The Miami Dance Festival returns with a diverse and eclectic program that promises to enrich the cultural palette of the city. The six-week long festival, which runs across Miami-Dade County, includes a variety of provocative dance performances, including flamenco, contemporary ballet, Indian folk dance, and Bollywood. Part of what makes the Miami Dance Festival unique is that it brings dance to the community through performances, workshops, and outreach programs to lavish South Beach hotels, local cultural sites, as well as area high schools. Many of the events are free and open to the public.
The opening event, which takes place Thursday, April 26 at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens (just behind the Miami Beach Convention Center), juxtaposes the stillness of nature and giant art installations against the kinetic energy of live dancers. The art installation of giant inflatables serves as the inspiration for the Florida Dance Theater virtuoso dancers who use these art objects to inform their movements. The performance includes two new works by the company and gives the audience a unique vantage point from which to experience the event.
Then the action moves to the Little Haiti Cultural Center (April 27 and 28) at 8:00 p.m. for the revival of the Daniel Lewis Miami Dance Sampler. The sampler highlights a number of local South Florida companies and choreographers, including Karen Peterson and Dancers, Brigid Baker WholeProject, Pioneer Winter, Afua Hall and more. “It is a great tool for developing audiences and to stimulate growth of dance in South Florida,” says Lewis, former dean of the New World School of the Arts Dance Department. “I’ve seen a few behind the scenes images of these works and they look fabulous. For more information visit Dance NOW! at www.dancenowmiami.org. Tickets are $20.
When the lights dim at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, this is just a sign to get some rest and prepare to flamenco. If you love flamenco and its hypnotic, seductive rhythm, Ballet Flamenco de la Rosa will perform Fiesta Flamenca, a flamenco program with live music which will be held at the Hialeah High School Theater April 29 at 5:00 p.m. If you want to learn how to dance flamenco from Ballet Flamenco de la Rosa Artistic Director Ilisa Rosal, join her for a free flamenco workshop on May 5from 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. (technique class) and then from12:00 p.m. – 1:00 PM (choreography class). To reserve space call 305-899-7730.
At the glamorous National Hotel on South Beach, (May 10 at 7:00 p.m.) Momentum Dance will perform Water Study, a serene water ballet that blends synchronized swimming, contact improvisation and contemporary dance. On May 5, Momentum will also perform an informal show of new works and selections from the repertory for free at Hialeah High School.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably interested in the Miami Dance Festival. Now it’s time to do a little work for the cultural backbone of Miami. Spread the word. Grab a friend, a colleague, a family member or an interesting stranger by the hand and show them how the beauty of dance can bring a community together.
For a full listing of events, visit www.momentumdance.com/performances and www.dancenowmiami.org/calendar.
Photo: Pioneer Winter
This article also appears in the Miami Sun Post