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Jason Fitzroy Jeffers has made a mark on Miami in more than one arena. He began as a journalist, writing on city life and culture for local publications including the Miami Herald and Ocean Drive. He later performed and recorded music under his middle name, Fitzroy. And more recently, he founded arts media group Third Horizon as a catch-all container for projects promoting Caribbean art, ..

No doubt about it: South Florida theater folks love the plays of Annie Baker. Island City Stage presented her “Body Awareness” in 2013. Alliance Theatre Lab did “The Aliens” in 2015, and earlier this year Mad Cat staged an impressive production of Baker’s lengthy, Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Flick.” Now Area Stage Company in Coral Gables has jumped onto the Baker bandwagon with it..

Miami-based Jason Fitzroy Jeffers has cut a complex path for his life. He describes himself first as a writer. But he has produced work on a wide range of platforms and subjects. Like the symbol of the machete that reoccurs throughout his work, Jeffers is at home in the wilderness of uncharted spaces. Currently, he can be found at the center of Third Horizon, a media company that he ..

As rituals go, reunions can be fraught experiences. Sure, it’s good to see old friends and catch up, but the past has a way of becoming an insistent thrum, so that uncomfortable memories and old transgressions bubble to the surface again. The characters in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ intense, wildly entertaining “Our Lady of 121st Street” get that, bigtime. Miami’s Ground Up & Risin..

The actors in Ground Up & Rising, one of South Florida’s edgiest and most diverse theater companies, have a thing for the works of Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Adly Guirgis. Founded in 2005, the company launched with a sizzling production of Guirgis’ “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train” featuring two of its three founders, Bechir Sylvain and Sheaun McKinney (the latter now on HBO’s “Vice..

La calle al final del mundo (The Street at the End of the World), a Spanish-language play written by local playwright Ramón Caudet and directed by his wife Anna Silvetti, seeks to challenge our notions about love and “happily ever after.” This play within a play tells the story of a director and two actors who come together to rehearse. The appearance of a mysterious woman, like a spell, ..

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..

Many great plans have been sketched out and scrapped on bar napkins. It’s unique then to hear the story of one of South Florida’s newest theater companies, Lost Girls Theatre, whose co-founding artistic directors, Andie Arthur and Katie Siegel, found each other at a baby shower: “Somehow, between sharing appetizers and opening presents,” Arthur explains, “Katie and I got into a conversati..

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..

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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