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 ..
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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..
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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 ..
Project 305 has a simple aim – crowd-source a Miami symphony. For 100 days from January 31 to May 12 New World Symphony, in collaboration with the Knight Foundation and the M.I.T. Media Lab, asked Miamians to upload cherished Miami sight- and soundscapes. Then, over the summer, composer Ted Hearne and film-maker Jonathan David Kane will sift submissions for musical and cinematic motifs. The resulting symphony and film will premiere on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 at the New World Center, performed by the New World Symphony conducted by director, Michael Tilson Thomas. Project 305 elevates Miami’s music scene to the rank of cities like Toronto, Lucerne, Perth, and Beijing that have debuted their own cityscape symphonies.
Who are the Miamians actually making submissions?
Asking that question Artburstdropped in on St. Philips Episcopal Day School in Coral Gables on a bright Friday afternoon in March, where music teacher, Joy Lakin -- seated at a grand piano with ukulele in hand -- accompanied 20 third graders in the school’s chapel. Relaxed in dark blue sweater and black slacks, Lakin picks out scales with the instrument’s nasally twang as the children hum, “ahh, ahhh, ahhh, ahhh – oooh, oooh, oooh,” in harmonic progressions.
In a break between classes Lakin pulls out her iphone and shares the submissions the pre K4s (four year olds) worked up for the project.
“I’ve created samples to submit by making voice memos of the students on my phone. They used drums to improvise some rhythms and then we worked on creating melodies using xylophone.” From that Lakin had students create a series of 10-second compositions they rehearsed over several classes. “There is no set meter – the kids create the meter, then we decide on the melody as a group, and then we repeat it over and over,” Lakin added.
Asked whether she enjoyed teaching such young students composition, she corrected: “I just mimic back to them what they sing to solidify what they’ve done. They do all the composing.”
Back at a December meeting, Todd Machover of The M.I.T. Media Lab had emphasized the key role the Lab’s new software program, Hyperscore, played in encouraging sound submissions from children in other cities. According to Machover, Hyperscoremakes learning the elements of music composition easier since young people use colors and geometric shapes to compose instead of standard musical notation. Through Project 305Miami-Dade schools and youth organizations receive a free trial of the software through November 2017.
Though familiar with Hyperscore, Lakin in the end chose a different approach: “To really make use of the software a student has to sit in front of a monitor with headphones on as ifit were a video game. To make a calculated, conscious composition on it they would need to learn the program’s form of musical notation anyway. Writing notation is a visual art and not an aural art. Music done for its own sake, as these children do, is an aural art.”
Fresh from his first Youth Music Festival in Miami Beach, Sammy Gonzalez -- president, CEO and co-founder of Young Musicians Unite (YMU) -- only needed to extend invites to jam sessions to crank out contributions for the project. Since 2013 YMU has provided free in- and after-school music programs to schools in the Wynwood and Overtown areas. Speaking by phone, Gonzalez observed, “we are there to make sure that the kids are getting a consistently high level of music education and to create a pipeline so that the students can move between middle school and high school.”
The YMU program ensures that students learn the fundamentals of music including theory, reading, songwriting, competition and performance. Gonzalez recently had a bass player in his programs graduate from high school with a full ride scholarship to Berkeley School of the Arts.
When it came to putting something together for Project 305, Gonzalez explained, “I just grabbed students from the Jazz combo YMU has at Young Men’s Prep Academy. We then went to my recording studio where we partnered up with another non-profit, Guitars Over Guns. We recorded an entire song and submitted that.”
On another occasion, Gonzalez teamed up with Joy Lampkin, project manager for Project 305. “Joy brought in professional musicians who are all out there already on the Miami scene – some Spanish musicians, some Jazz musicians, some Haitian musicians, one had reggae influences, another Brazilian.”
These musicians had never met before, but, despite the diversity of their backgrounds, Gonzalez added: “We went to our instruments and we just jammed together – bass guitar, piano, percussion, two or three vocalists -- and submitted that.”
Asked whether he saw an influence of Project 305on the Miami music scene, Gonzalez reflected: “I can only speak about how it has affected me. To take kids and put them in a recording studio for the first time and say to them ‘you are going to be representing Miami’ -- it made us think about Miami and rack our brains about what we do and how we do it. Anything that showcases our diversity and musicians in Miami is awesome. You just can’t describe Miami music with one genre.”
For more information, see www.Project305.org.
Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.
Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.
He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.
Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.
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