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

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, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet: Creating Their Own Successful Structure


Photo: Photo by Rosalie O’Connor
Written by: Cameron Basden
Article Rating

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet artistic director Tom Mossbrucker and executive director Jean-Philippe Malaty have thrilled audiences world wide with stimulating and exciting performances, and Miami will be given the opportunity to see the single premiere performance of the ASFB at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Auditorium this Saturday.

The 12-member company has not only survived and grown, but ASFB continues to thrive.

Running a dance company these days is no easy affair. With funding requirements more elusive than ever, program needs, dancers to nurture, tours, choreographers to discover, not to mention choosing appropriate repertory; the list goes on. Directors wear many hats and even then, doing all the supposedly ‘right’ things, survival is a struggle.

Mossbrucker described some of the challenges and successes; how the company developed, why they continue to thrive and what is the magical formula that audiences find so captivating when they see an ASFB performance. The looming question, especially here in South Florida where dance is trying to find a sustainable existence, is one of survival.

How has ASFB been such a success? For most dance companies, the goal is the visible, performance aspect. In the ASFB model, each part of the organization cohesively works to strengthen the other and allows the company to flourish. Mossbrucker speaks in detail about the many other programs that function on a local basis in both of its base cities, Aspen and Santa Fe.

“We have really large schools in both Aspen and Santa Fe.We have a huge Mexican folk dance outreach program reaching hundreds and hundreds of children. And we are presenting series bringing in other dance companies to perform. This happens in both cities,” Mossbrucker says. “We have tried to diversify; being lean and compact and making the most of our resources.”

Probably the most telling aspect of their journey has been the discovery process along the way.

“A lot of it was trial and error, there was a lot of intuition.‘Let’s see if this will work.’I don’t think you can set out to create what we have created, you have to let it grow organically.”Mossbrucker uses the word, ‘organic’ often. “When we [Malaty and Mossbrucker, who are also life partners] had the opportunity to build a company, we said, ‘Let’s try something new, let’s approach it from our point of view.’ We had both been dancers with the Joffrey, had a lot of knowledge, but had no pre-conceived ideas.”

Being in the small city of Aspen, where there was no formal dance company, allowed the twosome the luxury to develop without being under a microscope. Mossbrucker says laughingly, “Aspen had no expectations at that point. It didn’t matter if we succeeded or failed.No one was watching.”

While the model is the right one for ASFB, it is not necessarily the formula for every city.

Mossbrucker and Malaty talk about this all the time. “We live in two unusual cities. They are very culturally minded and physical; there is a lot of athleticism. Both cities are surrounded by nature and mountains. I think our structure works because we adapted to where we lived.”

There is only a 500-seat theater in Aspen, “so if we do two shows, everyone in Aspen who wants to see dance, sees it. We had to become a touring company, we had to partner with Santa Fe. We had to bring in other companies to show good dance and that what we were creating was of a high caliber.”

Being a small and young company, Mossbrucker found that they had to be very selective about which choreographers could be brought in to work with the dancers. “We don’t work with a choreographer just once, we like to develop relationships. These consistent voices have also imbued the company with its identity.”

Mossbrucker says the work environment is everything and that is what gives the company its soul. He comes from the Joffrey Ballet and is very old school. “I tried to take all that I had learned working with the Joffrey, even things that I thought were not so great at the time, and to turn them into positives. I’m very strict about class, but in a nurturing way. There is a lot of explanation. The dancers trust me and I trust them.”

Every year gets more expensive to function, however. That being said, in ASFB, dancers are paid 52 weeks a year with about 40 weeks of actual employment, receive full health benefits and matching retirement benefits -- a real rarity in dance. The salaries are high in comparison to companies of a similar size.

This Miami stop is part of the big 20th Anniversary tour that includes performances at the Joyce Theater in New York, Los Angeles, Palm Desert, Houston, and Philadelphia among other cities. The three pieces that will be performed in Miami offer an assortment to showcase who the company is and why audiences clamor to see them. Two of the works are commissioned and one was premiered on Netherlands Dans Theater.

Mossbrucker says, “We travel very lightly,” says Mossbrucker, “keeping to our lean and mean profile!”

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8:00 p.m., South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Auditorium, 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay, tickets $25 - $45; 786-573-5300, smdcac.org; $10 tickets are available through the SMDCAC with student ID; $5 tickets are available to 13-22 year olds and one accompanying guest, exclusively through CultureShockMiami.com.

Pre-performance reception and moderated discussion with Jean-Philippe Malaty and Tom Mossbrucker, and Dimension Dance Theater Miami directors Jennifer Kronenburg and Carlos Guerra from 6:00 - 7:30 in the Lab Theater.RSVP at 786-573-5300.

 


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

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..

Yoli Mayor is a 22-year old Miami native who won over the judges of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” with her power voice (think Adele mixed with Etta James). This weekend, Miami audiences will h..

You might expect something a tad unusual from a jazz band comprised of Bulgarians and Cubans that’s led by the principal percussionist of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. And that’s what you’ll ..

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 ..

El debut de Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) en noviembre del año pasado fué un acontecimiento artístico y un descubrimiento sumamente agradable. Una sola función en el Miami-Dade Cou..

El festival “Out in the Tropics”, patrocinado por Fundarte en conjunto con el Centro Cultural Español y el Miami Book Fair International, normalmente trae artistas del mundo LGBTQ e hispanoha..

La Gala anual de Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami (CCBM) es un evento que esperan con ansiedad los aficionados al ballet en Miami y, sobre todo, los admiradores del estilo cubano. Desde su deb..