Teo Castellanos Revises Fat Boy

Categories: Dance

Photo by Pedro Portal
Most performers will agree that a show never really feels like it is complete until close to the closing night of a run. This sentiment was true for Teo Castellanos when he premiered Fat Boy at Miami Light Project's Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in 2011. He's back with a tweaked, revised version this week at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Set to a soundtrack by DJ le Spam of the Spam Allstars, Fat Boy explores the juxtaposition of consumerism and poverty in the modern world through text and movement that borrow from contemporary and ancient rituals.
Although performed to sold out audiences, to Castellanos and his company, it didn't quite feel finished. "We knew it needed a lot more work; we didn't feel like the show was done," recalls writer/director and performer Castellanos. [Note: the writer once worked with Miami Light Project.]

See also: Womanizer, Bus Driver, Doper, Zen Teacher -- Teo Castellanos' Life Is in His Plays

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The Nutcracker Makes Its Way Around Miami's Ballets

Categories: Dance

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet
The December holidays are approaching and along with them, as sure as thicker waists and thinner wallets, The Nutcracker. Big-scaled or modest, all-local or propped up by imported talent, there's a production of America's most popular ballet to suit any taste.

But please don't take the predictable assortment for granted or chuckle too readily at insider jokes: Who quipped that every Christmas just finds us another Nutcracker closer to death? Going to watch this dance is one of our few artistic and cultural rituals, which not only keeps studios busy and theaters full but also bolsters time-tested values.

See also: Leads in Miami City Ballet's Romeo and Juliet Delve Into Tragic Teenage Roles

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Israeli Director Blends World Dance and Music Into One Vision

Categories: Dance

Photo by Frank Bicking
Dancer: Krista Montrone
Ronen Koresh, long a distinguished dancer and since 1991 artistic director of his own company, is fearless in his defiance of borders. Appearing at the Arsht Center this week, the choreography of this Israeli native, now established in Philadelphia, draws from ballet, folk, modern and jazz dance and uses music that ranges from classical to industrial with samplings of world traditions in between.

And the question Koresh's approach prompts is not how such eclecticism can be effective but, given his bracing talent, how it could be otherwise.

"My art highlights my interests, all the beautiful things I come in contact with," says Koresh. "I'm not a snob. I try to connect to the pulse of what's happening right now. That's how I can best add my voice out there in this huge world."

See also: Nathalie Zarate: Belly-Dance Superstar

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Shen Wei and the Art of Dance at Art Basel Miami Beach

Headshot by Stephen Xue, Image Courtesy of Artist
Shen Wei
Dance is the most ephemeral of the arts. You can buy a picture, a sculpture, a photograph, you can buy a CD and own a composition, and you can even buy and own a script. Dance, however, is an explosion of energy that exits in a finite space and time, and should be witnessed live to truly feel its breadth. Dance on video, or in photograph, doesn't tell the full story of the choreographer's composition and intent.

Chinese choreographer and painter Shen Wei's latest work "Shen Wei -- In Black, White and Gray," presented by MDC Live Arts and MDC Museum of Art + Design, aims to marry dance and the permanence of visual art, with a performance that presents his choreography in concert with his original paintings.

See also: Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 Local Gallery Guide

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Hattie Mae Williams: Renegade Dancer

Categories: Dance

Photo by Stian Roenning
Hattie Mae Williams wants to be part of the change she sees happening in Miami.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

Dance, the most primal, universal form of self-expression, often takes a back seat in Miami. In a city where visual artists seem to be slowly covering every surface with murals -- and pulling in more money for their efforts every day -- performance all too often gets overlooked.

Luckily, Miami native Hattie Mae Williams has returned to shake up this town.

"People don't understand the importance of dance in their lives," she says. "I think dance in general is very scary for a lot of people because you have to embody yourself, you have to be in tune with things physically. I think we're taught to be scared of empowering our bodies and moving our bodies."

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Nathalie Zarate: Belly-Dance Superstar

Categories: Dance

Photo by Stian Roenning
Nathalie Zarate is proud to have served as a mentor to dozens of young girls.
In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

These days it's entirely fair to call Nathalie Zarate a belly-dance superstar. She runs the popular Dreams Bellydance Academy in Pembroke Pines, has appeared in music videos of stars like Timbaland and R. Kelly, and organizes the Miami Bellydance Convention, which draws performers and instructors from all over the world.

But in the early '00s, Zarate was a struggling young recent immigrant trying to find her own American dream. She found work delivering food for a Colombian cafeteria downtown, and one night colleagues invited her to Taverna Opa, a Greek restaurant in Hollywood.

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Audition To Be the InterContinental's Dancing Silhouette Saturday

Categories: Dance

Courtesy of InterContinental Miami
In a city where couples break out stellar salsa in dive bars and backyards, it's obvious that Miami is rhythmically gifted. For those of you breaking down at clubs and parties, now's your chance to snatch some real recognition for your remarkable moves.

The InterContinental Miami is once again searching for its next skyline star -- the badass dancer that will grace the side of the 100 Chopin Plaza building, lit up in glowing glory. Auditions to be the next silhouette start this Saturday, and judges are looking for Miami's best.

See also: InterContinental Miami to Host "Dancing Lady" Dance-Off to Replace Stripper Silhouette

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Electronic Solo Artist Pamela Z: One Woman's Voice, One Vast Sound System

Categories: Dance

Photo courtesy of Ars Electronica
Pamela Z has been performing solo voice concerts for over three decades, but she rarely sounds alone on stage. Instead, she creates a rich multimedia experience using electronics to multiply her voice and trigger sampled sounds and video. Although the term "processed voice" applies -- much as it does for artists like Laurie Anderson or Reggie Watts -- her approach tends to favor layering instead of distortion, so that the comforting, natural sound of her classically trained voice stands in front.

She'll be in town for concerts at two venues this week, on Wednesday in Miami Gardens and Friday in Wynwood.

We spoke to the San Francisco-based artist by phone, while she was in New York as part of a tour of the East Coast and Germany.

See also: Ira Glass Brings This American Life Tales To Dance Performance at Miami Book Fair

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Ira Glass Brings This American Life Tales To Dance Performance at Miami Book Fair

Courtesy of Monica Bill Barnes
Music and spoken word are the traditional bedfellows of radio. When one listens to these art forms, it's generally the imagination that must create a visual aid to the aural story. Dance, in its highly visual nature, is not usually associated with a radio program.

Until now.

Presented by MDC Live Arts on Sunday as the opening night of the Miami Book Fair International, Three Acts, Two Dancers and One Radio Host reflects the intersection and duality of all language -- whether spoken or not. A collaboration between acclaimed This American Life radio host Ira Glass, and choreographer/dancer Monica Bill Barnes, it explores storytelling, and how the visual language of dance can combine with spoken word to create magic in a show that advertises itself as "two arts forms that should never be together."

See also: Book Fair 2014 Includes John Waters, Questlove, Ira Glass, and More

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Touring Company TU Dance Returns To Its Miami Roots

Categories: Dance

Courtesy South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center
TU Dance, a 12-member dance company, will be performing for one night only on Saturday at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. It's a highly collaborative dance initiative, a company that routinely mixes up the idioms of classical ballet, African dance, modern dance and urban vernacular. Perhaps not surprising then, TU Dance is the child of two Alvin Ailey veterans, Uri Sands and Toni Pierce Sands.

But before Alvin Ailey, Sands was a little kid break-dancing on Miami streets and taking dance classes in Miami's elementary schools. Fast forward: he was studying at the New World School of the Arts. Fast forward again and he was auditioning, one dancer among 70 others, for the single open spot with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

"That was," Sands says, "a pretty incredible day." Then came years of dancing under the direction of Ailey muse and principal dancer, company director Judith Jamieson. "Ailey opened up a world in me that I couldn't have guessed was there," Sands says. "That's what the Ailey Dance Company is all about."

See also: Batsheva Dance Company Brings Exclusive Performance to Miami

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