerging cultural climate. Ms. Lopez’s segments featured the National Ballet of Cuba,
Cuban visual artists, performing arts schools and the evolution of salsa.
Ms. Lopez is one of
the founders of the Cuban Artists Fund, a not-for-profit organization whose
mission is based on the belief that the Cuban artistic vitality and spirit
needs to be nurtured. CAF helps
support independent Cuban and Cuban-American artists in their various
endeavors, and seeks to help build cross-cultural understanding through the
Ms. Lopez is featured
in the recently published book, Famous Hispanic Americans, published by
Cobblehill Books, a division of Dutton Press.