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Viviana Basanta

About this Artist

Born in Mexico City to dancer and choreographer Amalia Hernández and Argentine writer Joaquín Basanta, Viviana Basanta began her dance studies at the age of 5, in both traditional Mexican dance at the Ballet Folklórico de México and classical dance with Nellie Happee. At 13, she joined the National Ballet of Mexico under Maestra Guillermina Bravo, studying contemporary dance. Later, she studied modern and contemporary dance and jazz technique abroad, with teachers such as Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Hanya Holm, Alvin Ailey, and Katherine Dunham. In 1977, she returned to the Ballet Folklórico de México as a dancer, strengthening the future of the company created by her mother.

In 1979, she was named Principal Dancer of the Ballet Folklórico de México and later Artistic Director of the company. She has held the position for more than 15 years, along with acting as director of the Ballet’s school for 10 years.

Since then, Basanta has carried out some of the research that was essential for the realization of Amalia Hernández’s ballets, such as Mexican Christmas, Sones, Gustos de Guerrero, and Tlaxlala.

The career of Amalia Viviana Basanta Hernández as a dancer has continued to grow for more than 25 years, with more than 4,000 performances in the most important arts venue in Mexico—the Palacio de Bellas Artes, along with international tours and guest appearances. She has received numerous awards, including the César Chávez Medal at Michigan State University; the Artistry of Mexico Recognition, awarded by the U.S. Congress; and the Ulama Award and the Sor Juana Medal from the Mexican government. She was also a special guest of Ensemble National de Folklore Les Sortilèges in Montreal, Canada, as a soloist dancer.

In 2002, Basanta founded the Amalia Hernández Dance Academy (ACADEZ) in Interlomas, Mexico, which has been a resounding success, with more than 300 students having passed through its doors. Another of her projects is the Mexico in Motion Contemporary Dance Company, which she began in 2005.

Her choreographic work has gone beyond the borders of Mexico, through the creation and presentation of staged performances such as De Cara al Mar with the Grandeza Mexicana Dance Company; Fandango y Danzón with the Resurrección Company in Los Angeles; and Leyenda de la Mulata de Córdoba (contemporary dance) with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in Denver.

Basanta continues to inspire, develop, and teach at the Ballet Folklórico de México through her artistic direction as well as through the creation and staging of numerous choreographies, including Mexican Christmas, Easter, The Old Man’s Conga, Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Márquez, the Canasteras del Barrio de la Trinidad, Dance of the Feather, and Pinotepa.