Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..
As this steamy spring melts into a sweltering summer, Actors’ Playhouse is inviting theater lovers to a wedding – a big, fat Jewish-WASP wedding, otherwise known as the Broadway musical “It Shoulda Been You.” Though the show seemingly takes place in the present, the piece by book writer-lyricist Brian Hargrove and composer Barbara Anselmi is an old-fashioned, stereotype-filled throwba..
'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..
Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..
Memory – deep-seated, fragile, slippery, mutable – is at the heart of Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015, the play is a family tragicomedy given a sci-fi makeover; in other words, this thought-provoking theater piece charts its own, fresh path. Now getting its South Florida premiere as the second professional production from the Main Street Players, ..
The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..
Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..
Imagine animation created live on stage, with mini backdrops, puppets, and low-tech props. Channel it through multiple cameras and mix it live into a projected film. Add a string quartet and a DJ. This is the structure of “Nufonia Must Fall,” an upcoming project presented by MDC Live Arts. The show is slated for appearances around the world, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and..
That Actors’ Playhouse opened its production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way” on the same day that the American Health Care Act was pulled from a vote by the House of Representatives is ironic and more than a little instructive. The much-touted replacement for Obamacare didn’t have enough sure votes to ensure passage, as Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump, so the “replac..
The take-no-prisoners world of high finance and ruthless business deals has long been a tantalizing subject for artists. From filmmaker Oliver Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street,” with its antihero Gordon Gekko spouting “greed is good,” to Damien Lewis’ slick hedge fund mogul Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series “Billions,” movies and television allow those of us in the 99 percent a glimpse at wha..
For many people it’s hard to imagine Miami without a vibrant art scene, but in 1987 Miami was just beginning its journey towards becoming a major hub for the arts, and New World School of the Arts ( NWSA ) played a pivotal role in this transformation. Friday, the New World Dance Ensemble presents a program celebrating this milestone anniversary.
Mary Lisa Burns, Dean of Dance, has assembled an extraordinary group of dancers and choreographers to honor the achievements of students and faculty members associated with NWSAthroughout the last 30 years. “We are fortunate to have a network of alumni -- it’s a pleasure to invite them back to perform,” says Burns.NWSA has an impressive list of alumni including Robert Battle, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Battle, who grew up in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood, is presenting Mass, which was created at Juilliard in 2005 and is set to a score by John Mackie.
Reached in Europe, where he is on tour with the Ailey company, Battle says “Miami isn’t just home for me; it’s the place that Ailey first came into my life. I was 12 years old when Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed at my school in Liberty City, and my life was forever altered. I saw dancers who looked like me and were from diverse communities overcoming their challenges and living out their dreams through performance. I realized that this was my calling."
Also on the program are works by NWSA faculty members Gerard Ebitz and Tina Santos-Wahl. Ebitz’s piece, A Place I’ve Never Been ( excerpts), is described by Burns as being “very beautiful and lyrical.” Ebitz, a founding member of Miami City Ballet, is a longtime faculty member at NWSA. Santos-Wahlis a full- time faculty member at NWSA and is presenting Kinda Palooza.
Burns is in her sixth year as dean. In speaking of her position, she says she is
“ fortunate to have inherited this outstanding program.” The dance division of NWSA was founded and developed by Daniel Lewis in 1987. At that time jazz and ballet were the main forms of dance in South Florida. Lewis changed that by focusing on modern dance. He explains that NWSA is distinct from other performing arts schools and universities in that it is “ truly a conservatory from high school to college.” His vision, he says, was to create a “school that would be around for a long time.”
Lewis remembers NWSA first dance performance (in 1988) as being held in the former Diamond Center in Miami. “We had to set up chairs.” This performance saw the debut of the New World Dance Ensemble.
NWSA grew out of PAVAC (Performing and Visual Arts Center). The school was formally created in 1986 by the New World School of the Arts Act of the Florida State Legislature as “centers of excellence for the performing and visual arts.” At the time Florida was experiencing a talent drain and was losing talented young artists to other areas. The state legislature wanted a school “to keep Florida artists in Florida,” explains Lewis. NWSA awarded its first high school diploma in 1988 and the first graduating class of the college was in 1992. Lewis continued to build up the dance division including the creation of the Miami Dance Sampler in the early 1990’s. The Sampler continues to this day and presents local companies to the community.
Lewis’s vision in now in its 30th year. Burns says her vision is to “continue the tradition of excellence… continue to work on behalf of our students.” Two alumni, Ashley Anduiza, who was trained at NWSA and danced with Ballet Hispanico, and Joshua Winzeler, who received his BFA in 2011 from NWSA, will perform in William Whitener’s, Tito on Timbales, a tribute to musician Tito Puente.
NWSA curriculum is modeled on Juilliard’s. Burns says it’s to “prepare our students to enter the professional world of dance as it is revolving.” As for those who decide against a professional dance career “the study of dance at a high level serves them well, no matter what they go on to do,” explains Burns.
Included in Friday’s program is Caught in the Currant, with choreography by Lara Murphy, a high school graduate of the school (1989) and an adjunct faculty member. Solo Bach brings in Bessie Award-winning choreographer Jessica Lang and Miami native John Harnage, who studied at NWSA and graduated from The Juilliard School. He is currently a member of Jessica Lange Dance. The Nutcracker (Spanish Dance) will make an early appearance and is staged by Lara Murphy and Ruth Wiesen, who received her BFA from NWSA ( 1996) and in now an adjunct faculty member at the school.
Thirty years ago Lewis built an institution and Burns continues to add to it. NWSA is a place for aspiring artists to nourish and develop their craft guided by knowledgeable and caring hands. Dance is ephemeral; NWSA is not.
New World Dance Ensemble; Friday, November 4, 8:00 .pm.; Aventura Arts and Cultural Center; 3385 NE 188th St.; 305-466-8002; admission: $12.00.
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