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, ..
Back for an 8th season in Miami, the legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater packs the house every year. With Liberty City hometown hero Robert Battle in his fifth year, we have many reasons to celebrate the company’s return.
Alvin Ailey appears at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts from February 23to 26, with a hefty program including three world premieres: Untitled America, Deep, and r-Evolution, Dream. The company will also announce a new scholarship for two young local dancers to attend the Ailey School Summer Intensive in New York.
While the company was already on tour, we had a chance to speak with Battle about his artistic vision for the company.
Are there any themes for this season’s programming?
One of the programs is called Ailey Jazz, which celebrates jazz, a great American art form. And certainly, when you think of Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans to this country and culture, you can’t not think of jazz. So we wanted to do a tribute to that.
We have a work called The Winter in Lisbon, which is choreographed by Billy Wilson. A significant part is the music of Dizzy Gillespie and this is his centennial celebration. And then we have a work called Ella choreographed by me, to the music of Ella Fitzgerald. The particular piece of music is just her scatting. So the dance is in some ways a physical version of scat singing. Then r-Evolution, Dream is by Ali Jackson, a musician with Jazz at Lincoln Center. He collaborated with Hope Boykin who is a long-time company member. This work is inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Again, very timely and dovetails with Black History Month. But also it reminds us of the past in terms of the lessons of the civil rights movement, at a time when we are looking at that again.
How about ’Untitled America’?
The choreographer Kyle Abraham, who is a MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner, came to me a year or so ago with the idea of doing this three-part work about families in prison, and mass incarceration. But also in the news were all those shootings and unrest around some of those very polarizing experiences that we were seeing 24-7. So that’s what he was looking at in this work. He called it Untitled America. Within the work you hear actual people who have been incarcerated speaking about their experiences. Not so much in the political realm, but more to do with matters of the heart, more to do with those primary relationships and the effects that the system has on them. It’s a look at the interior as opposed to all of the noise outside. It’s really a powerful work.
What social impact do you think dance has to offer us?
All of these pieces were chosen before there was this kind of tension in the air. So it’s interesting how art can imitate life and they can collide in this very poignant way. But I think that dance, and the arts, have always played an important role in bringing people together. Even people who didn’t think they liked one another. There’s a history of that in jazz—musicians getting together to play together because they respected each other’s artistry. And through improvisation and jazz, they could have whole conversations with their instruments that they couldn’t have with their mouths.
So I believe dance, the ephemeral nature of dance, the ambiguity of dance, it’s not this is what I believe, it’s more about this is what I feel. And feelings start to get at the heart of the matter. I think that Alvin Ailey’s legacy is about bringing people together. I’m very hopeful that this will offer some kind of healing or some kind of liberation from some of the tensions of the day.
What do you see as the forward direction for the company?
We continue to expand on the legacy Alvin Ailey left us. We continue to challenge the audiences and the dancers in new ways. I think I’m going to continue to push the envelope -- but also continue to hold a mirror to our society, to continue to be that reflection. Sometimes that is a reflection about the negative aspects and also the positive aspects. We want to keep making sure that the company is not only seen but heard. That’s an extremely important reason why I think this company is still kicking almost 60 years later, from the founding of the company in 1958.
Artistically, the company was founded in a totally different era of modern dance. Is it important to preserve this history?
Absolutely. I believe that it is about past, present and future. And to me any great work of art really represents those three founding principles, past, present and future.
That can give you an idea of where you are and where you could possibly go in the future. Preserving that legacy is extremely important to the continuity of this company. But I think on a broader level—and I’ve been thinking about this a lot—is that we always have to remember that we are standing on shoulders. So every chance we get, we have to acknowledge those people whose shoulders we stand on.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Thursday through Saturday, 8:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.; Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Ziff Ballet Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; tickets starting at $29 at www.arshtcenter.org or 305.949.6722. Group discounts available 786-468-2326 or e-mail email@example.com.
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..
El segundo programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) dedicado a los 100 años del nacimiento de Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), el gran coreógrafo norteamericano que triunfó ..
2017 fue un buen año para la danza en Miami. El Flamenco Festival nos permitió volver a ver a Jesús Carmona, el Internacional Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) sobrevivió al huracán Irma, Dance..
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 origin..
La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..
El programa que Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) presentó el sábado pasado en su exitoso debut como compañía en residencia del South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC) y a solo ..
Hay pocos artistas que han tenido el impacto en sus disciplinas como el guitarrista Paco De Lucía tuvo en flamenco. En este género, hay un antes y después de De Lucía. Expandió el vocabul..
Dance NOW! Miami, la Florida Dance Education Organization (FDEO), Miami Dance Futures y la New World School of the Arts (NWSA) colaboraron el fin de semana pasado para presentar la Daniel Lew..
Esta es una gran noticia para el público amante del ballet en Miami. Tras un paréntesis de diez años en los que solo nos visitó de manera esporádica, la Primera Bailarina mexicana Katia Carra..
Solo hay que aplicar el concepto “seis grados de separación” a uno de los artistas que se han presentado en las Galas de Estrellas del Festival Internacional de Ballet de Miami (IBFM por sus ..