Ballet Hispanico

Local dancer explores his roots

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CAPA presents Ballet Hispanico Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $19.50-$34.

Donald Borror landed a job with New York City-based Ballet Hispanico in part as a result of an invitation from someone with the company who attended a performance he was in while a student at the Juilliard School.

Soon he found himself in rehearsals with the vanguard dance troupe, receiving, er, high-decibel critique and demonstrative instruction.

“When I first joined, there were days when I struggled to move well,” Borror said with a laugh. “I never identified with this kind of dance.” The Dublin native’s earliest dance experience was geared toward musical theater, in performances with central Ohio organizations such as Columbus Children’s Theatre and Pleasure Guild. In middle school, he started attending ballet classes at the BalletMet Dance Company, and classical dance “just sort of clicked.”

He finished his high school education at the Walnut Hill School in Natick, Mass., “a ballet boarding school,” graduating in 2006. He received a BFA from Juilliard in 2010, earning the Martha Hill prize. It was prior to graduation that he began working for Ballet Hispanico. After getting his feet wet, “it’s been a harmonious experience.” In fact, the experience has allowed Borror to examine his own cultural heritage in a way he hadn’t previously.

His mother emigrated from Colombia when she was a teenager, but her family encouraged speaking English as a way to become “American.”

Borror called the company “the ultimate hybrid dance company. It’s modeled after any cutting-edge modern dance/ballet company, but with a cultural specificity. It’s just not pointed feet and violins but pointed feet with marimbas.

“All Ballet Hispanico works are passionate, theatrical and physical,” he added. “It’s as emotive as it is athletic.”

Borror is excited to be returning to his hometown on the troupe’s current tour. “It’s the greatest gift for me,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to share my hometown with the rest of the company, but also to show my friends and family what I’m doing with my life now.”