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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..

Friendships can bring seemingly unlike people together to sometime form a strong bond. Such is the case in Walter Dean Myers’ coming of age novel, Darius & Twig. According to the summary notes of the book “Two best friends, a writer and a runner, deal with bullies, family issues, social pressures, and their quest for success coming out of Harlem.” It’s a tale of endurance, perseverance, an..

Kristoffer Diaz’s searing, hilarious and all-too-resonant play “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” isn’t new to South Florida. The 2009 script, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, made its area debut in 2012 in a fierce and fine production at Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre Company just a few months before the long-running regional powerhouse folded. Now “Chad Deity” has ret..

“This is no camera, nothing cut. This is real," says Tranee Wallace, whose story is one of three live radio plays in Dan Froot and Company's "Pang!" at Miami Light Project's Light Box at the Goldman Warehouse. Hers is one of a triptych of oral histories adapted into plays of families facing adversity: A Los Angeles single mom who loses the home she and her nine children live in after..

When it comes to farces, Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” is one of the great ones. The 1982 comedy has made it to Broadway three times, and American audiences all over the country have embraced it in countless regional productions. Actors’ Playhouse is having a go at “Noises Off” as the second show of its 30th anniversary season. The play fits like a period glove on the main stage at the..

The intricate alchemy of inspired theatrical art is on full display in Zoetic Stage’s darkly hilarious, gripping world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s “Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts.” Demos-Brown, a rising theatrical star whose play “American Son” will open on Broadway in November, has drawn on his experience as a lawyer working on wrongful death cases to create a savage exami..

My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..

French-Algerian Dance Troupe Continues Exciting Moves for the Ojala/Inshallah Series


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Written by: Elizabeth Hanly
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He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, classical ballet and capoeira in a work as fluid and full of grace as it is wildly athletic. Indeed, one reviewer at the Washington Post raves: “Koubi can convince his audience there is no such thing as physics.”

Saturday’s one-night only performance at the Olympia Theater is the next installment of MDC Living Arts Ojala/Inshallah series.

Koubi’s work comes out of a decade-long search to explore his past, as it intersects with his present. Born in France, for years Koubi was only vaguely curious about the origins of his name. “I thought perhaps my family had roots in Brittany,” he says. At home there was no Arabic language, no hint of anything Arabic. “My parents out-Frenched the French.” Koubi was in his mid-20s when finally, his questions prompted his father to show him a photo of an elderly man dressed in traditional Arab garb. This was a first glimpse of his great-grandfather.

He set off to Algeria. So began a process Koubi describes as nothing short of “a reorientation of my senses.” He spent days on end simply walking through the streets, “trying to feel them.” Koubi returned again and again. Already a renowned dancer and choreographer in France, Koubi decided to create a company of exclusively Algerian dancers. “Found brothers,” he calls them.

Never before had he encountered dancers with such a commitment to learn. “Everybody who auditioned had been break-dancing in the streets. They had no formal training in classical or modern dance and were hungry to learn.”

Out of the 250 persons who auditioned for Koubi, 249 were male. So he began to work for the first time with an all-male assembly. He found it so compelling that even now a decade later, his 12-member company, Cie, remains all-male.

Koubi finds inspiration of his choreography is the motion inherent in Arabic calligraphy. Likewise, he is moved by the searching inherent in Sufism and its whirling dervishes, a searching based precisely on motion.

Still, he is quick to point out that his work in not a tribute to Arabic culture but rather a tribute to both sides of the Mediterranean. “It’s in the middle because I am in the middle.” He finds parallels to his work, as well as points of departure for it in heavily shadowed and emotion-laden paintings of 19-century French master Orientalist Eugene Delacroix.

Likewise, the music Koubi troupe dances to comes from both sides of the Mediterranean. Bach mingles with Egyptian modernist composer Hamza El Din.

As Koubi is “in the middle” in his approach to his company’s art, so too he is “in the middle” in his efforts to advance dance not only for men but also for the women of North Africa. He is at work on a documentary to be released in 2019 entitled “The Nature of Women.” It will explore issues of gender in the region with an all-female assembly.

Koubi is well-aware of the importance of bringing this show to American audiences at this time. So far, there have been no protests. “Audiences have only applauded,” he says. He is being modest. There have been nothing but standing ovations.

 Cie. Hervé Koubi: “What the Day Owes to the Night,” a French Algerian dance concert, Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami; tickets$55, $38, $25 plus fees at tinyurl.com/TixHerveKoubi; 305- 374-2444;mdclivearts.org and 305-237-3010

 


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