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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards. ..

"The Other Mozart" is a suitcase play – one of those shows where a single actress can pack the entire contents that creates the setting – costume, wig, and props, and go anywhere in the world. It is the way Samantha Hoefer will arrive in Miami to present Sylvia Milo's one-woman play about Maria Anna Mozart, the not nearly as famous older sibling of that 18th century rock star Wolfgang Ama..

Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..

Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..

Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..

Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..

“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami has been on a trajectory best described as meteoric. In its first 18 months DDTM has been a 2017 Knight Challenge Grant recipient and now will debut at New Y..

Amirah Sackett came up as a dancer in Chicago’s hip hop scene at a time when women were rare in the mostly male community. But she also visibly stood out as a Muslim. She keeps her hair cover..

Inside the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, where Dance Now! Miami is in residence, there is a hub of activity as the company prepares for its performance on Saturday night of Contemporanea 201..

One of the signatures of the National Water Dance project since its inception seven years ago was that dance troupes, large or small, professional or school groups, were free to perform whate..

Miami City Ballet is in league with Russians – in a good way -- and this promises to make a selection of dances look great again. The company’s final program this season brings back Apollo an..

Hidden behind a busy street in North Miami Beach is the Ancient Spanish Monastery, where Dance Now! Miami will bring the past into the present – and back into the past. Ekphrasis describes th..

Sometimes dance seems as easy as walking down the street. John Heginbotham, founder and artistic director of Dance Heginbotham, describes his dancers as moving in an unaffected, natural manne..

On the heels of a year-plus parade of #MeToo confessions, celebrity shamings and women’s marches, comes Marisa Alma Nick’s female-power-packed “A Rebel in Venus.” “It wasn’t planned that ..

Choreographers are usually curious people. Augusto Soledade’s curiosity leads him in many directions, including ideas on Madonna, voguing, and selfies. It all began with “thoughts on identity..

Ira Sullivan has been a musician for a long time. His father, part of a large musical family, was in the restaurant business. But he played trumpet for fun and stored his horn behind the couch, Su..

The music of Thelonious Monk has been a source of endless fascination and with good reason. Monk’s universe has its own laws. Beautifully constructed and quirky, soulful but also paced by br..

The first time the Amernet performed “The Seven Last Words of Christ” during Holy Week – the week leading up to Easter -- the string quartet played in darkness. Just hours before, cellist Jas..

Drummer Dafnis Prieto and pianist Omar Sosa closed this year’s Global Cuba Fest at the Light Box in Wynwood, Miami, with shows on Friday and Saturday, March 16-17 that suggested a sort of mus..

Mention flamenco and the immediate associations are with dancing, singing and the guitar. The piano has a rather tentative history in flamenco. While some scholars include the instrument in p..

The ancient Japanese art of Taiko drumming comes to Miami this Friday, with Tao: Drum Heart, which premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has gone on to tour internationally, getting ..

It’s not by chance that the music of Cuban drummer, composer, educator and bandleader Dafnis Prieto unfolds with such purpose. An accidental immigrant in 1999 — he was living with ..

In the music of Las Cafeteras and Orkesta Mendoza, presented by Fundarte at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Saturday, the border is no place for walls but rather, a moveable feast. ..

Performance Hall at New World Center was packed Saturday, Feb. 3 for the New Work program, which NWS conductor and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas introduced as “one of the more adve..

Un ‘Cascanueces’ rejuvenecido y una renovada experiencia de disfrute

Photo: Un momento de la fiesta del primer acto de la nueva producción del “Cascanueces” de Miami City Ballet (Foto de Alexander Iziliaev).
Written by: Orlando Taquechel
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El Miami City Ballet (MCB) presentó por fin en el Arsht Center la nueva producción de su gran espectáculo navideño, el “Cascanueces” de Tchaikovsky y Balanchine, ahora con diseños originales de escenografía y vestuario creados por los artistas cubanoamericanos Isabel y Rubén Toledo. El estreno mundial tuvo lugar en Los Angeles unos días antes.
La dirección artística de la compañía, a cargo de Lourdes López desde 2012, consideró que era tiempo de renovar la puesta en escena en repertorio desde 1990 y lo ha conseguido de manera espléndida gracias a los hermosos trajes y decorados de los Toledo, las proyecciones ingeniosas de Wendall K. Harrington y la elocuencia de las luces de James F. Ingalls.
Hay muchos logros a destacar en este nuevo “Cascanueces”, pero es referencia obligada la secuencia inicial concebida como un travelling de seguimiento que lleva al espectador del cielo al interior de la casa de la familia Stahlbaum, abriendo puertas y seccionando edificios. La casa de los Stahlbaum es aquí una casa de muñecas donde el papel que cubre sus paredes está destinado a cobrar vida al servicio de la imaginación infantil más delirante.
Sin embargo, lo que hace del primer acto una experiencia inolvidable es la espectacularidad que se consigue utilizando nuevamente el principio del travelling para darnos la transformación gigantesca del árbol de Navidad y sorprendernos cuando descubrimos que al final tenemos el punto de vista de un niño pequeño, lo que nos permite apreciar de manera diferente la batalla entre los ratones y los soldaditos de plomo.
Durante el primer acto, donde hay más teatro que danza, los intérpretes del MCB aciertan como actores. Ellen Gocki, Alex Manning y Shimon Ito sobresalen como Columbina, Arlequín y el Soldado y el cuerpo de baile ejecuta de manera desenvuelta el siempre bien recibido Vals de los Copos de Nieve.
En términos de color, las escenas de la fiesta del primer acto tienen tonos pasteles mas oscuros y en el segundo la tierra de los dulces es presentada como un paraíso tropical en tonos pasteles más frescos, con una piña gigante coronando el dosel del trono desde donde Maria Stahlbaum y el Pequeño Príncipe disfrutaran de los bailes que ejecutan en su honor los habitantes del lugar.
La entrada a escena de los bailarines a cargo de esos divertimentos (Chocolate Caliente, Café, Té, Bastones de Caramelo, Madre Jenjibre, Rocío y las Flores) sirve para apreciar la variedad y creatividad de los nuevos trajes, todos magníficos. Pero la reinvención del personaje de la Madre Jengibre como una muñeca de trapo dotada de una enorme cabeza está destinada a ser la imagen emblemática de este montaje.
El vestuario creado por Isabel Toledo merece un estudio aparte. Es evidente que ella sabe que el diseño de moda y el diseño de vestuario son dos conceptos completamente diferentes pero hay que reconocer que su experiencia con el primero le permite abordar el segundo con considerable ventaja.
Así las cosas, era de esperarse la elegancia y autoridad teatral que ostentan los trajes creados para la escena en casa de los Stahlbaum pero es maravilloso descubrir vestidos con volantes que parecen rendirle tributo a los diseños de Gilbert Adrian y Bernard Newman para las estrellas de cine de los años 30.
No hay duda alguna que hacer que una bailarina se sienta más bella se refleja en su actuación. Disfrutando sus hermosos vestidos nuevos, las bailarinas del MCB proyectan una femineidad efervescente que deslumbra.
Por último, la habilidad de Toledo para la apropiación nostálgica de colores y texturas la emparentan con el gran Cecil Beaton y los vórtices creados al girar en los valses alcanzan exquisitez hipnótica en el trazo gracias a la ingravidez de unos vestidos que invocan la imagen icónica de Elizabeth Taylor en “A Place in the Sun”.
En otra época, muchos de los trajes de Toledo para “Cascanueces” ya estarían siendo reproducidos y comercializados en las grandes tiendas por departamentos. Quizás todavía es posible que así ocurra.
Inevitablemente, el segundo acto resulta estático después de los alardes visuales del primero pero la ejecución de los bailarines compensa la pasividad aparente del entorno escenográfico y la iluminación.
En este contexto, hay que alabar el desempeño de Nicole Stalker, Didier Bramaz, Shimon Ito, Kleber Rebello y Ashley Knox. Los radiantes Jennifer Lauren y Renan Cerdeiro fueron muy aplaudidos como el Hada del Azúcar y su Caballero pero Jordan-Elizabeth Long y Nathalia Arja dieron la impresión de bailar desatendiendo el exhorto descriptivo de la música. Una vez más, el cuerpo de baile estuvo excelente en todas y cada una de sus intervenciones.
En resumen, el “Cascanueces” rejuvenecido del MCB ha transformado un espectáculo hartoconocido en una renovada experiencia de disfrute que se agradece.

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