The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

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 ..

Ailey Graces Miami with Three World Premieres


Photo: Jamar Roberts, Constance Stamatiou in Kyle Abraham's 'Untitled America.' Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Article Rating

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 groupsales@arshtcenter.org.

 


Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

Cathering Hollingsworth is a dance critic and dancer

..

About the Writer

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..

"Nosotros sentimos, y pensamos que Jennifer y Carlos sienten igual, que Miami finalmente ha llegado a posicionarse como una verdadera ciudad cultural donde continuamente se presentan compañías imp..

El grupo de danza contemporánea Brazzdance dirigido por su fundador, el coreógrafo Augusto Soledade, se presentó el sábado 31 de marzo en el Carnival Studio Theatre del Arsht Center de Miami...

La undécima edición del Flamenco Festival que se desarrolló del jueves 8 al domingo 11 de marzo en el Arsht Center resultó ser un hermoso reencuentro con el Ballet Nacional de España (BNE), u..

Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (ABTF) y su escuela de ballet adjunta, ambas bajo la dirección de Vladimir Issaev, se encuentran por estos días entregadas de lleno a la celebración del bicente..

El lugar privilegiado que ocupa Miami hoy en día en el mundo de la danza no tiene discusión. Además de contar con una vibrante oferta local de proyección internacional que dura todo el año y ..

Después de una serie de actuaciones muy exitosas en varias ciudades del Este del país, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) llega a Miami para ofrecer seis presentaciones del jueves 22 ..

La ofensiva espontánea protagonizada por BalletBoyz y Cie. Herve Koubi el fin de semana pasado en teatros de Fort Laudedarle y Miami, con dos propuestas artísticas absolutamente fuera de seri..

La atracción principal del tercer programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) que se presentó el fin de semana pasado en el Arsht Center fue el estreno mundial de One Line ..

Llegados en vuelo directo desde Inglaterra, BalletBoyz (Premio Nacional de Danza 2013 a la Mejor Compañía Independiente) ofrecerá el sábado 10 de febrero una función patrocinada por Culture Shock ..