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: ..
What happens to old dances? Do they slowly disappear as choreographers and dancers move on to other projects? This may well be the case unless an effort is made to revive the piece-- reconstruct it and present it back to an audience. The question then arises as to which pieces are worthy of an encore; enter Ritmo Jondo(Deep Rhythm), a seminal work by Doris Humphrey, one of the foremost choreographers and dancers of modern dance.
Choreographed in 1953, and set in Spain, it examines the relationship between men and women during a time, and within a culture, with established mores for the sexes. Using the passion of flamenco, it’s an intriguing piece filled with shifting rhythms. Humphrey chose Carlos Suriñach evocative piece, Ritmo Jondo: Flamenco for Orchestra, for her piece. Scores of Suriñach, a Catalan composer, were also used by Martha Graham in Acrobats of God and for Embattled Gardens.
“The hardest part of reconstruction was the first movement for the men,” says Hannah Baumgarten, co-artistic director of Dance Now! Miami. “It was done without counts, and was very challenging.” Daniel Lewis, founding Dean of the Dance Department at Miami’s New World School of the Arts and a former dancer and artistic director of the Jose Limon Dance Company, workedwith the Dance Now! dancers to reconstruct the piece, which will be performed on Friday.
Lewis conducted a two week seminar, teaching the style of the Limon technique. Dance Now! is a company which performs works from a variety of choreographers. “Other voices serve as a counterpoint to our work,” explains Baumgarten.
Humphrey was one of the second generation of modern dancers, was a mentor to Limon and artistic director of his company. She choreographed Ritmo Jondo for the company towards the end of her career. Her pieces often examine relationships and social order -- Ritmo Jondo gives philosophical depth to the study of these relationships. Humphrey’s technique includes her concept of fall and recovery, which she called the “arc between two deaths.” Her book, The Art of Making Dances, is still used in many universities today. Ritmo Jondo was on the programin 1954 when the Limon Dance Companybecame one of the first companies chosen to tour South America with the sponsorship of the International Exchange Program under the tutelage of the United States Department of State.
House on Fire is Hannah Baumgarten’s contemporary jazz piece. It has the sense of a New Orleans club scene. With music by Tom Waits, Jimi Hendrix and Medeski, Martin and Wood, it’s a playful look at “club rats” in their search forcompanionship. Baumgarten describes it a sort of game – likened to musical chairs, as “each person seekstheir partner…depicting different relationships of friendship, passion and love.”
Dance Now! Miami co- artistic director Diego Salterini looks at dreams in Sogni. It’s an exploration of dreams -- a series of visions in a non-narrative manner. Salterini explains Sogni sometimes has the feel of being in a dark vacuum with sparks of “floating poetry.”
Dance Now! Miami recreates a masterpiece worthy of its rebirth, and presents and two contemporary pieces from choreographers who are part of the legacy of artists whose works should not be forgotten, but celebrated.
Dance Now! Miami performs Ritmo Jondo at 8:30 p.m., Friday at the Colony Theatre,1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; tickets $35 general; $15 student/seniors; www.dancenowmiami.org.
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 ..
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