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

Categories: Dance

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

Categories: Dance

At the January Young Arts Foundation annual gala, Chanel Da Silva, dancer with the Trey McIntyre Project (TMP), kicked off her heels and broke it down on the temporary dance floor to Michael Jackson's "Startin' Somethin'."

Da Silva, a 2004 Young Arts Winner and Presidential Scholar in the Arts, wasn't dancing for show but rather for herself. Passionate and furious,her movement laid bare the qualities which make her a favorite and stand-out of the TMP repertory company.

She'll return to Miami to perform Saturday at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, when the company presents "The Vinegar Works: Four Dances of Moral Instruction," inspired by the work of illustrator and writer Edward Gorey and set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich. She'll also dance in "Mercury Half-Life," a new work exploring the essence and times of Freddie Mercury, set to classic Queen songs.

See also: Grace and Environmentalism Combine Simultaneously in the National Water Dance

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

Categories: Dance, Festivals

When it comes to dance, Miami may not have reached its apex in ways other cities have, but it sure has had momentum.

Instrumental in pushing that energy, stamina, and vibrancy forward have been events like the Miami Dance Festival, which this year celebrates its 11th edition.

From Thursday, April 3, through Thursday, May 15, a variety of bold and innovative dance works by local companies (such as Momentum Dance Company and Ballet Flamenco La Rosa) and special guest stars The PGK Dance Project from San Diego, will take to the stage in different venues across Greater Miami.

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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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Miami City Ballet "Triple Threat" Soars, With Occasional Slips

Categories: Dance

Photo by: Alexandre Dufaur
--Octavio Roca,

Emotions ran high even before the dancing started. Lourdes Lopez, Miami City Ballet's artistic director, stepped in front of the curtain Valentine's night to speak lovingly about her two teachers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and announce that George Chakiris was in the audience.

Chakiris, who starred as Riff in the original West End production of West Side Story and won an Oscar for his portrayal of Bernardo in what is now considered the best-ever film version of a stage musical, enjoyed the evening's longest ovation. Balanchine and Robbins, two of whose works the company was about to dance for the first time, also must have been smiling somewhere in dance heaven. The dancing that followed was indeed often heavenly.

The two company premieres were Balanchine's Episodes and Robbins' West Side Story Suite, book-ending the company staple Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. After its opening weekend at the Arsht Center in Miami, the "Triple Threat" program continues this weekend at the Broward Center in Ft. Lauderdale, and February 28 through March 2 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.

See also: Ballet Dancers Sing? Miami City Ballet Learns New Tricks for West Side Story Suite

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Miami-Born Dancers Reflect on Coming Home with Alvin Ailey Dance Company: "It's More of a Testimony to People Who Really Cared About Me"

Categories: Dance

Precision technique, athleticism and poignant storytelling are synonymous with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater -- a powerhouse company that has kept the torch of African-American life, history and dance aflame on stage since 1958.

Led now by artistic director and Miami native Robert Battle, Ailey is making its yearly return to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Thursday, Feb. 20. The company's five shows will feature a mix of new works, such as "Lift," "Chroma" and "D-Man in the Waters," alongside classics including "Revelations."

The company selects new pieces each year, but this year's additions, like the company's mission, goes well beyond dance.

See also: Ballet Dancers Sing? Miami City Ballet Learns New Tricks for West Side Story Suite

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Dance NOW! Navigates Through Il Mare and some Light Rain

Categories: Dance

In 1981, American choreographer and dancer Gerald Arpino saw the world debut of his East-meets-West-themed Light Rain ballet in New York City. It was performed by the dance company he co-founded with Robert Joffrey, The Joffrey Ballet.

The New York Times wrote that "Light Rain... is one of Mr. Arpino's slickest efforts in the pop-erotic genre and it is mighty good slick." With music by Doug Adamz and Russ Gautier, the work became an instant audience favorite.

Now, more than 30 years later, audiences in South Florida have the chance to discover some of that sexy mist on stage when contemporary ensemble Dance NOW! Miami performs the ballet's signature pas de deux.

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Ballet Dancers Sing? Miami City Ballet Learns New Tricks for West Side Story Suite

Known for its strength and versatility, Miami City Ballet will flaunt a new set of skills this Friday as the company debuts its world premiere of Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite. In addition to tackling Robbins' dazzling choreography, several dancers will also sing. Yes, ballet dancers will sing.

Not to be confused with the Broadway musical that Robbins collaborated on with Leonard Bernstein in 1957, West Side Story Suite is a ballet with singing roles. In 1995, Robbins synthesized and updated the original, but the essence lives on. Maria and Tony are still two star-crossed lovers, and the rival gangs the Sharks and the Jets still rumble. We spoke with MCB soloist Sara Esty and guest artist Jeremy Cox about the challenges of preparing to sing and dance.

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Nora Chipaumire Brings the Complicated Life and Music of Miriam Makeba to Life on Stage

Categories: Dance

By George Fishman,

People have told choreographer Nora Chipaumire that they found her dance-theater performance Miriam too dark. "It's so black," they complained. "What am I looking at?" they asked about this performance based on the life and music of South African legend Miriam Makeba.

"At first, I was quite disturbed," Chipaumire says. Especially when some audience members used their phones to throw light on the stage. What those unwelcome lights illuminated is the complex story of a beloved singer/political activist, who showed an angelic face to the world while battling internal demons. In fact, Chipaumire interprets the burdens she bore literally.

Don't expect sprightliness when Chipaumire's opens her dance tribute this Friday. "I would call it a documentary. It is also an installation; it is theater; it is performance; it is dance."

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ScreenDance: A New Blend of Choreography and Film in Miami

A still from Christa's Savoneta.
By Mia Leonin,

In the first few minutes of Gabri Christi's film Quarantined, you can't see dancer Kyle Abraham's sculptured torso or his rhythmic leaps or the fact he's wearing a long white skirt made of tulle. The camera, however, reveals glimpses of a jawline and a closely shaved head. It flickers to the doorframe of an abandoned house.

This is not a choreographed dance on film. It is dance for film, and one of the distinguishing factors is that the filmmaker's vision is as vital as the choreographer's.

"One of the things I love about dance on film is the level of detail you can get," explains dancer, choreographer and experimental filmmaker Marissa Alma Nick, who points out that the viewer decides where to focus his or her attention when watching a live performance on stage. "With the camera you have more control. You can go even deeper into the dance."

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