Miami Open Stage Showcases Talented Local Choreographers

Categories: Dance

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Courtesy of Megan Holsinger
Dance moves
Organizers Hannah Baumgartner and Diego Salterini -- co-founders of Dance Now! Miami -- created Miami Open Stage for talented Miami choreographers to showcase their new work. They also intended it as a venue for dance enthusiasts looking for a chance to discover what's happening on the ground floor, and to pick the brains of Miami's local choreographic talent.

Just off a summer work-shopping her choreography with Earl Mosley, Angela Freger, an Orlando native, says that she now feels genuine enthusiasm for the growing dance scene here in Miami.

One of the four choreographers showcasing new work this coming Sunday, Freger's piece, "Alapse," investigates the complicated memories that persist after a dancer's performance life has been cut short by a life-altering accident. As part of Miami's talent base, Freger is convinced that ongoing efforts from organizations like Dance Now! have brought Miami to a tipping point.

See also: Subtropics Introduces the Unconventional Claudia Quintet

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Men in Drag Doing Ballet: Les Ballets Trockadero This Weekend

Categories: Dance

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Courtesy of Les Ballets Trockadero
If your S.O. would love to spend Valentine's weekend at the ballet, but to you that sounds like a total bore, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo may be a happy compromise.

This all-male, drag version of classic ballet has been charming audiences around the world for almost 40 years, and this Sunday, they're taking the Knight Concert Hall stage in size 12 pointe shoes.

See also: The Eight Best Broadway Musicals Coming to Miami in 2015

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A Contemporary Take on the Classic Carmen

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Alberto Oviedo
Miami City Ballet dancers Jeanette Delgado and Jovani Furlan in Carmen
A high-intensity drama about spirited Spaniards seems like such a good fit for Miami City Ballet, you'd think company artistic director Lourdes Lopez ran out looking for Carmen. But in a way it was Carmen that came to her.

As the centerpiece of MCB's third program of the season, this story ballet by contemporary British choreographer Richard Alston has all the elements to give it prominence in the troupe's repertoire. And, luckily for the choreographer, MCB has the craft and personalities from corps to principals -- with force, speed, flair -- to offer Carmen interpretive luxury in its first artistic home in America.

"I got a chance to see Alston's company and became very intrigued with his work," says Lopez, who's prioritized giving her dancers worthwhile opportunities to perform pieces by living choreographers. "I was especially taken by his musicality and handling of the corps," she explains.

It was through exploration of collaborative possibilities with the choreographer that Carmen unequivocally won Lopez's heart. "This struck me as absolutely perfect for Miami City Ballet," she says, singling out the piece's reliance on pointe shoes -- a rarity in Alston's work -- and its use of Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin's treatment of the original Bizet opera score.

See also: The Eight Best Broadway Musicals Coming to Miami in 2015

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Miami Contemporary Dance Makes "Light" of Anniversary Year

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Antoine de Lartigue
Ray Sullivan's Miami Contemporary Dance Company, one of Miami's most celebrated and inventive dance ensembles, celebrates its 15th birthday with a premier performance at the Colony Theatre this weekend.

Sullivan has entitled the evening "Light." He offers his audience not only a mediation on light but also portrait of the interplay between dancer and composer.

Five years ago Sullivan found himself frustrated as he looked around for music that could deepen and develop his choreography. He wondered why today there were so few partnerships like the legendary one between the early 20th-century composer Ivan Stravinsky and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. As though by magic, Sullivan would soon open a package of music sent to him out of the blue by a New York composer familiar with Sullivan's work.

The upcoming Colony evening is the result of the partnership between Sullivan and that composer, Kevin Keller. Sullivan feels that alone would be plenty of reason to celebrate.

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Miami City Ballet Choreographer Inspired by Wynwood Walls, Collaborates With Shepard Fairey

Categories: Dance

It was the Shepard Fairey murals at Wynwood Walls that first caught Justin Peck's eye. The choreographer went to Wynood Walls looking for inspiration, and he certainly found it. Fairey's murals feature prominently in Peck's latest piece, Heatscape, which will premiere at the Miami City Ballet in March.

"[Fairey] works with these mandala images that start from the center and build outward," Peck told Vogue, "and that way of working interests me choreographically."

See also: Miami City Ballet's Heatscape Chosen for Guggenheim Series

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Music Streams From the Nile to Florida

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Matjaz Kacicnik
Like few other rivers, the Nile has captured humankind's imagination from antiquity to today -- a source of life and inspiration, but of conflict as well. Just ask the men and women who integrate the group of performers, educators and activists known as the Nile Project.

Incredible music springs from the river's fertile banks. But so do cultural and environmental challenges - from booming populations to ecological degradation to political meddling. The urgency of helping preserve its basin for future generations prompted Egyptian-American ethnomusicologist Mina Girgis and Ethiopian-American singer Meklit Hadero to launch an initiative in 2011 that would address those issues.

With backgrounds as diverse as Egypt and Sudan, Ethiopia and Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, musicians and singers were invited to join a collective effort that would give voice to the Nile and its issues through music. Last year, the artists took their musical creations to nearby countries; this year, they have brought their efforts to the United States.

See also: Focus: Local Dance on Film at ScreenDance Miami

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Focus: Local Dance on Film at ScreenDance Miami

Categories: Dance

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Courtesy of Magnus Sodamin
Illuminations by Magnus Sodamin
This week Tigertail Productions presents its second ScreenDance Miami festival, which will highlight mostly local choreographers and filmmakers who are working with movement and dance on film, and dance on camera.

Many dance makers are experienced with using video and film to record and preserve dance compositions and performances, or to use video and film as a notation tool to restage a piece.But these festival artists are exploring new concepts and techniques combining the visual and movement attributes of dance with cinematic expression and essentially broadening the look, tone and location of dance.

This year the event includes the festival opening with an international offering at Perez Art Museum Miami on Wednesday followed by screenings each night respectively at the Screening Room, Miami Beach Cinematheque, and the closing two nights on Saturday and Sunday at Inkub8.

See also: Water Dance Project Takes To the Beach

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Water Dance Project Takes To the Beach

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Dale Andree
Water Dance
When dancing in tandem with the elements, anything can happen, which is part of the beauty of The National Water Dance Project's site-specific performance on Saturday, taking place on the sand and on the edge of the water in North Beach.

"The sand, the water, affects the way the body moves," says Miami choreographer Dale Andree, whose National Water Dance Project last April at the Deering Estate included 26 states with more than 80 simultaneous water dance projects that were meant to draw attention to water issues across the United States, including sea-level rise in Florida.
Saturday's event is "completely local," says Andree, who adds that she'll be doing another national event in 2016. "I didn't want to lose the momentum, so I was looking to find a way to do something locally."

She found the perfect piggyback with the MDC Live presentation of The Nile Project -- musicians from Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and other Nile River Basin lands, who sing songs about the world's longest river and the people it sustains. Andree will present her own choreography along with works by Michelle Grant-Murray, director/coordinator of dance at Miami Dade College/Kendall Campus, whose Olujimi Dance Theatre will perform. Also performing will be Momentum Dance Company, led by MDC Dance Faculty member Delma Iles, Momentum's artistic director and founder. The program is produced by Miami Dance Futures and will feature students from New World School of the Arts and Miami Dade College's Jubilation Dance Ensemble.

See also: ScreenDance Miami's Second Year to Kick Off at PAMM: "It Paints Such a Picture of the City"


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Alonzo King LINES Ain't Balanchine, and That's a Good Thing

Categories: Dance

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Photo via Alonzo King LINES
An Alonzo King dance is almost unimaginable without facility of movement, those forcefully shifting patterns of gorgeous bodies that make for a seductive surface. Yet what gives greater value to the program this San Francisco-based choreographer's LINES Ballet is bringing to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center this weekend is its depth and range of vision. The featured works -- Concerto for Two Violins, to Johann Sebastian Bach, and Writing Ground, to a collage of multicultural sacred music -- respect history and report on universals of the human condition.

"We think of the work as thought structures -- ideas put into physical form," says King. "When we tour, we have the opportunity to share those ideas across continents and cultures with thousands of people. There are no set expectations about what people should take away. Our primary focus is to stir minds and move hearts."

King's take on Concerto in D minor for Two Violins, the music for 1941's Concerto Barocco, one of Balanchine's most revered and representative works, is both gutsy and intriguing. In the Balanchine-centric world of American ballet, the late great master's artistry is often used to measure new choreographic efforts, separating saints from sinners depending on their distance from dance divinity. Compared to Balanchine's achievement, how similar, how different, is King's 2013 effort? And, through it, what can we learn about the possibilities of ballet beyond a 20th-century high point?

See also: South Floridian Mykal Laury Dances His Way Through Lion King

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ScreenDance Miami's Second Year to Kick Off at PAMM: "It Paints Such a Picture of the City"

Categories: Dance

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Courtesy of ScreenDance Miami
In the world of dance and movement, utilizing film as a medium opens up a new world of options not available in live, site-specific performance. Boundaries can be broken, the laws of physics can be defied -- when film is involved, anything is possible.

And here in Miami, anything is on the agenda. ScreenDance Miami, launching its second annual event on January 23, is a unique festival dedicated to showcasing the amazing art of dance on film that's burgeoning in our backyard.

See also: ScreenDance: A New Blend of Choreography and Film in Miami

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