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My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..

The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..

Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..

One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..

Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..

If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..

Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..

Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..

Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..

It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..

The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

People often imagine new artwork is the product of the solitary artist genius slaving away in lonely studios. The South Florida Symphony’s 20th anniversary program foregrounds a different vis..

At an age when many are winding down their working lives, Ignacio Berroa eagerly anticipates a new stage in his career. It would be understandable if the 64-year-old drummer, recognized a..

We know it’s the holiday season when trees light up, menorah candles start to burn, ubiquitous Christmas carols pipe through drugstores, “The Nutcracker” plays on every stage – and in recent ..

Late last year, on Dec. 20, 2016, Romero Britto and Mark Bryn hosted the Great Artists Series Cocktail Reception at the Britto Fine Art Gallery to celebrate the legendary impresaria, Judy Dru..

Everyone remembers a lost weekend, binge reading a novel whose ending had to wait because the body just gave out. No matter how compelling the story somewhere around the 30th hour the brain s..

Globalization has produced many stories —not all inspiring. But having a Pakistani ensemble become a worldwide sensation by playing Paul Desmond’s immortal “Take Five,” which pianist Da..

When the management of New York’s iconic Apollo Theater approached drummer Gregg Field last year about organizing a concert there in honor of the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth..

They’ve opened a Chanel fashion show in Havana and been featured in Beyoncé’s visual album for “Lemonade.” The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has danced to their music. Their Florida debu..

There are few artists who have had the impact in their disciplines that guitarist Paco De Lucía had in flamenco. There is a before-and-after De Lucía in flamenco. He expanded the harmonic voc..

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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