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Inside a nondescript cream-colored trailer on the grounds of the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City, 13 aspiring Miami artists have been devoting themselves to a transformative summer. Ranging in age from 13 to 17, the participants are all female, all young women of color with a passion for the arts. For 13 weeks, they have sacrificed family vacations and jobs in or..

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The late poet Miller Williams used to call a poem, “the meeting place between the writer and the reader.” When it comes to theater, the play could be called the meeting place between the director and the actors, and when it works, the audience, which has the good fortune of witnessing the chemistry that transpires between a phenomenal play, an astute director, and a talented cast. This is..

Debuting its new space in the Bird Road Arts District, Havanafama Teatro Estudio kicks off its season with Bernarda, Juan Roca’s adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play, La Casa de Bernarda Alba. Performed in Spanish, Bernarda is about a widow who rules her home with an iron fist. Her five daughters are not allowed to leave the house or have relationships with men, and Bernarda has imp..

From the time he was 7 until he turned 33, David Holthouse harbored a poisonous secret: As the adults played cribbage upstairs, the teen son of his parents’ friends brutally raped him in a basement bedroom. If the weeping boy told, the older kid said, he’d come to David’s house and gut him like a salmon. So a damaged child stayed silent. The grownup David, finally, did not. Stalki..

Director Paula Ortiz’s brilliant spin on Federico García Lorca’s classic play, Blood Wedding, unfolds within the film’s first few seconds. La Novia (The Bride) opens with an overhead shot of a woman who appears almost mummified in a torn and bloodied dress. After a sudden gasp for air, actress Inma Cuesta peels away the sullied layers and slowly emerges, digging her fingers into the ..

El puerto de los cristales rotos (The Harbor of Broken Glass), co-written by Mario Ernesto Sánchez and Patricia Suárez, is based on a disturbing historical event. In 1939 Cuba denied entry to the 937 passengers (mostly Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany) aboard the MS St. Louis when the ship arrived at Havana harbor. From there they tried to dock off the Florida coast, but President Roo..

As ideas for plays go, the notion behind Jonathan Tolins’ 'Buyer & Cellar' sounds kooky and more than a little improbable.The setup is that megawatt star Barbra Streisand has an Americana-inspired collection of shops in the basement of her movie set-worthy red barn on her Malibu estate. And that an out-of-work gay actor gets a mind-blowing gig when he’s hired to man the diva’s quaint..

When it comes to Cuban film, it is very easy for wide sweeping shots of Havana’s decaying beauty to steal the show. Not the case in the 2014 Cuban film, Venecia, in Spanish with English subtitles, currently showing at the Tower Theater in Little Havana. Director Kiki Álvarez zooms in on the lives of three women in their twenties, laying bare their humor, vulnerability and secret frustrati..

For the last three decades Mario Ernesto Sánchez, founder and artistic director of the International Hispanic Theatre Festival of Miami, has had to navigate last minute cancellations, mountains of red tape, denied visas, earthquakes, hurricanes and more. It’s no wonder when asked what he loves about producing the festival, now in its 31st year, his wry sense of humor comes out: “My favori..

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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