Dancing Highlights Gala, Miami Beach Also Center Stage
The Dance NOW! Gala pulled off a memorable event, with ideal weather at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden honoring Miami Beach’s 100th anniversary and one of the island’s formidable proponents, former Miami Beach Commissioner Nancy Liebman.
Dance Now! artistic directors Hannah Baumgarten and Diego Salterini shared hosting duties with George Neary of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL). The League was also honored as a pioneer organization in the revitalization of the Art Deco District.
“This year, of course being the Miami Beach Centennial, we were racking our brains trying to figure out how we could honor someone that was related to this wonderful celebration. I realized that it was the Miami Design Preservation League because the Centennial celebration would have been nothing if Miami Beach had been leveled by developers in the 70s,” Baumgarten says.
And so honoring Nancy Liebman “both a preservationist through the MDPL and later as a Miami Beach City commissioner, where her work continued not only in preservation but also growing the cultural community and the fabric of Miami Beach” made perfect sense.
The event, a fundraiser for Dance NOW!’s Arts and Education Programming, was billed as an afternoon of dance, music, art, fashion, and architecture.
Historic photos of buildings in the Art Deco District that represent various architectural styles were prominently displayed, and everything from tickets to cultural events, sports memorabilia and artworks were part of the silent auction. Completing the fashion portion of the day was the display of dresses from Chernaya Bridal House.
Guests gathered in the gardens to enjoy the brunch served courtesy of Centerplate and Crepemaker and listen to the sounds of the Max Farber Duo.
The performances were the afternoon’s highlight. Drops & Ripples, choreographed by Salterini, featured dancers Alln Ginns and Dariel Milan. That was followed by Short Stories, choreographed by both directors, with six dancers from the Dance Now! troupe. Dance Now! Scholarship recipient Katrina Trujillo followed in the solo Oh! which was choreographed by Baumgarten.
Neary was asked to return as host and committee chair for the third annual event, responding by saying “the gala was very emotional for me. To see so many of the folks I met when I arrived 25 years ago being honored for their activism was thrilling.”
The hope is that the gala is integrated into the dance community. “I think the Dance NOW! Gala is becoming tradition,” says Salterini. “People come to have fun and also learn more about our company.”
Save the Date for Dance NOW! Miami’s next event, Miami Open Stage on March 1 at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex Theater.