Pedro Pablo Pena, dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, CEO, was a passionate proponent for the Hispanic Arts in America and a beloved, respected figure in Miami. Born in Havana, Cuba, he fueled his artistic dreams and his love of the ballet at the National Ballet of Cuba, studying and dancing with some of the most famous and important dance personalities of his era while also developing his talent as a choreographer. But Mr. Pena longed for freedom, the freedom to express himself artistically, to speak, think and travel freely, and the opportunity for a future that the repressive regime in Cuba would never allow. With only his dreams he escaped on the Mariel Boatlift to the U.S.A., landing in Miami full of hope and the belief that here his vision for the future could become a reality. Over the years, through much hard work and dedication, Mr. Pena accomplished much, but never lost sight of where he came from, always generously helping those who followed in his footsteps.
Mr. Pena was the founder and director of three of the more important non-profit arts organizations in Miami, as well as a respected ballet teacher and choreographer. Upon arriving in 1983 he formed his first company, the Creation Ballet that became Miami Hispanic Ballet, marshalling the talent of local and exiled artists. In 1995 Mr. Pena created the annual International Ballet Festival of Miami, now in its twenty-third year. The Festival is recognized as one of the most important in the United States, bringing to South Florida residents and star dancers from famous ballet companies from the U.S.A., South America, Europe and Asia. For many of these dancers, it was the first time they have appeared in America. Mr. Pena also created a space for a dance films series and art exhibitions. He allowed college students to attend a young medalist winner’s dance performance free of charge, in an effort to attract new audiences and an appreciation of this beautiful art form.
In 2006, Mr. Pena formed the stellar Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami to preserve the breathtaking style and technique of the famed Cuban Ballet in exile, drawing on the incredible Cuban diaspora of talented dancers that has spread internationally, many of them having passed through Mr. Pena’s doors at the start of their careers. He also created Creation Art Center presenting the best in Hispanic literature, theater and music.
Throughout the years Mr. Pena had a grand vision to create a space that would feature all the Hispanic Arts for the enjoyment of both English and Hispanic audiences. In 2010, this vision became a reality. The Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center was formed with a beautiful home in the historic Miami J.W. Warner House, appropriately located in Little Havana. The Center presents theater, concerts, art exhibits, film showings, music and dance classes, and houses the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami School. For his herculean efforts and struggles in the name of art, Pedro Pablo Pena has received numerous awards. His last wishes were to thank all who have supported him and to carry on his vision and legacy.