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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..

Miami’s venerable M Ensemble is a company that sometimes dips into its rich history to mount fresh productions of past shows. For its second production in its versatile new home at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, the troupe is revisiting Darren Canady’s “Brothers of the Dust.” Winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, the ..

“El cuento de Rene,” actor and director Larry Villanueva’s adaptation of Cuban writer Rene Ariza’s short stories into a work of theater, is more than an homage. It’s a statement on oppression. Ariza was sentenced to eight years in prison for trying to send manuscripts abroad. He was banned from creating theater in Cuba and condemned as “counter-revolutionary.” Ariza served five years of h..

Those who attend film festivals aren't looking for the mainstream, Cineplex offerings. That isn't the goal. Amid the indie films, the foreign entries, documentaries, and the world premieres, there's another reason to canvass the program for something you might not see anywhere else. Given the Miami Film Festival is the only major film festival to be produced by a college or university..

{This interview was conducted before the film making team went on to amazing Oscar success.} Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and filmmaker Barry Jenkins are nine miles away from the Liberty City housing projects where they both grew up, but they are worlds away. They are at the picturesque Standard Hotel to talk about the new movie "Moonlight," with a screenplay by Jenkins base..

First things first. Actor-playwright Elena María García does explain the meaning of “¡FUÁCATA!” somewhere deep into the 90-minute running time of Zoetic Stage’s “García Or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe.” The familiar Cuban term, she confides from her perch on Michael McKeever’s Mondrian-evocative set, suggests the sound of a slap. As in, “¡Fuácata! You really stepped in i..

Siempre Flamenco: Duende Remembered and Rediscovered


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Written by: Mia Leonin
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I first saw the flamenco dancer Celia Fonta perform with her husband, Spanish guitarist and singer, Paco, some 20 years ago at Café Miro, a small Spanish tapas bar on Espanola Way in South Beach. My friend Elizabeth Cerejido, a curator, who took a stunning series of portraits of Celia, and I were devotees of the duo. Celia, in particular, mesmerized us. Just as a flamenco song can crescendo into a lament, at its most heightened moments, Celia’s dancing evoked a sense of struggle, as if she were struggling against the dance itself. I sensed that this illusive quality reached beyond technique, beyond talent even, although Celia clearly possessed both. Originally from Chicago, she had lived in Spain for many years where she learned the language, culture, and dance.

Fonta and her company Siempre Flamenco will bring their version of flamenco in “Duende,” this weekend at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center.

Celia explained in a recent interview with Artburst the essence of duende: “Duende is a word used often in flamenco to explain that moment when one is singing, dancing or playing the guitar, and the power, magic, spirit, essence -- all the words we use to explain the unexplainable -- overtake you and you become ‘entranced,’ completely absorbed in that moment, not thinking, just letting the duende take over and flamenco magic happens. You will know when you see or hear it because you will feel goose bumps.”

Celia and Paco Fonta’s company, Siempre Flamenco, will perform the aptly titled show Duende this weekend. They are joined by Niurka Marquez and José Luis de la Paz, internationally acclaimed dancer and guitarist respectively. José Junco, a Miami resident from Madrid, will perform a farruca, a flamenco form traditionally danced by men.

De la Paz makes a case for dismantling the dichotomy of fusion – a fusion with theater, with other rhythms, with other instruments, with other voices or with other styles of music and dance -- versus “traditional” flamenco: “This concept of ‘fusion’ is more of a commercial brand than a concept,” he points out. “Flamenco has been a result of fusion with other cultures from the beginning, it's part of its nature; so, coming from Spain, I don't understand this worry about fusion. Being ‘fusionado’ is part of being flamenco.... And, at the end of the day, only a few of those encounters will be integrated into flamenco. But it's part of being flamenco, feeling the necessity of making contact with other sounds, movements or styles of arts.”

Performer Niurka Marquez defines duende as a capacity to connect: “My perception of it over time has expanded to include other understandings, like our connection to the earth under our feet and our reaction to a really beautiful musical phrase or a deeply felt song. It is always present because it is precisely about being present and to me, that is what lies at the core of my art.”

In literary and dance circles, the word duende has often been romanticized. In the end, it may be important to demystify the word because it has become associated, at times, with convoluted ideas and exoticism. As de La Paz asserts: “Duende is nothing, and it could be everything, but it's not the property of flamenco: It's part of life. Duende could be present in a gaze, or in a gesture or in a child's smile. You only have to be able to recognize it.”

Siempre Flamenco’s ‘Duende,’ Saturday, Nov.. 12 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3:30 p.m., South Miami Dade Cultural Art Center’s Black Box Theater in a café style setting with tapas and wine available, 10950 S.W. 211 St., Cutler Bay; tickets $30 in advance, $35 day of show; www.smdcac.org ; or 786-573-5300.

 

 




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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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