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National Dance Week: Daniel Lewis Miami Dance Sampler

Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company: Keystone

In celebration of National Dance Week in Miami, Dance Now! Miami, the Florida Dance Association, and the Little Haiti Cultural Center generously presented two exciting evenings, showcasing the talents of nine local companies, with a special performance by members of New York’s Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.

The Sampler was originally founded by South Florida dance pioneer, Daniel Lewis, who has had a long and illustrious career as a dancer, Master Teacher, choreographer, and author.  Lewis became the Dean of Dance at the New World School of the Arts in 1987, where he created the eight-year professional program for Dance. No longer acting dean, he remains a present and ever-vital force helping to bring Miami dance companies to the fore.

With myriad voices and styles, the Sampler was a perfect example of the diversity that makes Miami one of the most important destinations for the arts in the United States. Without spending a fortune on a ticket, audiences can take pleasure in the high quality and adventurous spirit of both up-and-coming and highly seasoned choreographers.  In this sampler one also had the opportunity to view dancers at various levels of proficiency, a perfect venue for young, developing performers to cut their teeth alongside those with experience and maturity.

Resident company at Miami’s Little Haiti Cultural Center, Dance Now! Miami was founded in 2000 by choreographers Diego Saltarini and Hannah Baumgarten. Over the years they have created a prolific repertoire consisting of balletic, modern, and jazz work imprinted with their signature combination of lyrical and athletic corporal language.  Mitosis, choreographed by Saltarini, gave two young dancers the opportunity to hone their stage skills with its sensual lines and classical details wrapped in a contemporary voice.  Baumgarten’s excerpts from Visions of Unrest, coming later in the program, began with athletically strong and beautifully danced solo displaying the choreographer’s talent for strong, vital statements that continued throughout the piece.

Roberto Diaz’s Brazarte Dance Company presented Corpo, a flow of energy and pauses punctuated by a pulsating soundtrack demonstrating Diaz’s unique flavor and point of view.

Mother-Son (Days) choreographed by Pioneer Winter, danced exquisitely by Ana Bolt and the choreographer, made use of silence and the spoken word, fully embodying the intention of the piece through impeccable focus, line, and depth of feeling. Narrator Marie Whitman found just the right nuance for the journal entries that formed the backdrop of the work.

Sitting Stand by Afua Hall was danced by Ronderrick Mitchell and Quilvio Rodriguez who, with their unwavering connection, defined their relationship with beautiful partnering. The two, with their contrast in body types, made the audience a part of the weave as they threaded their story together.

Kinetic interactions created both tension and fluidity in Luis Alberto Cuevas’s It Gets to a Point.  With his European-influenced movement, a bit like early William Forsythe, it will be interesting to follow Cuevas as he seasons with time.

Brigid Baker and WholeProject presented Wonderlawn, an excerpt from her larger piece, Comet Lovejoy Survives, which I reviewed in a previous blog. With a constant emotional connection to the work, the dancers created a seamless relationship amongst themselves and to the subdued yet intense emotional pitch that reached directly for the heart.

Carolyn Dorfman’s Keystone, a duet danced by Jacqueline Dumas Albert and Louie Marin was a riveting example of two bodies organically blending as they melded into one, finding all the nuanced places where they could bind and rebound. In three sections, the piece was a moving, playful, and rich commentary on relationship, coming full circle at the end.

Arts Ballet Theatre presented A Celebration to Klimpt with lovely costumes and capes painted in the vibrant and jewel-like Klimpt-style.  Here the youthful dancers had a chance to explore their performing dynamics within the airy and light classically-mounted choreography.

A collaboration between choreographer and dancers Jenny Larsson and John Beauregard was behind the creation of Potpourria, presented by Karen Peterson and Dancers. Danced to the exquisite tango music of Astor Piazzola, wheelchair-bound Beauregard received Larsson as she created the corporal shapes to seduce him.

Liminally Venn by Lara Murphy is a contemporary pas de deux in the abstract, showcasing two young dancers, Katelynne Draper and Courtney Horton, who found the shape and sense of the movement within the complex music of Gabriel Prokofiev.

The evening was an ideal way for the audience to taste a diverse menu of choreographic offerings, and the presenters have promised to showcase many more dance companies in future events. Stay tuned.

Little Haiti Cultural Center

2120260 NE 59th Terrace

Miami, Florida

305 960 2969

Dance Now! Miami