Pedro Ruiz: Coming Home, an hour-long documentary and performance film, telling the story of Pedro's return to Cuba and featuring innovative, breathtaking modern dance sequences, airs Thursday, September 29 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN. The program is part of Cantos Latinos, THIRTEEN's special Hispanic Heritage Month programming block dedicated to the contributions and unique stories of Latinos.
Before his trip, Ruiz had already achieved more than he could possibly have dreamed when his family arrived in the U.S. in 1984. For 20 years, Ruiz was the principal dancer of the Latino dance troupe Ballet Hispanico. His choreography brought even more renown, winning rave reviews from such publications as the New York Times, which called his work "a silky, sexy joy."
But for all his success, Pedro considers this year's trip the most important project of his career, providing him the opportunity to show his work in the homeland he still misses desperately, and to share his love of dance with the current generation of Cuban dance stars.
A WNET crew traveled with Ruiz to Havana (also with the permission of both the U.S. and Cuban governments) to document this cultural exchange. Over the course of a month, he experiences a profound artistic and human journey. The cameras follow Pedro, his assistant choreographers, Eric Rivera and Angelica Burgos, and the dancers though the process of creating an exquisite, innovative and deeply personal modern dance.
The film also intimately showcases some of Cuba's best young dancers both as artists and as human beings. Ruiz visits his hometown, Santa Clara, his first visit there since his family left Cuba 30 years ago, and he experiences exuberant reunions with his godfather, who still lives in the house where Pedro was born, and his childhood best friend.
When the dancers come to New York City for their first-ever trip to the United States, they express their feelings about a country most thought they would never have the chance to see.
Along with in-depth interviews with Pedro and seven of the dancers, behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage, and performance footage shot from six different angles, the film includes extensive sequences of the dancers and Pedro himself performing his choreography in locations throughout Havana.