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: ..
After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..
Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..
Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..
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..
When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..
When Cardi B, with her trademark no-filter attitude, raps in her recent hit “Bodak Yellow” – Now I don’t got to dance/I make money move – she has something to sing about, with her smash hit N..
Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..
Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..
The songs are familiar; the love story is also familiar but made fresh in “On Your Feet!,” the musical biography that comes to Miami this week. The narrative of Emilio and Gloria Estefan meet..
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 bal..
Orlando Taquechel, dance critic for two decades at the El Nuevo Herald (and now a contributor to Artburst), will have a book signing and discussion of his new book, “La danza in Miami (1998-..
The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the ed..
Watching Neri Torres rehearse is a study in focus and concentration. She demonstrates each step with an ease developed from years of immersion in the study and performance of Afro-Cuban ..
Working in a traditional genre like flamenco and creating a personal path while dealing with history is hard enough for any artist. But if you are José Enrique Morente, 25, and are a budding cantaor, son of the late, great flamenco singer Enrique Morente and the younger brother of flamenco superstar singer Estrella Morente; or you are guitarist Juan Habichuela Nieto, 25, and you happen to be the grandson of master flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona, better know as Juan Habichuela -- then the weight of expectations can easily become unbearable.
Yet in their performances at the Centro Cultural Español Miami last weekend, as part of the month-long FlamenGo series, the young Morente and Habichuela managed such pressures with a grace that belied their age. The fact that they proved to be talented, have already a personal sound and they were nothing short of spectacular in their presentations certainly rendered some questions moot.
They could have been named Perez and Garcia for all it mattered musically -- although probably that wouldn’t have helped pack the Centro’s space to the brim both nights.
Morente performed on Friday, with Habichuela Nieto as guest. The guitarist appeared on Saturday, with Morente taking a supporting role. Both were accompanied by a strong ensemble including Pedro Gabarre (El Popo) on dance, cajón (the Peruvian wooden box that has become a standard in flamenco) and palmas (clapping); Antonio Andujar, cajón and palmas, and Eloy Quiroga, palmas.
Morente, who started his presentation with a breathtaking piece a capella, not only has a powerful voice, smooth and expressive, but also a surprisingly well-controlled delivery. Rather than go for easy, applause-getting histrionics, Morente told stories, both with his lyrics (at one point at the end, nearly spent, the audience by then in the palm of his hand, he candidly conceded “I don’t know what else to sing”) and with the way he modulated his intensity.
He is a better than adequate guitarist, but when freed by Habichuela Nieto’s help he took chances with his pitch choices, veering harmonically into contemporary music and jazz before bringing it all back to flamenco.
One of the highlights of the evening was percussionist El Popo’s turn as a dancer, however. Tall, thin and looking to the casual observer like a New York hipster who had just wandered in to check things out, El Popo made the most out of the small dancing platform before the stage.
Like his friend and colleague the evening before, Habichuela Nieto opened solo on Saturday and also brought out, seemingly naturally, the Arabic, Indian and North African elements of flamenco. There were the luxuriant stroked rhythms and quicksilver runs we’ve come to expect in flamenco guitar -- but always with a purpose. Like Morente, Habichuela Nieto seems to have an innate sense of form, and he always moved the story forward.
Expectations and hype have a life of their own. But Morente and Habichuela Nieto have their own voices and something personal to say. They are naturally true to flamenco, but they are also naturally setting a path between tradition and modernity. Given the overwhelming music dynasties they represent, it’s hard to imagine a better compliment.
FlamenGo continues culminates with a concert Flamenco Intinimo by Suidy Garrido, featuring the great flamenco dancer Farruquito, at 8:00 p.m. at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; www.ccemiami.org.
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