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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..

Joshua Harmon’s savagely funny “Bad Jews” is an emotional cage match set in a pricey Manhattan studio apartment. The combatants are Daphna Feygenbaum (Hannah Benitez), a soon-to-be Vassar grad who plans to move to Israel, marry a man no one in the family has met and become a rabbi, and her cousin Liam Haber (Joseph Paul Pino), a master’s degree candidate and atheist who intends to..

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, ( 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..

Miami’s September Dance Storm: The International Ballet Festival of Miami

Photo: Delphine Moussin
Written by: Sean Erwin
Article Rating

It’s easy to believe the only excitement Miami offers in September are the dire warnings from the weather service about the approach of yet another tropical storm. However, 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 17. 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.”
Two gala nights bring the festival to a close on September 16 and 17 at the Filmore Theater on Miami Beach (1700 Washington Ave.) and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (2901 West Flagler St.). Both programs shine 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 could be a ray of light.
Programs I to VI of the International Ballet Festival of Miami, Sept. 2 through 17; various locations throughout Miami-Dade County. For more information on dates, times and cost, go to

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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


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