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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 ..

KPD: Scrutinizing Disability, Dance and the World


Photo: uan Maria Seller, Roberto Seller, Isaiah Gonzal ez, Katrina Weaver, Rebecca Pelham; Don Lorenz, photographer
Written by: Cameron Basden
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Karen Peterson is the artistic director of Karen Peterson and Dancers, a company that brings professional dancers with and without disabilities together in the same piece of choreography, and on the same stage. It is a lofty goal in a society where the focus is often about seeking physical perfection. Peterson’s latest collaborative project takes a closer look at what is perceived as perfect in our physical and external world -- and what is not.

When Peterson was applying for funding over a year ago, the conversation went from funding to politics. “We had had so many discussions about things that were happening in the world, emotionally, socially and politically,” she says. “I felt it was calling for us to do a collaboration with video and with dance in response.” As a result, “Scrutiny: The World Gone Astray” was born. It will be premiered at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium on Thursday and Friday.

Peterson brought the idea of scrutiny to life with two other trusted choreographers, Katrina Weaver and Juan Maria Seller. The three each did a section of “Scrutiny” based on their personal interpretation or inspiration of what scrutiny meant to them.Without even realizing it, the choreographers were impacted by each other. Peterson credits Seller with being a major force in this piece, challenging the choreographers to venture into new territories. Peterson herself will be making a stage come-back in the section Seller created.

Weaver had a distinct vision for what scrutiny meant to her. “I was very interested in scrutinizing the body from a medical point of view. As I started rehearsals and working with the dancers, it took another shape and became a little more about gender issues and identity, about female issues and power in a male society.”

As part of a yearly foreign exchange program, Peterson will also be integrating two disabled women from Vienna, Austria into “Scrutiny.” The three choreographers traveled to Vienna to work with the women who will then join KPD for the performances. The two Austrian dancers were curious to investigate the ideas of power and control, especially as disabled women.

“To tie all of this together is the video that Maria (Lino) will present,” says Peterson. “Maria has been in every rehearsal and conversation from the beginning.”

Lino explains that Peterson encouraged her to speak out, to question if the concept remained clear and on track. “To me video is a way to emphasize the concept of the piece through working with the choreographers. We all work together. Video shows the audience the angles and the composition that you won’t see in a frontal performance.”

Working with a variety of abilities contains physical challenges that are not usual in a dance studio. “We’ve practiced a lot of contact improvisation, so we know how far to push the dancers, at what point they will fall,” says Peterson. “We’ve taken a lot more risk this year. We have a very tight group who really know each other and trust each other.

“We want the movement to come from the bodies, from a deep place, so it is a true kinetic response from the dancers’ own personal selves. I think you’ll be able to see that.”

Peterson has been working for more than 25 years in the field of mixed ability or physically integrated dance in Miami, and across the globe. “They’re having a whole conference this year in Kansas City on integrated dance. That truly shows the growth of the movement,” she says. “Thankfully, we have artistically and aesthetically moved up the ladder.”

The mixing of dance elements, the blending of abilities and the intense emotional impact makes “Scrutiny” a performance of athletes and artists in their fields and perhaps, to question the very idea of perfection.

“Miami/Vienna Dance Exchange” featuring the U.S. premiere of ”Scrutiny: The World Gone Astray,” with LizArt Productions and Karen Peterson and Dancers; Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12, at 8:00 pm ; Miami-Dade County Auditorium, OnStage Black Box theater, 2901 West Flagler Street, Miami; $20 general admission, $15 students and $10 seniors and people with disabilities, through Ticketmaster at tinyurl.com/ScrutinyMiami or in-person at the Auditorium box office. For more information:www.karenpetersondancers.org (305) 298-5879.

 


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