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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..

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“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: ..

After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..

Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..

Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..

Hip Hop Hits the Stage with Combinado Argentino de Danza


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Combinado Argentino de Danza’s recent performance at the Colony Theater, produced by MDC Live Arts, was billed as a deconstructed blend of hip-hop, contemporary dance and Malambo (an Argentine folkloric dance). Such a diversity of styles could be challenging to mix, but the company’s fantastically athletic performers pulled it off with style.

Under the direction of Andrea Servera, Combinado Argentino de Danza is a handful of dancers, a beat boxer and a DJ. Each one has the skill and stage presence to hold a solo, but more striking was the unity of the group. Even though the choreography was largely improvisational, each performer seemed to have internalized the movement language of the group.

Combinado Argentino de Danza seems to have a heart of hip hop, which is above all about community. In the after-show Q&A, the dancers explained how they all met at a weekly street fair in Buenos Aires. After seeing each other week after week, they got to know each other and found common goals and passions.

Hip hop may have come from the United States but it has spread all over the world. Shake the Dust, a recent documentary by journalist and filmmaker Adam Sjöberg, produced with hip-hop superstar Nasir “Nas” Jones, portrays hip hop as a truly global movement with remarkable similarities no matter where it takes root. (If you haven’t already seen it, you should Google Shake the Dust right now and rent it through Vimeo). In this documentary, dancers from Uganda to Cambodia to Colombia all talk about hip hop as the center of their life, even though their respective cultural backdrops couldn’t be more different. Each person says it keeps them out of trouble, gives them a sense of family, and plus, it’s cool. On the surface it is a dance and music form with a distinctive style, but underneath it is much more than that, a way of life. Combinado Argentino de Danza seems to be infused with this same ethos.

While they obviously have strong artistic direction and creative leadership, Combinado Argentino de Danza’s performance felt like a hip hop cipher -- a group circle supporting the emergence of an individual’s own personal style, whether in break dancing or verbal play. And more literally, break dancing with a punctuation of badass beat boxing from Milo Moya, were the backbone of the company’s group style. At the same time, the sophistication, storytelling, and stage composition of contemporary dance were present, as well as the folkloric style of Malambo. None of these styles was presented in its strictly traditional form, and the blend was fluid.

The performance was definitely contemporary in the largest sense of the word, and not just in dance terms. It didn’t feel like a rehashing of old ideas, instead displaying the kind of multiculturalism that dancers in this era naturally come to embody through their own diversity of experiences and training. The overall effect was original, accessible and impressive entertainment. It comes from the street but it is worthy of the stage. MDC Live Arts must be credited for bringing yet another world-class dance company to Miami.

 


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About The writer

Cathering Hollingsworth is a dance critic and dancer

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About the Writer

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