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Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..

Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..

Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..

The International Ballet Festival of Miami: Updated Gala Schedule


Photo: Delphine Moussin
Written by: Sean Erwin
Article Rating

 

Dance lovers in Miami know that for the past two decades the International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) has made the city in September a magnet for the brightest stars in the world of ballet.
 
The IBFM – now in its 22nd year under the leadership of Miami ballet icon, Pedro Pablo Peña -- packs an incredible six nights of dance over three weeks from September 2 through September 30. Over the same period, ballet-related film showings, book signings and dance workshops occur in locations throughout Miami-Dade county from the Colony Theater on Miami Beach to the Light Box Theater in Wynwood.
 
The six dance programs include 15 companies from every part of the globe, including New York’s Ballet Inc and Miami’s own Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami to Milan’s Teatro alla Scala and the Staatsballet Berlin, to name only a few.
 
Dance companies make the trip to Miami because the IBFM showcases their newest works in the largest event of its kind in the U.S. This year’s festival includes a first-timer, the French company B’Compagnie, under artistic director Benjamin Munoz. At IBFM, Munoz will present his latest choreography Dance in Bach, where he says “the dancers expose their souls in a potent and intense choreography where technique and sensuality are married in 30 minutes of pleasure.”
 
Munoz explains the long trip to Miami is well worth the effort for this neo-classical company from Trèbes: “For a small company like mine, the IBFM represents a lot. I am very grateful to the festival for the chance to perform on an international stage while hoping that this will not be the only time we do so.”
 
Another star of this year’s festival is Miami’s newest dance company — Dimensions Dance Theater. Under the artistic direction of former Miami City Ballet stars, Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, the company will present its signature piece, Esferas, during the festival’s closing gala. In this pas de trois choreographed by Miami City Ballet dancer Ariel Rose, dancers connect, intertwine and experience three separate worlds of emotion -- discovery, distress and serenity -- accompanied by the haunting scores of Igudesman, Balanescu and Baranowski.
 
Echoing Munoz, Kronenberg explains the importance of the IBFM to a new company like DDTM: “We are proud to seize this opportunity, as a new local company, to delve further into our artistic representation of the city by presenting the work of a young, locally based, emerging choreographer.”
 
The engine behind the festival’s 20 years of growth is its founding director, Pedro Pablo Peña. Peña wears many hats in Miami’s ballet scene from principal organizer of IBFM to artistic director of the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. Collaborating with CCBM ballet master, Eriberto Jimenez, Peña will also unveil during the festival their newest choreography, Habaneras, set to the music of Cuban pianist and composer, Ignacio Servantes.
 
Describing the work Jimenez explains, “the piece is a tribute to Cuban women. In a series of pas de deux we present five different characters of Cuban women in a contest with a Cuban man whose only interest is making them fall in love with him.”
 
When asked to explain IBFM’s success, Peña immediately acknowledged the city itself and the special connection Miami’s Cuban culture has to ballet: “The audiences in Miami love classical ballet and this makes the city very different from other American and even European cities. … the people in Cuba strongly support the culture of ballet -- both male and female dancers are supported in Cuba.”
 

UPDATE: Due to Hurricane Irma, the final performances had to be rescheduled, and there will be one final gala at Miami-Dade County Auditorium (2901 West Flagler St.). According to a spokesperson for the festival, “The Ballet stars all agreed to change their schedules to participate.”

The gala program shines with principal dancers from elite ballet companies from around the globe, including the Paris Opera Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, the Ballet Nacional Dominicano, Staatsballet Berlin, the Boston and Pennsylvania ballets and South Florida’s own Arts Ballet Theater of Florida and Dimensions Dance.

The gala includes ballet legends such as Delphine Moussin, former principal ballerina with the Paris Opera Ballet who will dance a homage to Maurice Béjart, director of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne until his death in 2007. For Moussin, “the choreography is a theatrical work on death set to Strauss where I dance the character of Madame Bovary, who serenely faces death stripped of all her charms.”

For Miami audiences long grown expert at enduring September’s dreary rains, the IBFM’s elite line-up should be a ray of light.

Now, after starting to recover from Hurricane Irma, there is no doubt.

The closing gala will now take place on Sat., Sept. 30 at 8:00 p.m., Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; tickets $35-$52; https://www.internationalballetfestival.org/schedule-tickets. 

 



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About The writer

Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.

Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.

He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.

Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.

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