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Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..

Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..

Desperate times call for desperate measures. For some, that might mean taking a second or third job. Or robbing a bank. Or moving in with family. For Casey, a straight lip-syncing Elvis impersonator in a Panama City bar, desperation means forsaking the King’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit for leg hair-hiding pantyhose, fake boobs and big-hair wigs, the better to sell himself as a fa..

Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..

As this steamy spring melts into a sweltering summer, Actors’ Playhouse is inviting theater lovers to a wedding – a big, fat Jewish-WASP wedding, otherwise known as the Broadway musical “It Shoulda Been You.” Though the show seemingly takes place in the present, the piece by book writer-lyricist Brian Hargrove and composer Barbara Anselmi is an old-fashioned, stereotype-filled throwba..

'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..

Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..

Memory – deep-seated, fragile, slippery, mutable – is at the heart of Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015, the play is a family tragicomedy given a sci-fi makeover; in other words, this thought-provoking theater piece charts its own, fresh path. Now getting its South Florida premiere as the second professional production from the Main Street Players, ..

The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..

Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..

Francisco Hidalgo Takes Flamenco Back to a Nobler Time


Photo: Photo by Generacion Asere
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Flamenco performer Francisco Hidalgo, whose surname means “nobleman,” brought a bygone era of dignity and grace to life on the stage of the Miami-Dade County Auditorium in early November, in a collaboration with FUNDarte. Miami was the first stop on a multi-city U.S. tour of Los Silencios del Baile, Hildago’s full-length choreographic debut.

Hailing from a small pueblo blanco in the mountains of Cádiz, Spain, Hidalgo’s provenance is about as authentically traditional as one can get. And like a latter-day Don Quixote, this 31-year-old choreographer seems on a quest to restore flamenco to a more noble and chivalrous age, a time when male dancers with ramrod straight backs and quiet upper torsos were models of restrained power. This is not to say that he eschews all the trappings of modernity. Although much of his aesthetic is decidedly more retro, his spectacular technique is clearly a product of the 21st century. For his first solo, he wore a Chinese-style silk shirt, giving him the aspect of a Zen master and enhancing his broodingly mysterious onstage presence.

Hidalgo’s core is rock solid. This gives him an incredible axis and balance for turn, and he landed triple and quadruple pirouettes almost effortlessly. In his solo por soleares, he raised both arms slowly, circling his hands in gorgeous arcs, sometimes seeming to caress the very air with his fingers. While male dancers of the past would never have allowed themselves this liberty, seeing handwork as too feminine, today’s bailaores have incorporated it fully into their technique. His use of the hands lent Hidalgo’s dancing great expressive range. One could also appreciate the meticulous rehearsal that must have gone into perfecting every line and every moment; when he finished off a lightning speed footwork run with a kick to the back, looking like an Arabian thoroughbred, you felt his leg must always go up to that precise and perfect angle.

Hidalgo’s counterpart, dancer Rubén Puertas, also embraced an aspect of flamenco’s half-forgotten history when he donned a pair of castanets for his solo, a joyous and lively fandangos. Castanets, decades ago de riguer in flamenco performances, are often dismissed as “too classical” by today’s dancers. Puertas’ gorgeous and hugely entertaining solo showed that, played by a master, this most quintessentially Spanish of instruments has an important role in the flamenco repertory.

Like Hidalgo’s, Puertas’ technique is superb. He alternated between a lighter, joking side, sticking his behind out in an exaggerated arch at one point, and pure business, awing the audience with triple vuelta quebrada at another. Later, with a high jump in the air, both knees flexed and feet pointed under him, he landed in a deep lunge, torero-style, first to the left, then, springing up from the floor to lunge to the right. Caution: do not try this at home.

Bailaora Lucía de Miguel wowed the full house with her shawl work, but the choreography for her alegrías, while capably and stylishly danced, was less interesting than that of her male counterparts. The guitarist and singers were first rate, although a tuning problem during José Almarcha’s first guitar solo, “Amalgama,” was an unwelcome distraction and a glitch in the sound system gave singer Trini de la Isla’s a raspier sound than he comes by naturally. The younger Roberto Lorente’s voice provided a pleasing contrast to El Trini’s. Both have incredible rhythm and spot-on instincts when it comes to singing for dance.

With no theme or plot, Silencios del Baile was held together by its unity of tone –elegant, somewhat somber—and by Hidalgo’s talent for creating visually interesting onstage groupings and seamless entrances and exits that, without fanfare, took on a subtle drama of their own. And although the work’s title means “The Silences of the Dance,” Sunday afternoon’s audience was anything but silent, erupting in a long-standing ovation at the end of this beautiful and impeccably crafted program.

 


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