Herman Cornejo: American Ballet’s Superstar
It is said when you see Argentinean born ballet super-star Herman Cornejo dance you see the nimbleness of Rudolf Nureyev and the greatest of Mikhail Baryshnikov, whom he is often compared to. Cornejo is a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT); one of the United States most venerated cultural institutions. The ABT is enjoying a Latino invasion and is seeing awed audiences and increased attendance thanks in great part to Cornejo and the other 5 Latino principal dancers. Many Latino dancers leave their native country because they have few professional opportunities and the arts are not as heavily endorsed as they are in the U.S. Cornejo was not an exception leaving Argentina at 17 years old to pursue his dancing dreams.
Cornejo came to the U.S. when he was invited to be a dancer by the ABT. He swiftly rose through the ranks of the ABT from dancer to soloist to principal, sharing the stage with fellow principal’s Argentinean Paloma Herrera, Cubans Jose Manuel Carreno and Siomara Reynes and Brazilian Marcelo Gomes. Cornjeo sees himself as part of that Latino dance explosion but only a minor player however many don’t agree viewing him as the brightest star of the group, described by critics as “the most technically accomplished male ballet dancer in the United States.”
The ‘90s in ballet dance was the era of the Russians and now it is the time for Hispanic performers to take center stage and many are. They are dominating the craft, reaching the upper echelons of different U.S. ballet company’s not only the ABT. For example, Cornejo’s sister is a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet. He attributes the Latino dancer’s success to “the American public loving the salsa we put into the dance.”