Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..
One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..
Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..
If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..
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: ..
Pools are ubiquitous in Miami. They dot the landscape like Jackson Pollock drip paintings. Residents swim or idle the hours away by or in the pool – and dancers of Momentum Dance Company also perform in the pool, as they will on Thursday, June 1at The Betsy Hotel on Miami Beach.
When people of a certain age think of water ballet, they may think of Esther Williams and her movies, many of which were filmed on Miami Beach. Momentum takes what Williams popularized during the 1940s and 1950s and presents it to a new audience. During a phone interview, Delma Iles, founder and artistic director of Momentum, spoke about the upcoming program and of her comfort in the water. “I learned to swim when I learned to walk,” says Iles. Over the past few years Iles has presented water ballet programs on Miami Beach and elsewhere; this is the first time it is being held at The Betsy.
On the program are two pieces, “Water Birds” and a new, untitled work. “Water Birds” is abstractly based on the movements of water birds such as herons, cranes, and egrets. It’s set to a score by Arvo Pärt, who is a composer of classical and religious music. Costumes are bathing suits hand-painted by Iles.
The untitled work is composed of two parts, a duet and a quintet and has more of a dance feel to it. The music is by John Field, a classical composer who is said to have influenced Chopin.
Iles speaks of the process of choreographing a water ballet. She starts by working alone in the pool, then taking it to the studio where she sketches out the outline and patterns with the dancers. Once in the pool the dancers are faced with certain challenges such as weight and the limitations of dancing fast in water. Conquering these challenges makes for a beautiful art form.
Many choreographers have presented works with water in mind -- including George Balanchine’s Balla della Regina that takes place underwater, in a grotto. Last season, Miami City Ballet placed A Midsummer Night’s Dream undersea. There is a growing awareness of the need to protect and live in harmony with the environment; this awareness is making its way into works of art.
Iles water ballet program is also a part of a growing movement to present dance away from the proscenium stage -- and take it to the audience. These site-specific and site-adaptive works allow audience members to become more active participants in the piece. It enables them to determine many factors in the viewing experience, such as viewpoint -- and the opportunity to relax around a pool, which literally can reflect beautiful art.
Momentum Dance Company: An Evening of Water Ballet, Thurs., June 1, 7:00 p.m., The Betsy Hotel pool,1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, entranceon Collins Avenue;admission free, 20% off at the restaurant to anyone attending the performance; 844-862-3157; thebetsyhotel.com.
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