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Even before the election that transformed billionaire reality TV star Donald J. Trump into the 45th president of the United States, playwright Robert Schenkkan was so disturbed by the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that he decided to respond. Not with a Tweet. Not with an opinion-page essay. The Pulitzer Prize winner spoke back to candidate Trump with a full-length play. “Building..

“Baño de Luna,” written and directed by Pulitzer-prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz and presented by Arca Images and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, marks the debut of the Spanish-language version of “Bathing in Moonlight,” the original English production that debuted at the prestigious McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, N.J., in 2016. Performed by a stellar cast in Spanish..

Rafael Nofal’s play “El tiempo de la mandarinas” (“Season for Tangerines”) tackles the very relevant and disturbing theme of human trafficking. Produced by Antiheroes Project, this moving play is in its last week at Artefactus Teatro, a well-purposed black box and gallery space in a smattering of warehouses in Kendall. Nofal’s text removes overt violence and male characters fr..

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The play begins, as it must, with the velvet voice of Nat King Cole crooning “Mona Lisa.” After all, how many paintings inspire an Oscar-winning song? For that matter, how many masterpieces survive damage, theft and the rapacious covetousness of collectors for more than half a millennium? Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Gioconda,” popularly known as the Mona Lisa, is that inspi..

A casual conversation with a fellow theater artist prompted José Manuel Dominguez, founder and artistic director of Antiheroes Project, to produce the company’s latest piece, “El tiempo de las mandarinas,” (“Season for Tangerines”) by Argentine playwright Rafael Nofal. “I am drawn to themes of memory, dreams, and paradise lost, but for a long time I’ve wanted to do a play based on reality,” sa..

The 32nd International Hispanic Theatre Festival kicks off on Thursday, July 6 with the Mexican company Los Tristes Tigres’ irreverent spin on Shakespeare, “Algo de un tal Shakespeare” (“Something by One Shakespeare”). Founder and director Mario Ernesto Sánchez, the festival’s engine that could and still can, identifies this raucous play as part of the festival’s larger goal of attracting..

Nowadays, it’s tough not to feel worried, paranoid or in need of some escapist relief from the steady flow of oh-no-he-didn’t news out of Washington. Miami playwright Theo Reyna feels your pain. His response is “Firemen Are Rarely Necessary,” a jet-black satire now getting its Mad Cat Theatre Company world premiere at Miami Theater Center’s Sand Box. The play takes intricately aim..

Pearl Cleage’s play “Flyin’ West,” an M Ensemble production currently on stage at the beautiful new performing arts center in Liberty City, the Sandrell Rivers Theatre, is set in humble Nicodemus, Kansas, the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. Set in 1898, the play focuses on the lives of Sophie (Brandiss ..

Esteban, (http://estebanlapelicula.com/en/) the debut of Cuban director Jonal Cosculluela being premiered at The Miami Light Project tells the story of a 9 year old, living in Havana with his mother, who’s raising him as a single parent, and his perseverance following his dream of becoming a musician. The challenges seem overwhelming. Esteban and his mother struggle to make ends meet (htt..

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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