Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami seeks to expand its audience with works by young choreographers
Diana Figueroa in “De Toi” by Phillipe Obregon. (Photo courtesy of Simon Soong)
The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami (CCBM) will present its “Choreographers Showcase” on Saturday, Oct. 30, at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores.
Choreography is more than “the writing of dance,” the closest definition to the history and origin of the term. And a choreographer is much more than the one who creates the steps and movements of the dance.
The choreographer is also the playwright and artistic director for the staging. The choreography is at the core of any piece of dance, academic or improvised in appearance. You could say that improvisation frees the performer from choreography. But the reality is that you would only be successful “improvising” if your efforts result in a proposal with steps and movements that communicate something. And that’s choreography.
But there is more. Without choreography, there is no work to interpret, and only with good choreography can a good repertoire be achieved. Without repertoire, there is no way to identify the style of a ballet company. And a repertory is also needed to illustrate the style of the dancers at any national ballet school.
Choreography is a fundamental resource for all dance companies. Its diversification is a problem that Eriberto Jimenez, artistic director of CCBM, is proactively trying to solve.
“For the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, it is imperative to start creating new programs for a different audience,” he tells us. “Our regular audiences will continue to enjoy classical ballet performances twice a year. We will include programs combining classical and contemporary styles. But I think it is essential to allow new generations to develop their choreographic skills creating new ballets for the company.”
Q: Is this the first time CCBM is presenting “Choreographers Showcase”?
Jimenez: “Not really. We presented our first ‘Choreographers Showcase’ on Feb. 27, 2021. In 2020, something similar was created during the months of confinement. Eight dancers participated, and pianist Isaac Rodriguez created the original music for the project. We called the program, ‘Rebuilding Together.’ We taped each dancer individually, and then the whole thing was edited as one piece. The idea of bringing together different choreographers and dancers came about as a way to create programs we could present in unconventional places — different from the theaters where we regularly perform.”
On this occasion, the program will include new creations as well as works that are already part of the company’s repertoire, such as “Lecuona Suite” (2018, with choreography by Jimenez), which is a tribute to renowned Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona and has live music by Rodriguez.
Choreographers presenting new contemporary pieces include Enrique Villacreses and Rafael Ruiz del Vizo, two young dancers who graduated from Miami’s New World School of the Arts.
Villacreses’ work, titled “My Universe,” deals with the barriers that human beings create within themselves and includes a tetrahedral artwork by artist Don Lambert. Ruiz del Vizo will present two pieces: “Geminis,” which portrays duality, the inner development of the antagonism between body and soul; and “Orbits,” a search for constant movement around each human being and his or her environment.
Q: How are choreographers invited to participate?
Jimenez: “For these first two programs, the choreographers have been selected from a group of talented young people who participate in a daily class offered by the company. Some are members of the company, and others attend classes with us to stay trained. I have seen their work, and I think it is essential to support them in their vision as creators. In addition, each brings a different kind of body language to the members of the company. And everyone is enjoying the creation process, which for some also represents a challenge …
“Along with Villacreses and Ruiz del Vizo, Phillipe Obregon will be presenting ‘De Toi.’ He is a contemporary and jazz dancer from Colombia. The Cuban-born Fernando Garcia will participate with ‘The Sentence,’ and I will premiere a piece, still without a title. The program will also include two choreographic works by the St. Lucie Ballet. Under the artistic direction of Rogelio Corrales and Lydia Oquendo, this group frequently collaborate with us, and Miami audiences are familiar with their work.”
WHAT: Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami presents “Choreographers Showcase”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021
WHERE: Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores
INFORMATION: 786-747-1877; cubanclassicalballetofmiami.org
*This is a translation of our Spanish-language preview for this event.