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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

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“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

Out in the Tropics ‘Bailografía:’ Flamenco Unearthed


Photo: Photographer: Paco Villalta
Written by: Mia Leonin
Article Rating

Juan Carlos Lérida’s performance Bailografía, part of the seventh season of the Out in the Tropics festival, is not the story of a man’s trajectory as a flamenco performer over the course of three decades, although the title and the numerous venues and dates that flash above the stage hint at biography. Infusing traditional flamenco with contemporary movement and theatricality, Bailografía is a hypnotic meditation on love, death, and memory.

Bailografía is a story that may have been lived or imagined. It’s a story that may be gnawed at the edges by love’s bites or bruised in resentment. Bailografía is a story of a man on the cusp of a full moon in Sagittarius, an archer flailing and recovering, slinging ancient arrows at an attentive audience in a cozy cabaret on Miami Beach on June 18, 2016.

Bailografía is the story of armed guards posted at the entrance of the cabaret, and just a stone’s throw from the guards, men stretched out on the concrete of a now-defunct art space turned makeshift shelter. In rumpled clothing and pants rolled up to endure the heat, their sweaty shins glisten under a foggy moon.

Bailografía is the story of a young man dancing a Sevillana with a girl in a polka dotted dress, their waists as fluid as the aguardiente sloshing over the lip of a glass on a tray carried to yet another spectator at another cabaret 12 years before in Girona or Seville or Madrid. It is the story of love between two men and how that love is still dangerous.

Lérida’s ferocious execution of movement and lyrical transitions from one episode to the next reveal an artist who does not tell stories through dance – the stories tell him. Lucky for us, he’s an attentive listener. We watch. The guards wait at the door. The homeless men stretch out.

Lérida begins the performance prostrate before a mound of dirt, his hands swallowed by the earth. For the next hour and a half of non-stop flamenco fervor, he periodically returns to the dirt pile and buries the genre’s accoutrements – Spanish fans, a handkerchief, symbolic threads sewn into his jacket, and the jacket itself. Of course, in avant guard fashion, he is subverting the conventions of flamenco. The elegant flourishes of the hands contort, the palmadas stutter, falter, then erupt. The zapateo or foot work stumbles, thunders, and argues with itself.

The deconstruction of a dance form is interesting, but it is not original. What’s original is Lérida’s willingness to embody the interstitial space between story and memory, masculine and feminine, rage and reconciliation. To create art from this in-between, uncertain space is noble in the truest sense of the word. In addition to meaning high-minded, the Latin root of noble, noscere, means to seek, to learn, to find out. Lérida is a mesmerizing performer, but here’s what makes him extraordinary: behind bursts of virtuosity and technical skill, exists the whispers and grumblings of a man who wants to know the meat and gristle of the human heart, as well as its miraculous pulse.

 


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About The writer

Dance writer and theater critic, senior lecturer in English Composition, University of Miami

Mia Leonin is the author of two books of poetry, Braid and Unraveling the Bed (Anhinga Press), and the memoir, Havana and Other Missing Fathers (U..

About the Writer

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