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..
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards. ..
"The Other Mozart" is a suitcase play – one of those shows where a single actress can pack the entire contents that creates the setting – costume, wig, and props, and go anywhere in the world. It is the way Samantha Hoefer will arrive in Miami to present Sylvia Milo's one-woman play about Maria Anna Mozart, the not nearly as famous older sibling of that 18th century rock star Wolfgang Ama..
Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..
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Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..
Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..
“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 ..
Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami has been on a trajectory best described as meteoric. In its first 18 months DDTM has been a 2017 Knight Challenge Grant recipient and now will debut at New Y..
Amirah Sackett came up as a dancer in Chicago’s hip hop scene at a time when women were rare in the mostly male community. But she also visibly stood out as a Muslim. She keeps her hair cover..
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One of the signatures of the National Water Dance project since its inception seven years ago was that dance troupes, large or small, professional or school groups, were free to perform whate..
Miami City Ballet is in league with Russians – in a good way -- and this promises to make a selection of dances look great again. The company’s final program this season brings back Apollo an..
Hidden behind a busy street in North Miami Beach is the Ancient Spanish Monastery, where Dance Now! Miami will bring the past into the present – and back into the past. Ekphrasis describes th..
Sometimes dance seems as easy as walking down the street. John Heginbotham, founder and artistic director of Dance Heginbotham, describes his dancers as moving in an unaffected, natural manne..
On the heels of a year-plus parade of #MeToo confessions, celebrity shamings and women’s marches, comes Marisa Alma Nick’s female-power-packed “A Rebel in Venus.” “It wasn’t planned that ..
Choreographers are usually curious people. Augusto Soledade’s curiosity leads him in many directions, including ideas on Madonna, voguing, and selfies. It all began with “thoughts on identity..
You hear the word “flamenco” -- what image comes to mind? A guitar? A dark-haired dancer? The color red, a ruffled dress? Did a piano by any chance enter the picture? Perhaps not.
Pianist Alberto Raya, who brings “Caminos Flamencos” to Miami-Dade County Auditorium this Friday and Saturday, would like to help change that image. He pointed out in a telephone interview in Spanish that the piano’s history in the art form goes back at least to the early 20th century and Federico García Lorca. The most emblematic of flamenco’s poets, Lorca was also an accomplished pianist who collected Andalusian folk songs and recorded them as the accompanist for La Argentinita, a famous female flamenco singer of the day. Over 40 years ago, a cantaor (flamenco singer) as “pure” as Manolo Caracol would sing at the renowned Madrid flamenco tablao Los Canasteros, not with a guitarist, but with a pianist. And today, there are pianists like Chano Domínguez or Dorantes who have made a name for themselves both within the flamenco world and beyond. “It’s becoming a bit more accepted,” said Raya, but conceded that, “it still has a ways to go.”
Like Lorca, Raya is from Granada, one of the cradles of flamenco in Southern Spain. He became enamored of what he calls “the Andalusian cadence” as a boy, listening to his father’s recordings of cantaores Camarón de la Isla, Enrique Morente, the flamenco rock group Triana. The sound, though not always purely traditional, retained an essence unique to southern Spain. “Its music, its melody, its harmony has something that bewitches you,” he explained.
By the time he was 14 Raya became serious about becoming a professional musician. Before the dawn of the Age of Youtube, this meant an intense diet of flamenco recordings: “I began studying like crazy—I listened to a lot of music.” Later on, he sought out accomplished flamenco pianists and composers. “Those people pulled me into the depths of flamenco,” teaching him the rhythms, melodies, and keys that are vital to each palo, or flamenco song style. When he eventually came up for air, Raya said to himself, “Now I know where I am.”
His first gigs were as a band member in groups accompanying flamenco singers. For a 17-year-old self-taught musician, Raya was given extraordinary opportunities. Right out of the gate, he worked with some of the most celebrated young flamenco singers around: the legendary singer Enrique Morente’s daughter Estrella Morente, his son (who carries his father’s name), and Juan Habichuela, the younger generation of a dynasty of flamenco guitarists. Having learned at the feet of masters, when the time came for Raya to form his own band, he knew exactly what he wanted.
Three years ago, Raya began working on the idea for the show “Caminos Flamencos,” which in English translates as “Flamenco Paths.” It is a look back at his own journey through the different styles that he has explored as a musician. “There’s a little of everything. There are palos that I execute as pure, hard flamenco, there are others where I integrate a bit of jazz…I put in what I want. I’m a bit selfish that way. When I sat down to create it, I said, ‘I have to do this to my own taste.’ If I like it, then maybe others will, too. That way, I will feel it when I am performing, and that resonates with people.”
“Caminos Flamencos” comes to Miami as part of the Centro Cultural Español’s annual FlamenGO series, which seeks to showcase the best new talent in Spain and give these young flamenco artists an opportunity to begin making a name for themselves internationally. Raya travels here with an eclectic group: a guitarist who loves flamenco, but also funk; an electric bass player who is enamored of jazz; and a percussionist. “They all have their own personalities…that’s where you find the magic. We could be playing a bulerías, and the guitarist might do a blues solo within it…there are two cultures mixing in that very moment and the two understand one another perfectly.” Irene Rueda y Alba Fajardo, both from Granada, are the bailaoras who will dance in “Caminos Flamencos.”
In addition to these performances, the Centro Cultural Español is currently presenting the exhibition Living in Flamenco by Venezuelan photographer Migdalia Salazar. Salazar, who was herself a flamenco dancer for many years, takes a contemporary approach as she seeks to capture in her photographs the passion of the dance and the transitory nature of “duende,” that divine flame of inspiration that is said to overcome flamenco artists when they are truly in the moment, transported by the music. Venezuelan dancer Siudy Garrido collaborated with Salazar on the project. The exhibit is free to the public and will be up until June 2.
‘Caminos Flamencos’ by Alberto Raya, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St.; Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, 8:00 p.m.; tickets: $25 at www.miamidadeauditorium.org or at the door.
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