H2Ombre: Arsht Offers Experiential Theater at Its Strangest and Wettest

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Alejandro Ferrer
The liquid onslaught poured forth long before audiences entered the Arsht Center for H2Ombre this past weekend. Torrential rains slowed the flow of spectators into this undeniably unique prooduction. But they finally arrived to find a combination platter that's equal parts rave, 3D movie, and modern dance show.

After passing through the so-called "Bubble Lounge" offering specialty drinks, audiences entered an unfamiliar Ziff Opera House where most of the chairs have been removed. Theatergoers were split between an open dance floor and a VIP area one level up.

During the show, all notions of traditional theater decorum disappear. On opening night, many attendees shot smartphone videos, waved rainbow-colored glow sticks they received upon entry, and donned neon green plastic glasses frames that rendered everything slightly trippy. Servers interrupted the show once to take drink orders, and again to make customers pay, which was distracting--less like a night at the theater than a night at the Improv. Then again, patrons could also wander the two rooms of H2Ombre at will, which proved unusually liberating. Audience interaction and freedom is central to the show's conceit, and so is commerce: You exit through a gift kiosk.

See also: H2Ombre at the Arsht Center: A Waterlogged Theater Experience Like No Other

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Out in the Tropics: Sean Dorsey Again Uncovers Gay Life Through Dance

Categories: Dance

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Lydia Daniller
In its fifth year of Out in the Tropics -- a performing art series that highlights contemporary LGBT artists and their work in poetry, dance, and theater -- FUNDarte invited back San Francisco-based Sean Dorsey Dance to unveil new work, Uncovered: The Diary Project. Two years ago, Dorsey and company performed the intriguing The Secret History of Love, the untold stories of gay love, from the pre-Stonewall era through the 20th century.

Secret History's source material was interviews and oral story telling, but for Uncovered, Dorsey uses texts from actual diaries of transgender and queer people, including Lou Sullivan, a Bay Area transsexual gay man and political activist who inspired a suite of dances aptly named "Lou."

We caught up with Dorsey en route to Boston.

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Copperbridge Foundation Brings Cuban Artists to Miami Stages

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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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Bare Bones Explores Human Encounters, Strife Through Experimental Movement

Categories: Dance

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On a recent afternoon, Carlota Pradera and Lazaro Godoy both peered at the empty, black performance space and pondered the narrative of the upcoming show, Bare Bones.

Neither would reveal the show's narrative, if it has one; only that every aspect of the production, from the tree trunks to the natural vines used as props, will project life in its organic form. And the movement will be propelled from a visceral place. "That's the beauty of dance, there's really no narrative," says Godoy. "It's better to leave it to the imagination."

The highly anticipated experimental show opens Friday and runs every Friday and Saturday through the June 28 at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores. Bare Bones takes place in the center's intimate, 50-seat black box studio, and is part of the MTC's Sandbox Series.

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Choreographer Rosie Herrera Reinvents the Showgirl for Ballet Hispanico

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Paula Lobo
Rosie Herrera instructs her "showgirls."
Rosie Herrera learned young that a show girl is never the star of the show. As a teenager working the cabaret at the Teatro Bellas Artes in Little Havana in the early aughts, she posed prettily on the side of the stage, jutting out her hip to display her costume, and extending her arms to frame the featured comedian. She never forgot what if felt like to be a piece of sexy scenery.

"You have a humungous emotional experience, and you have to suppress it for the greater good -- or, in this case, for the prettier picture," she says in an interview a few days before the premiere at the Arsht Center of the Performing Arts this weekend of her new work, "Show.Girl."

See also: Rosie Herrera: Dancing Queen

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Karen Peterson's GRIT Pushes Limits on Mixed-Abilities Dance

Categories: Dance

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Photos by Luis Olazabal
Months in the making, Karen Peterson and Dancers' latest work, GRIT, debuts in its entirety this Thursday and Friday at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium.

The defining piece touches on the human experience, and is intended to showcase the strength of the renowned mixed-abilities company, which is comprised of a host of able-bodied, formally trained dancers and, yes, wheelchair-bound dancers.

With nearly 25 years in mixed-abilities dance, Peterson, a long-time Miami choreographer, says GRIT symbolizes the company's transition into a more physically complex repertoire. The various themes explored -- struggle, desperation, fear, and the fight for power and dominance -- are derived from the dancers' own experiences and perspectives.

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Arts Ballet's Season Finale Stays on Pointe

Categories: Dance

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By Patricia Laine and JoeyG photography
To close its 16th season, the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida is dedicating its finale performance to ballet's Russian forefathers and to Venezuela, which has heavily influenced the company's neo-classical repertoire.

The shows will be held Saturday, May 3, at the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center and Sunday, May 4, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

From the dramatic change in backdrops to the detailed costumes, seeing a full classical ballet production exposes South Florida audiences - especially younger show goers - to the history and beauty of the art form, says Art Ballet's Artistic Director Vladimir Issaev. The renowned Russian-born ballet master spent 10 years in Venezuela before relocating to Miami, where he's kept the flame of classical, neo-classical, and modern ballet alive since 1997.

See also: SoBe Institute of the Arts Proudly Presents an Original Fairy Tale for Adults

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PAN Celebrates Its Rise from the Ashes During Miami Dance Festival

Categories: Dance

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Shaping Miami into the artistic hub that it's become couldn't have been done without the steady, decades-long priming by The Performing Arts Network (PAN) in North Miami.

PAN's founders have been on the frontlines of Miami's dance and performance scene since the 1980s. Nestled in a narrow commercial strip along West Dixie Highway, PAN's studios have bustled with a myriad of dances; from Caribbean folklore, flamenco and other world dance, to classical and contemporary. With PAN, countless Miami dancers, choreographers, playwrights, and actors had a place where they can get their ideas off the ground.

So when the building faced a devastating fire in 2009, it sent emotional ripples throughout the arts community. Not to worry! It's back with spacious studios and a black box theatre.

See also: FLA-FRA Festival Brings Francophone Creativity to Miami Stages

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FLA-FRA Festival Brings Francophone Creativity to Miami Stages

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Kasper T
Myriam Gourfink dances.
Set aside for a moment any preconceived notions you may have about the French arts and culture. Toss out the idea of the beret with a striped shirt and a baguette stuck underneath an arm. So much more happens creatively in France and the French diaspora, but it seldom reaches South Florida.

This year, that began to change thanks to Tigertail Productions' Florida-France Festival, or FLA-FRA, which began April 1 and closes this weekend with one-of-a-kind performances by leading French choreographer Myriam Gourfink and fellow countryman and renowned dancer C├ędric Andrieux.

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It's Hard to Tame the Adventure That Is Miami City Ballet's Don Quixote

Categories: Dance

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Photo by Mitchell Zachs
Christie Sciturro and MCB dancers in Don Quixote.
The standing ovation at the matinee of Miami City Ballet's season closer, Don Quixote, Saturday, March 22, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts was a good indication that classical ballet lives and breathes in South Florida. Furthermore, it showed that it holds its own against the Ultra/WMC/MMW fests that dominate the local season.

Maybe our northern brethren have come down to take a break from the unrelenting winter with sights set only on our beaches, but the original adventurer, Don Q, seems to be as appropriate a springtime subject as any with his passionate, intense, humorous, and greater-than-life bravura.

See also: Chanel Da Silva on the End of the Trey McIntyre Project: "It is Bittersweet to Say Good-Bye"

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