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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. ..

The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..

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, ..

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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