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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 ..

Augusto Soledade: A Conversation on Dance, Identity – and Selfies and Voguing


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Written by: Diana Dunbar
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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, how it’s constructed and changed through time -- because of different situations, culture and family rules,” says Soledade. This line of thought led him to headshots that are used to identify us, then to voguing, a way of framing who we are.

Take a pose, then another, still another until one fits -- for a time.“Vogue dancing came about as a way of creating an environment for a lot of gay African-American and Latino men. Through a dance form, they found a way to express themselves, and found their identity,” explains Soledade. Voguing evolved into a dance form that became an identifier, especially in the 1970s and 80s. Madonna’s hit “Vogue” also helped popularize the form.

And selfies? Couldn’t they also be considered an identifier? Who are we without having taken a selfie? It focuses attention on us to others and on to ourselves.

Shade, Soledade’s newest piece, which along with Think Blue and Some Things Revealed are all part of the Augusto Soledade Brazzdance performance this Saturday at the Arsht Center. Shade is the result of Soledade’s thoughts on identity and voguing. It’s an abstract piece that looks at how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves. Soledade also plays with what he refers to as “speed friending,” people connecting and having a movement dialogue. Shade is performed with six dancers and has an original score by Jessica Muniz-Collado, and an art piece by Kandy Lopez.

Soledade changes gear with Think Blue, examining man’s impact on our environment. He uses a folktale, “Why the Sky is Far Away -- A Nigerian tale,” as retold by Mary-Joan Gerson. The book deals with issues of our relationship to our environment, natural resources and sustainability. Soledade creates a dance narrative to remind us of our impact and responsibility to the environment. The piece is set to original music by Brandon Cruz.

Soledade is a native of Bahia, Brazil and started his dance training at the Federal University of Bahia, Brazil. He came to the United States as an exchange student and it was here that the question of identity and roots first arose. Being of mixed race he was often asked to identify himself. “What are you,” became a frequent question. He reflections on this is seen in Shade.

Soledade says his inspiration comes from personal experiences, from being born in Brazil and being an adult in America. “My creative process comes from these two senses of home.”

Soledade teaches at universities in South Florida and throughout the United States. (In 2008, Soledade was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography, an experience he says “made me more confident…awards serve as a strong validation for what you are tryingto do-to achieve.”)

He says he sees the younger generation of dancers moving in a new direction. One without boundaries. They are trained in more diverse techniques, rather than just ballet, modern and jazz. “Dance has really opened itself up and that’s a positive thing. Dancers with a broad range of styles become better dancers. They can do anything the choreographer ask of them.” He also notes how the Internet has influenced and expanded dance; of seeing street dancing in Brazil being influenced by music videos producing a Brazilian type of hip-hop. “Training is very vast because of technology -- I don’t know how far it’s going to go, but it’s going to go far.”

Some Things Revealed, the final piece,is a collaboration with the Moving Current Dance Collaborative Company based in Tampa. It’s an abstract piece danced to Brazilian music. Soledade says he was focused on the combination of the Moving Current style with his own Afro-Fusion style. “It reveals an aspect of how we dance, the choices we make when we’re performing. Dancers emerge from upstage in complete darkness. Here is what I choose for you to see.” Or not.

Augusto Soledade Brazzdance, Saturday March 31 at 7:30 p.m.; Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami; tickets $37, www.arshtcenter.org; 786-335-5488.

 


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