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New Theatre is celebrating its 30th anniversary this season, a milestone that’s a testament to the tenacious dreams of South Florida theater artists. For two decades under founder Rafael de Acha and a third led by current artistic director Ricky J. Martinez, the company has weathered economic challenges and moves to several different homes, most recently the South Miami-Dade Cultural ..

West Side Story has been – and continues to be – a musical theater piece that inspires extraordinary work from the creative team at Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables. When the company first tackled the groundbreaking 1957 musical by composer Leonard Bernstein, book writer Arthur Laurents and a young lyricist named Stephen Sondheim, its 1997 production won seven Carbonell Awards, inclu..

Rebecca Joy Fletcher’s one-woman show, Ringing True, is personal, funny and above all intelligent theater. It’s this season’s second performance in Miami Theater Center’s SandBox Series, which offers theater artists the chance to develop and present new work with the assistance of a Knights Arts Challenge grant. The Chicago-based actress and playwright, who has previously performed at the..

Havana’s internationally celebrated El Teatro Publico and its director Carlos Diaz presented Antigonon, its reimagining of the classic Antigone tale, to a sold out audience at the Black Box theater at the Miami-Dade Auditorium last weekend. Indeed, so many South Floridians wanted to see the show that an extra performance was added. In Antigonon, as in the Greek classic, a hero has no ..

The title of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play, which is now getting a deftly fizzy post-Broadway production at GableStage, is meant as a kind of comforting mantra. The characters in McNally’s sometimes-vitriolic Broadway valentine are nervously awaiting reviewers’ verdicts on the new play The Golden Egg. Sure, that title is critical catnip, and everyone knows that the only review t..

It’s been a long time coming. Miami’s Fundarte had planned to bring a searing production of Antigone, or more precisely Antigonon, un Contingente Epico (perhaps best translated as a really big, maybe the biggest Antigone ever) to town last year. Everything was in place. Except visas, for this is a production from Havana. But the visas are here now, and the internationally celebrated El Pu..

In sculpting a life, the choices of the moment pave the road toward the future. The women of Gina Gionfriddo’s smart, funny, sometimes scathing Rapture, Blister, Burn have decided to pursue intellectually rigorous careers (or not), become wives and mothers (or not), settle for what they have (or not) as the clock ticks them into middle age. Gionfriddo’s thought-provoking, cautiona..

When trials and fears beset our lives, we humans find myriad ways to cope: concocting myths and legends, sending entreaties to God or the gods, letting our subconscious do the talking in nightmares. The characters in The Golem of Havana, the absorbing and theatrically savvy debut production from Miami New Drama, experience all of the above as Cuba descends into revolutionary chaos in 1958..

Two grand musicals infused with the sweep of history and a third about a father with a penchant for spinning tall tales lead the race for the 40th annual Carbonell Awards, South Florida theater’s highest honor. Announced on Wednesday, the 100 nominations in 20 categories include a competition-leading 10 for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schö..

MCB and NWS Collaboration: ‘Inside the Music’

Photo: Leigh-Ann Esty
Written by: Octavio Roca
Article Rating

It was the first time this ever happened, and it was pretty wonderful. March 18 at the New World Center in South Beach, dancers of Miami City Ballet and musicians from the New World Symphony got together for Inside the Music: Movements, a surprising program boasting seven ballet world premieres -- including one ravishing short dance film -- plus music spanning four centuries, and some of the most exciting musical performances of the season. These two neighbors should get together again. Soon.

These were well-made dances, promising and occasionally more. The language of the seven young choreographers was conservative, thoroughly grounded in and seldom deviating from the Balanchinean mold, yet never less than entertaining. Most promising of all is this glimpse at a possible future in dance, at the sort of experiment that has paid off elsewhere.

William Forsythe, one of today’s leading choreographers, began just this way, making dances among friends within the young Noverre Society inside the Stuttgart Ballet with its orchestra players. Musicians also surely benefit from this. NWS Fellows already enjoy an enviably wide repertory, but collaborating with another kind of artist can only broaden their own artistry. Inside the Music was a win-win proposition.

Sara Esty’s Road Movies, set to the opening movement of John Adams’ s 1995 score, opened the show. A luminous Chase Swatosh stepped out first, joined in time by Renan Cerdeiro, Bradley Dunlap, Leigh-Ann Esty, Jennifer Lauren, and Nicole Stalker. Kelly Bunch’s violin and Michael Lenville’s piano breezed through Adams’ complex score, making it sound easy and at one point near the end making the dancers hit one last gorgeous stage picture just as the music stopped. Esty’s choreography throughout was sensitive to the music, and if she hasn’t yet found a language of her own, she has a beautiful way with the language she’s inherited.

Ariel Rose’s Dyad followed, set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s popular Concerto No. 5 for Harpsichord and Strings, exquisitely played by Nina Zhou at the piano backed by the NWS Fellows. Shimon Ito, Alex Manning, and Damian Zamorano, all shirtless wearing black pants, had a few sexy little shoulder shimmies, then joined Nathalia Arja in Rose’s fluid dance. The lively Arja has real chispa, and Ito was a strong, attractive partner. The first of three tiny, clever Interludes by Tricia Albertson and an irresistible Christie Sciturro followed, one or two-minute whimsical encounters of ballerina and oboist all over the house. The NWS oboist, Kevin Pearl, showed wit, a luscious mellow tone, and not bad-at-all legs (yes, they made him dance at the end as well).

Cerdeiro’s Preludes, set to George Gershwin’s  Three Preludes, was a little tame for this music. The musicians more than made up for it, though. Robert Smith’s jazzy piano, Audrey Wright’s easy violin, and especially Jeremy Morrow’s incredibly precise yet sensual trombone and Henrik Heide’s flute with its shades of Claude Bolling all got to the heart of Gershwin’s score. The 10 dancers were splendid.

A new short film followed called Danse sacrée, choreographed and directed by  Zoe Zien with videographer Bruce Pinchbeck, set to the first movement of Claude Debussy’s (1904) Danse sacrée et profane. Shot in a dream-like atmosphere at Fairchild Botanical Garden, with the score played live by the NWS Fellows, the dance began at a huge banyan tree and moved through the grass as the dancers seemed to float through a tribute to Nijinsky. Brianna Abruzzo, Cerdeiro, Ito, and Helen Ruiz were stellar, and the camera obviously loves Patricia Delgado. It is a lovely film.

A very academic duet by Eric Trope called Nine Chapters, set to Johannes Brahms’ moving Sonata No. 1 for cello and Piano, seemed not quite finished, and not up to the score’s emotional breadth. Still, Aaron Ludwig’s burnished cello sounded like a what every dramatic tenor aims for. Colorful in every way, from the tight choreography to the colorful tights, Leigh-Ann Esty’s The Cantina Band had everyone smiling and set the joint jumping to John Williams’ bar scene in Star Wars. No surprise, the NWS Fellows make one hot jazz band.

The most satisfying new dance came at the end, Acantilado by Adriana Pierce, set to Alberto Ginastera’s 1953 Variaciones Concertantes. Tricia Albertson, Emily Bromberg, Sarah McCahill, Leslie Overholt, and Chase Swatosh -- all with ideal follow-though in every phrase -- created delicious tension in this dance, which was not exactly plotless and suggested an outsider and the community that made him that. As that outsider, Jovani Forlan looked like a starlet, danced like a star, and stole the show with a touching fusion of innocence and desire. Here is a dancer to watch.

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About The writer

Dance and music critic, assistant professor of philosophy at Miami Dade College

Octavio Roca, an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Miami Dade College, was music, dance and theater critic for The Washington Post, The Washington ..

About the Writer

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