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

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 ..

Steven Levenson’s “If I Forget” began its Off-Broadway run a year ago, closing just six weeks before the now 33-year-old playwright won the Tony Award for writing the book of the acclaimed musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” Cut to February 2018, and South Florida already has its own exquisite production of “If I Forget,” thanks to GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler. Levenson’s fun..

In a career that continues to soar two decades after his first play was produced, Michael McKeever has premiered his dramas, comedies and short plays at theaters all over South Florida. Nearly always, he’s involved in those productions as the author, sometimes as an actor, at times as a set designer. The plays get their start here, then go on to productions (sometimes multiple product..

When M. John Richard decided to leave the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in late 2008 to become president and chief executive officer of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, he arrived in South Florida with a vision, myriad ideas and a long-term exit strategy. “I knew in 2008 that I had a 10-year run in my tank,” says Richard, 65, who plans to retire from his Arsh..

Cuban Gold: Contemporary Dance Company Malpaso Debuts at Arsht

Photo: Photo by Nir Arieli
Article Rating

Myth has it that a Cuban who doesn’t dance is a rare creature. Like the endangered Florida panther, you could live an entire lifetime without ever sighting one. “We come from a dancing island,” explains Fernando Sáez, founder and executive director of Cuban contemporary dance company Malpaso. From Afro-Cuban ritual dances to classical ballet to cha cha cha, the island’s dance tradition is among the richest cultural treasures ever to emerge from the Caribbean.

With the Friday Arsht Center debut of Malpaso at the Knight Concert Hall, Miami is about to be showered with some of those riches. Through sold-out runs at New York’s Joyce Theater and rave reviews for performances at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, this young company has already shown United States audiences that they are to ordinary movement what 18-karat gold is to dross.

Malpaso started as a leap of faith. Four years ago, dancers Osnel Delgado and Dailedys Carrazana quit soloist positions at the island’s oldest and most prominent modern dance company, Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, to carve their own path. Their friends worried, warning them that the move was a misstep, a malpaso, which could cost them valuable years of their budding careers. Delgado and Carrazana left anyway, anxious to see their own artistic visions flourish in a way that they could not in that hierarchical, state-sponsored bastion of their art form.

After two years of freelancing, the two joined forces with Sáez to create Malpaso, a new and inclusive voice in the dance world that unites choreographers, dancers and creative ideas from around the world with their Cuban counterparts. Linda Shelton, executive director of the Joyce, which has been involved with Malpaso since its inception, noted that leaving the security of Danza Contemporánea took guts: “[Delgado and Carranza] were with a company that worked all the time, that was supported by the state, and they were giving all of that up to start their own, to show their own voice.”

They found a home base for rehearsals, classes and community performances at the Jewish Sephardic Center in the Vedado neighborhood. The director offered them underutilized theater space at the center in exchange for creating opportunities for neighbors to become more involved in the arts through talk-backs and intimate performances there. This spirit of community involvement, said Sáez, is in keeping with the company’s core philosophy that all members should be equal participants in all aspects of the group’s operations, “from cleaning the floors when we arrive at the studios in the morning to fundraising and marketing.”

In addition to finding their own funding, Shelton noted that challenges for dancers in Cuba are different than they are here. “I have brought down so many rolls of gaffer’s tape because they just don’t have that, to glue together the floor,” she said. “The material for costumes, their shoes…they don’t have any of that, so it has to be brought to them…. But on the other hand, you know, you’re a dancer, that’s like being a doctor in Cuba, it’s so well respected. We just don’t have that.”

Malpaso’s growth has been nothing short of meteoric. In 2014, they performed gratisfor friends, family and dance aficionados at Wynwood’s 200-seat Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. The leap to the 2,200-seat Knight Concert Hall is a ballsy move; modern dance is notoriously a hard sell in Miami. But just as a Cuban without cojones is nearly as rare as one with two left feet, no one should be too surprised at both the company’s and the Arsht Center’s bravura. Surely Malpaso, with its fluid, sexy athleticism, can put the lie to the old saw that contemporary dance is too cerebral to actually be fun to watch.

These dancers’ gorgeous and glorious movement is all loose limbs and soaring extensions that sweep in high arcs over one another’s heads. The company’s 10 members are mostly classically trained in Cuba’s premiere national dance schools. Shelton says, “They do have this very basic ballet training, which to me means that they can do anything. I would compare them to the level, in a way, of an Ailey dancer. They can do anything that’s put in front of them.” She noted that the two troupes share a common work ethic, in addition to “really strong, strong training. They dance like they mean it.”

Sáez also noted that their basis in classical ballet makes them “ready to change gears” to adapt to the styles of prominent choreographers from the United States who are itching to come work with them in the Havana. Those choreographers have already included Ronald K. Brown and Trey McIntyre, both of whose work, in addition to Osnel Delgado’s, will be seen at the Arsht on Friday.

Shelton noted that the troupe’s reception in New York has been fabulous. “The word of mouth about how good the dancers are and the great show they put on, I think that gets out,” she says. Still, this is Miami, and the Arsht is a big hall. “It’s risky,” says Shelton.

But risk is in Malpaso’s DNA and, as Sáez points out, “Music and dance… are essential to the Cuban culture.” And that’s as true on one side of the Florida Straits as another. Bring it.

Malpaso, Friday Jan. 6, at 8:00 p.m., Knight Concert Hall, Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd.; tickets $35-$95; free workshop at 7:00 p.m., Peacock Education Center at Arsht;


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

Captcha Image

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..

Having grown up in Buenos Aires with a strong interest in music, one would think that Jaime Bronsztein ( would have slid down the well-lubricated tracks towar..

A creepy old king ogles his beautiful stepdaughter. Powerless to stop him, her mother, the queen, protests drunkenly. The girl, age maybe 12 or so, falls for the only man who does not lust af..

At first their sound is reminiscent of Bob Marley. Just as plaintive but with added punch. But listen longer -- the more familiar the music feels, the harder it is to pin down. This is t..

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..

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 ..

Por dos noches consecutivas, el Miami City Ballet (MCB), que dirige Lourdes López desde 2012, abrió las puertas de sus instalaciones en Miami Beach para ofrecer un encuentro Open Barre con e..

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 ..