Dance

Peter London Global Dance Co. Brings ‘Heart’ to Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Written By Vanessa Elie
May 21, 2024 at 3:22 PM

Peter London Dance Company performs various works in “Heart of the Garden” on Sunday, May 26 in a free performance in Miami Beach Botanical Garden. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed)

Dance is the nucleus of culture. In Miami, a melting pot of diverse communities, it serves as a unifying force that binds communities without the need for words. When it comes to the Peter London Global Dance Company, the dancers and choreographer’s pulsating performance add an additional beat to Miami’s multi heritage. Celebrating 13 years as the multicultural, contemporary dance company in Miami, the group will perform at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 26 at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden in “Heart of the Garden.”

Founder, artistic director, choreographer and native of Trinidad and Tobago, Peter London says his inspiration for “Heart of the Garden” is to choreograph a fusion of classical ballet, modern dance, and dances from his home country while still preserving moves from The Juilliard School. “This will be the third performance at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden,” says London.

Peter London Global Dance Company is home to Miami artists from various backgrounds and people of color, its founder says. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed)

“The performances are very colorful and vibrant just like the garden. It’s imperative to show our true Miami community; beaches, hotels, parks, bandshell. The garden is one of the venues that best celebrates the multicultural heritage that’s in Miami.”

When London established the company more than a decade ago, he had a vision that still remains, he says. “I want to provide an opportunity and home for young talent to develop their skills and grow; possibly one day be able to choreograph as well.”

He says his dance company is home to Miami artists from various backgrounds and people of color. “Caribbean, Hispanic-Latin, people stemming from Liberty City and other underrepresented communities, and the multiculturalism that captures the true essence of Miami along with their dances. I wanted to create an opportunity for women to choreograph as well  . . . create new music by female composers and local musicians.”

Company dancer Clinton Harris says that PLGDC has shaped who he is today.

“Beyond prejudices, I still want to dance and expand my artistry because of PLGDC. Instead of being in the streets, dancing with this company took me further. Not only that, my hunger mindset stems from dancing with my peers.” Harris says that the opportunity to dance wasn’t given to him, but that he had to “fight to be here.”

A PLGDC dancer performs in choreographer Kashia Kancey’s piece. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed)

“Now, because I am with the Peter London Global Dance Company, people notice the dance skills I’m acquiring and although I wasn’t raised in the studio like some, I’ve acquired the essence of it,” says Harris.

“Fulfillment. Hunger. Belonging” are the three words Harris uses to describe what he feels when performing with PLGDC.

“Heart of the Garden” will feature new company productions of “I Am My Brother’s Keeper” by Vitolio Jeune, Haitian-American dancer and choreographer, “Steppe Tango” by Armando Gonzalez, principal dancer with Grand Ballet de Geneve, Switzerland, “And So I Run” by Kashia Kancey, Overtown’s Black Girl Magic, “Current” by Justin Rapaport, recipient of the Danish Dance Theater Award at the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition and “Caribbean Suite” by Peter London.

Returning to Miami from Los Angeles, choreographer, teacher, and movement artist Stephanie Franco has joined the Peter London Global Dance Company. “The dance company brings me back to my roots,” says Franco. It helps me with form because we are constantly doing the work in rooted areas that some companies might fast forward on. This groundwork that Peter London encourages can help me succeed. Also, Peter grants us with a spiritual essence to the work that we do. Our work becomes spiritual and communal for the audience while simultaneously pushing us beyond our limits. He believes in us,” she says

Dancers in Kashia Kancey’s “And So I Run,” which will be performed at “Heart of the Garden” by Peter London Global Dance Company. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Reed)

Franco speaks of the sense of urgency and commitment that PLGDC has to honor all kinds of cultures. “We are able to lift up all cultures due to the company’s awareness. There’s a lot of passion and belief in the room for the whole group to feed off on when incorporating modern technique with Afro-Caribbean moves . . .”

In the heat that’s overtaken Miami, the dancers recognize that “Heart of the Garden” will be performed in a different atmosphere and Harris says they’ve prepared for the challenge. “Everyone knows how extreme the heat in Miami can get. Because of it we had to prepare differently; ensuring constant water nourishment, the contrast of surface compared to the typical flat surface of a studio. However, it’s fun dancing in the grass and having different terrains to mount in the garden,” he says.

WHAT: Peter London Global Dance Company in “Heart of the Garden”

WHEN: 4 p.m., Sunday, May 26

WHERE: Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach

COST: Free

INFORMATION: 305-673-7256 or plgdc.org

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com.

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