Flamenco Festival's Celia Fonta: "Flamenco 'Alante' is an Endangered Art"

Categories: Dance, Festivals

Courtesy Celia Fonta
Siempre Flamenco, a Miami based Flamenco arts organization, is widely recognized in town for the quality of the festivals they have presented. The organization was founded by the husband and wife team of Paco and Celia Fonta -- he is a Flamenco guitarist and singer; she is a Flamenco dancer. Their individual performances as well as their classes have won the organization even more support.

We talked to Celia Fonta about their upcoming festival, which starts weekend at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

See also: Ifé-Ilé Afro-Cuban Dance Festival Returns to Miami

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Ifé-Ilé Afro-Cuban Dance Festival Returns to Miami

Photo by Nelson Alvarez
"I've got one foot in Miami and one foot in the Caribbean," says Neri Torres, the founder and director of the Ifé-Ilé Dance Company, which will host its 16th annual Ifé-Ilé Afro-Cuban Dance Festival from Thursday, August 28, through Saturday, August 30. This is true for her culturally, as a Cuban artist living in Miami who is intent on keeping Cuban traditions alive on foreign shores. She also lives part-time in the Caribbean, as a lecturer in dance at the University of the West Indies. But she considers Miami home.

As a teacher, performer and choreographer, Torres has brought high-quality dance and performance to the Miami community year after year through the Ifé-Ilé festival. We recently spoke with her about this year's festival -- taking place for the first time in Little Havana -- and her future creative direction.

See also: Copperbridge Foundation Brings Cuban Artists to Miami Stages

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Artist Jenna Balfe Dances in Mangroves, Teaches Healing with Performance and Nature

Categories: Dance

Courtesy of Jenna Balfe
Jenna Balfe climbs through mangroves. Her strong, lean body weaves through the intricately tangled branches. This is her art, her dance, and her healing. She knows that she probably won't fall, but if she does, Balfe, a clear-thinking, creative individual, will take whatever shit situation befalls her, learn from it, and use that new knowledge to help other broken people mend.

For a few years now, Balfe has been committed to her Body Movement class. "I don't want it to be like a normal dance class," she says. And it certainly isn't. Each lesson allows regular folks, as well as those more in tune with their physicality, to explore their and each others' bodies, the space they occupy, and a natural environment. Balfe calls these free classes democratic, adding that the students are oftentimes teachers, that she's merely providing the place and some guidance. But that would downplay her very important role in this complex project, one that continues to evolve with an upcoming performance, People/Trees/Here, taking place in a Coconut Grove mangrove forest.

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Copperbridge Foundation Brings Cuban Artists to Miami Stages

Geo Darder gets down with the culture in Cuba.
Here in Miami, more than in any other city in America, an encounter with Cuban culture is akin to a return to the roots. No matter whether it's dance or art, music or theater, it's the heritage itself that seems to matter most, with the artistic and entertainment elements often affirming a personal connection.

That may seem like a broad-based generalization, but given Miami's population and its sizeable Cuban quotient, there's no denying its accuracy. It's especially true in the case of Geo Darder, the founder and artistic director of the Copperbridge Foundation, an artistic initiative he and a group of partners launched four years ago as a means of facilitating the exhibition and interpretation of artistic works from the Caribbean, Africa, North and South America, and Cuba in particular.

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Hattie Mae Williams Seeks Dancers For Miami Marine Stadium Film Project

Hattie Mae Williams is a Miami-bred badass. After graduating from New World in Miami and then getting a degree with honors from Fordham/Alvin Ailey in New York -- one of the single most respected contemporary dance programs in the country -- Williams established her own modern dance corps, the Tattooed Ballerinas. As a dancer, she's inspiringly self-assured, passionate, and creative. As a person, she's humble, engaging, and quite simply cool.

So it was especially gratifying to see her awarded the Knight Arts Challenge grant late last year in order for her to put together a pair of site-specific pieces in her hometown.

See also: Miami Dancer Hattie Mae Williams on Guerrilla Dancing and the Tattooed Ballerina Movement

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Grace and Environmentalism Combine Simultaneously in the National Water Dance

Categories: Dance

Water conservation isn't a new phenomenon, but if you attend the Floridian performance of the National Water Dance at the Deering Festival of the Arts, you'll see water conservation in a brand new light.

The National Water Dance is created by Dale Andree, the event's artistic director. With the help of producer Daniel Lewis, Andree imbued the event with history, artistry and, of course, water conservation awareness.

"This kind of project, which is actually a movement choir, was started back in the early 20th century by Rudolf Laban, and I'm part of that Laban community," Andree said. "I was inspired by a woman named Marylee Hardenbergh, who has made these all over the world, but she created one along the Mississippi River. The idea of creating all of these diverse populations through movement along a waterway was very impressive to me and really touched me."

See also: The 11th-Annual Miami Dance Festival Hopes to Inspire Momentum Throughout the Community

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With History House, Niurca Márquez Steps Into 'Nu' Flamenco Territory

Categories: Dance, Dance

Niurca Márquez is rewriting the history of flamenco. Each dance-step the Miami-native plants marks a new direction for an art form cemented in Andalusian tradition. Her work simultaneously references and breaks from that tradition to create new contexts for both flamenco newbies and aficionados to consider, in a sub-genre known as "nu flamenco."

In her latest work, The History House, which opens Thursday at the Miami Dade County Auditorium On.Stage Black Box Theater, Márquez explores the intersection and fragile nature of ancestral and cultural memory as it exists in contemporary expression.

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Mastermind 2014 Finalist: Brigid Baker Pushes Dance Way Beyond the Traditional

Categories: Dance

Photo by: Stian Roenning
Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 100 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30, and finally, nine. We'll be profiling those finalists in the days to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced February 27 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.

The lights come up on the stage, illuminating a wall of boxes lit in yellow geometric shapes. A tinny chime counts the time until guitar riffs roar into the space, seeming to crush and crumble the boxes across the performing space.

That's when you first notice them -- the dancers, once camouflaged against the wall, now moving as one as they settle into place across the stage.

This spectacle is the opening of Duet for 11 or 17, a piece that owes its stunning choreography to Brigid Baker, a native New Yorker who has played a major role in South Florida's fledgling dance scene since she arrived in Miami.

See also: Mastermind 2014 Finalist: Filmmaker Julian Yuri Rodriguez to Premiere C#ckfight in Virtual Reality at Artopia

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Catwalk at the Garret Sends Legs, Wigs and Shade Flying Everywhere (Video)

Categories: Dance

Photo by: Morgan Coleman
So you think you can vogue? The bad bitches of Catwalk will have the final say on that.

We braved the runway Sunday to check out the Garret's fiercely fabulous monthly, giving local ballroom enthusiasts a chance to strut their stuff and win some cash - if they dare.

There was a lot of shade being thrown around the dark room. The beats were hard and the wigs were whippin' all over the place. We caught up with some of the best voguers on hand, as well as resident DJs Gooddroid and Bonnie Beats to learn a little more about the culture and why this is an event everyone in Miami needs to see for themselves.

See also: Wildfox Model Beach Volleyball Tournament 2014: Sexy Bods, a Good Cause, Jamie Foxx (Video)

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Ana Mendez's Year of the Wooden Horse Campaign

Categories: Art, Culture, Dance


On Miami New Times' 100 Creatives list, we called artist/choreographer/dancer/sage Ana Mendez "a one-woman pyrotechnic show." That's still true, though it's more accurate these days to compare her to less hazardous elements. She's dynamic and explosive, but also connected to her surroundings in a way that's much more inclusive -- not necessarily bursting from them, but an integral part of them.

She's also expanding her practice. Over the next few months, Mendez is raising funds, via an Indiegogo campaign for two upcoming projects. Entitled the Year of the Wooden Horse, the fundraising action is named for 2014's patron animal in the Chinese zodiac and its corresponding element. The goods you'll get in return for contributing are amazing, and the projects are magical enough to inspire the spirit of giving, anyway.

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