Bette van Lunteren

Bette van Lunteren (photo: Jack Houston)

Bette van Lunteren (photo: Jack Houston)

Ballerina Bette van Lunteren danced her way from her home in Holland to the heart of La Antigua Guatemala. She graduated from the Theater Dance Department of the School of Arts in Amsterdam and taught Dutch school children for six years. Her program was one of interactive expression on a one-day theme, group by group, eventually laced together into a production to be enjoyed by parents at the end of the day.

Bette’s education in ballet, modern and jazz dance led her to explore the five rhythms in meditative dance—flow, staccato, chaos, lyric and silence—like movements of a symphony. Not surprisingly, she was intrigued when introduced to the Mayan calendar, with its marking of time according to nature. Always ready for new adventure, she decided to learn more. “I’d never heard of Guatemala,” she admits. But, noting on the calendar that Guatemala was in the middle, “It sounded so safe!” So in 2003 she packed herself up, planning a stay of four months.

“Here I connected with nature. I climbed volcanoes and rafted in rivers. The signs and numbers of the calendar became less important, and I let go of the whole thing for a few years.” She was content with a job, enjoying her new experience. “Then I took on another challenge. I was ready to get back to the dancing. And I decided I wanted to work with children again.”

Currently Bette’s focus is on choreography of the upcoming production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which includes local children as well as members of the National Ballet of Guatemala, and La Antigua musician Arturo Rosales, who was influential in her job change.

How long will ballerina Bette stay in La Antigua? “I live here,” she answers firmly. “Holland is to visit. I feel good here because of the balance with nature.”


How the Grinch Stole Christmas, written and adapted for ballet by Johnny Long, choreographed by ballerina Bette van Lunteren, will be performed at 4 p.m. on December 11 in the auditorium of Asociación Nuestros Ahijados, #106 on the road to San Felipe. The production by Dorotea, Johnny and musician Arturo Rosales features local children and members of the National Ballet of Guatemala. “Who knows?” says Johnny. “Like the British Christmas pantomime tradition that developed in the 19th century, with narration, songs, humor and audience participation, this has the possibility of becoming an annual event.”

Donation, Q40 adults, children admitted FREE! Also, limited FREE transportation leaves at 3:30pm from La Antigua central park, opposite the cathedral, and returns after the performance.

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