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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards. ..

"The Other Mozart" is a suitcase play – one of those shows where a single actress can pack the entire contents that creates the setting – costume, wig, and props, and go anywhere in the world. It is the way Samantha Hoefer will arrive in Miami to present Sylvia Milo's one-woman play about Maria Anna Mozart, the not nearly as famous older sibling of that 18th century rock star Wolfgang Ama..

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 ..

Ifé-Ilé: Shaking it Up Afro-Cuban Style


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The original, real trance music, not just the kind that you zone out to in any hip SoBe disco or downtown club, but the type that makes you feel as if the spirits are moving you, finds its roots in the drums, in Africa. That’s what distinguishes the irresistible beats of Afro-Cuban music, born out of Yoruba traditions mixed with Western influences, from other rhythms. Luckily, you don’t need to go to Cuba or to Nigeria or Benin to experience this. Right here in South Florida, Neri Torres has been championing this cultural experience through her Ifé-Ilé Afro-Cuban Dance Company (the name Ifé-Ilé, in the Yoruba language, means expansion). Since 1994, the Havana-born Torres has made it her mission to promulgate this music and its dance forms – from the sacred and the folkloric to the latest popular fusions – through her non-profit organization. On Thursday, Aug. 9, the 14th annual Ifé-Ilé Dance Festival kicks off at the Wolfson Campus (Building 6, Room 6100), of Miami Dade College. “People are going to discover the identity of Cubans, share in the joy of life that this culture has, as well as appreciate its contribution to the world,” says the Ifé-Ilé founder, dancer, and choreographer, who also teaches at MDC’s New World School of the Arts. “Because hip hop has influences from all this Afro-Cuban music.” The celebration begins at 7:00 p.m. with a panel discussion, the showing of a fragment of the documentary Cuban America by African-born filmmaker Adelin Gasana, then a live performance courtesy of the Ifé-Ilé dancers, who have been featured in videos (Gloria Estefan), documentaries (Celia, The Queen), and movies (The Lost City), and danced in places as far away from Miami as Dubai. On the 11th, a full day of workshops, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., takes place at the Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center. At 11:00 p.m., the dancers and musicians close the festival at the Cubaocho Art & Research Center. (A gala performance with guest dancers from Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago has been re-scheduled from that weekend to Oct. 26 at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami). “For the workshops, we have all kinds of people, and they come from all over the United States,” says Torres, whose inspiration in the creation of contemporary pieces always respects the traditional. Once the drums start beating and the music flows, it is very difficult to ignore the rhythm. Torres explains that, while for some people it may be easier than for others to feel the music, in the end, for all, it’s quite an experience. “Drums were the first instrument of communication that we had, and they are in total alignment with our body’s chakras. This vibration enters your body and synchronizes itself with your heartbeat, with your pulse. And even if you don’t like to dance, I think that, if you hear the drums, if you hear this music, you will want to dance. Because the rhythm is there, and that’s what we are. Rhythm.” To any skeptics, Torres offers this: “Just think of today’s discos. For me, they are a new ritual, where people fall in a trance and connect with those primitive rhythms.” Thus, dance leads to a trance, in which a spiritual component also comes into play, Torres believes. In the case of the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería, or the Regla de Ocha, where Orishas or deities are worshipped, dance is a sacred expression. “The purpose of music, of rhythm, is for the person to let himself or herself go,” says the Cuban instructor, “and reach other states of consciousness. You fall into a trance and express yourself freely. You connect with the universe. And that’s the beauty of dance. As Martha Graham used to say, ‘dancers are the messengers of the gods.’” Kick-off for the 14th annual Ifé-Ilé Dance Festival, held at Miami Dade College, Thursday, Aug. 9, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., MDC’s Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Avenue, Building 6, Room 6100. Free and open to the public. The festival takes place on August 11, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami; 786-398-7184. Tickets for the classes/workshops and other events start at $15. There are also discount packages. Closing event to be held at Cubaocho Art and Research Center, 1465 SW 8th Street, Suite 106-107, Miami. 305-285-5880. Tickets: $10. www.cubaochoartcenter.com. For more information, go to ifeiledancecompany@yahoo.com, or call 786-398-7184; 305-796-1125. See also a version on Miami New Times online.
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