Fierce

Elisa Carrillo Made History As The First Mexican Woman To Win This Prestigious Ballet Award And She Dedicated It To Her Home Country

Mexican dancer Elisa Carrillo just made history. The performer picked up the Benois de la Danse prize, an award that has been described as the ballet world’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize or the Oscar.

Carrillo, 38, won the prestigious prize for her role as Juliet in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet.

“I dedicate this prize to the Mexican people,” she said at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. “We’ll never stop fighting and working to achieve our dreams.”

@elisacarrillocabrera / Instagram

With her win, Carillo, who was raised in Texcoco, became the second Mexican dancer to be awarded the Benois. Guadalajara-born Isaac Hernández took home the award last year. Carrillo is, however, the first Mexican woman and the first female hailing from Latin America to receive the prize.

Carrillo began studying classical dances when she was just six years old. Her talents helped her get into the National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance of the INBA. By 14, a distinguished performance at a youth contest earned her a gold medal and scholarship to continue her studies at the English National Ballet School in London, England. Since 2011, she has been the lead female dancer at the Berlin State Ballet.

Along with the Benoit, Carrillo has also won the Soul of Dance prize, the Medalof Merit in Art and a top prize at the International Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, among many more.

@elisacarrillocabrera / Instagram

In Mexico, Carrillo has been using her fame to help make classical dance education accessible to low-income youth. In 2019, she partnered with the government to establish the Elisa Carrillo scholarship.

“There’s a lot of talent in Mexico, but unfortunately sometimes parents can’t support their children economically, or they can’t get information,” she said, according to Mexico News Daily.

Additionally, this year, she has been helping to organize the second annual Danzatlán festival in Mexico City, where international leaders in dance will gather in July.

@elisacarrillocabrera / Instagram

For her efforts, Mexico’s Culture Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and CONACULTA gave her the title of Ambassador of Culture.

“There are more and more people going to shows, more and more children taking classes,” she told the magazine Quién after winning the Benois prize about dance in her home country.

“I think that everything we’ve done in the past few years has helped people take another point of view and see dance as a way of living and enjoying life,” she added.

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