A performance I am really looking forward to is the much-anticipated debut of local artist Rosie Herrera’s double bill this week at the Arsht center. Born in NYC and raised in Hialeah, the New World School of the Arts grad will explore archetypes, dreams, and themes of water, grieving, and loss. “It’s been in gestation in my head for over two years” Herrera describes of Various stages of Drowning, a piece originally commissioned by the Miami Light Project and Arsht Center for the 2009 Miami Made program. “I had strong recurring images and realized they were all part of the same thing.” She continues, “I saw a common thread of water as a metaphor for emotion. I saw the connection between archetypes and my dreams and how they affected relationships in waking life.”
The other piece that will be performed, Pity Party, was originally commissioned by the American Dance Festival. “My creative process was different with this piece,” Herrera explains. “It started with the visual, then movement, then the intellectual process. I just followed my instincts.”
“Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre,” Jan. 28, 29, 30, at the Carnival Studio Theater, Arsht Center; for times and prices, go to www.arshtcenter.org
Bale from Bahia Review
Last Saturday the Bale Folclorico da Bahia performed at the Arsht Center and they kept it real. And I mean REAL. The performance was so full of truth, connection, mastery and the power of the ancestors, that not everyone in the audience could match the vibration. Some left. This actually pleased me, knowing that art and performance are meant to push boundaries and help us confront our own limitations, I knew the work was doing its job. Not everyone last Saturday was ready to confront their own racism and fears and not every chakra was ready to receive the many gifts that the performers and the deities they represented were offering.
Just the opening number was your money’s worth. The performers chanted down both aisles of the theater led by a chieftain, whose projection was vast and whose voice was masculine and powerful. All dressed in white, the cast filled the theater with their voices, eye contact, and deep connection to the words and meaning of their song. I felt lifted, as if I was soaring throughout space with spiritual helium.
My favorite number was “Babalu Aye.” This was in fact where many audience members struggled and left, including one man who became so hysterical he climbed over his seat and left through the row behind him. “Babalu Aye” doesn’t mess around. Tears cascaded over my cheeks as the hunched over God of sickness, death, and disease caravanned across the stage. The movements are slow and deep and come from the place where courage lives deep in the belly and the heart that pushes through illness and despair. This number oozed tenderness like the symbolic puss of Babalu Aye’s festering sores. It was painful and beautiful at the same time, and stung the heart with the archetypal promise of recovery and transformation.
I was very proud to see that the Arsht center presented a work so authentic and at times challenging. The show was a bit lengthy and had long sections, where the percussion never let up and the athleticism of the dancers, pulsating choreography, and gravity defiance could easily exhaust the audience. The audience was refreshed with a masterful berimbau solo and an explosive finale, which led the audience to party and samba on to the street.
First published in the Sun Post, 2011