The Festival opens on April 1 with Momentum’s versatile dancers performing a free outdoor event at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden at 5:00 PM. The dancers will create improvisational interactions with art installations in the garden provided by the visual arts collective Irreversible. The audience will experience the Botanical Garden setting in a fresh way through the eyes and actions of the dancers in creative play with lively forms and settings offered by the visual art installations. The performance is followed by an informal reception where audience members can meet the dancers and other Festival participants.
Momentum Dance Company’s Spring Season 2012 is one of the highlights of the Festival. The company has just entered its Thirtieth Season – making Momentum the oldest continuously operating modern dance company in Florida and one of the oldest in -the Colony Theater on April 7 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Although admission is free, tickets must be reserved in advance via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The performances feature a World Premiere work by Iles that she has been very mysterious about. “I am not comfortable talking about new choreography until it is finished” she explains. “Work can evolve and change during the creative process so I want to keep my mind and options open.” However, she will say that it will be a work for four dancers with music by Handel. Soloist Katie Sopoci has also created a new work, her first for Momentum, entitled Gravity. Two dancers grapple with forces of attraction and repulsion in a multileveled exchange of bodies, weight and emotion. The program also includes Pots and Pans, by Iles, which premiered last season. “I do enjoy cooking” says Iles. “Pots and Pans plays around with the ideas of hunger, ingredients, chemical change, and occasionally eating too much.” The program is rounded out by two signature works for Momentum: Doris Humphrey’s groundbreaking 1928 masterpiece Water Study, which never fails to mesmerize audiences; and Iles virtuosic Brecht Suite, set to songs by Kurt Weil. “These free concerts are a gift to our loyal audience that had stood by us for so many years” says Iles. “As we enter our thirtieth season, we want to give back and to make our work accessible to all who want to experience it!”
On April 18 at 8:00 PM, Miami Beach Cinematheque hosts Festival Film night with a screening of Dancemaker, a documentary by Matthew Diamond chronicling the creative output of choreographer Paul Taylor. Taylor has been hailed as the world’s greatest living choreographer, having created a stunning body of dance work over the last forty years. When the curtain opens on the Paul Taylor Dance Company, audiences see a troupe of dancers soaring through the works of this formidable genius. However, behind the scenes lies a complex world of ambition, emotion, creation, and hard-nosed decisions. Dancemaker is a film that tells the tale of this extraordinary, peculiarly American company. Cutting from stage to backstage, the film looks at the rise of Taylor from solitary child to star dancer to master choreographer. The film travels with Taylor and Company from the rehearsal studio to an embassy-sponsored tour of India through a strike-threatened Broadway season. And finally, it gets to the core of Taylor’s talent, as he wrestles with the making of a new dance that is the centerpiece of his company’s season and of the film.Tickets $10 General Admission $9 Students & Seniors $8 Miami Dance Festival and MBC Members. For information and ticketing contact: (305) 67-FILMS (673-4567) www.MBCinema.com
The Festival continues into April with Guest Company Florida Dance Theater in a unique concert at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. This year marks FDT’s fourth appearance at the Festival where they have always been an audience favorite! The program features Ode to Sylvia, a romantic pas de deux by Artistic Director & Founder, Carol Krajacic Erkes, set to the beautiful music of George Bizet. For vampire fans, HOWL@ The MOON is a work inspired by author Anne Rice’s latest book The Whole Gift, a story of the struggle between good and evil for WOLF and MAN. In this new work by Ferdinand De Jesus, the supernatural power is represented through the movement as a force often seen as evil but which truly has a great capacity for good. Set to the music of Florence and the Machine and Zoe Keating, the work is filled with dynamic movement, creating a visual tapestry of contemporary dance. Cinco is a whimsical approach to the life of a dinner wait staff during a five-minute break, at a restaurant anywhere in the world. Choreographer De Jesus has set Cinco to the music Take Five made famous by The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Own Your Life originally premiered in New York City as a work in progress, and later evolved into a full length work. It is centered on exploring the encouragement and discouragement that one faces within one’s self, and the battle between desires and insecurities that challenge everyday reality. Utilizing these ideas as well as emotional experiences with the dancers, choreographer Stefan Dolbashi an, a dancer in FDT, was able to take the choreography deeper, from conflict to resolution. Bitter Earth is a work choreographed by De Jesus in memory of his father, who passed away in the summer of 2011. It is the image of Archangel Uriel, who brings divine light into earthly life and transforms painful memories, restoring peace. FDT performs April 26 at 7:00 PM. Tickets $20 General Admission/$10 Students and Seniors. Tickets are available at the door and at www.momentumdance.com
Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, with its dynamic Artistic Director Ilisa Rosal, is one of the founding companies of the Miami Dance Festival and has performed every year to audience raves and critical acclaim! This year the company returns to a pure flamenco format featuring live music and Guest Artists from Spain. The company always delivers beautiful examples of flamenco in a variety of forms: soloists, duets, group works, castanets, shawls, and fans with emotional singing and vigorous palmas! April 29 at 5:00 PM at the lovely Hialeah High School auditorium. Tickets are $20 General Admission and $7 Students and Seniors. Tickets are available at the door, at PAN in North Miami, and at www.momentumdance.com.
In its ongoing efforts to improve writing about dance in our community and to elevate the dialogue about dance, the Festival has created a special workshop for writers and dance fans who would like to explore writing about this elusive art form. Writing About Dance, with Neil de la Flor, offers an opportunity to observe selected dances performed by professional dancers, and then write about them in a supportive environment. Workshop leader de la Flor teaches creative writing at Miami Dade College and writes for the Knight Arts Blog as well as other arts publications. This free event is sponsored by Miami Dade College Department of Arts and Philosophy. It takes place at on May 4 at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, Building 6, 485 NE Second Avenue, Room 6400, Downtown Miami. For reservations call 305-858-7002 or email: email@example.com
The Festival closes with a new free Family Day event at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden on May 13 at 4:00 PM. Momentum performs its newest work for children, The Tiger and the Brahmin, based on a fable from India. The Tiger and the Brahmin tells the story of a trusting holy man who finds his kindness to a Tiger betrayed when the Tiger wants to eat him! The Brahmin seeks help from the Elephant and the Water Buffalo, but the clever Jackal outwits the Tiger and saves the Brahmin. This production features elements of Indian classical dance from both the north and south, as well as traditional mudras (hand gestures that tell the story) and beautiful colorful costumes from India! The work is a collaboration between Momentum Artistic Director Delma Iles and Mumbai native Geeta Diaz, a teacher of Indian classical and folk dance as well as a Bollywood choreographer. Exquisite masks were created by Marilyn Skow, chair of the theater department at Florida International University.
Taking dance to new frontiers, the Festival offers An Evening of Water Ballet (date and location TBA). Choreographer Delma Iles uses elements of contact improvisation, synchronized swimming and contemporary dance to create a unique only-in-Miami dance innovation. The dancers work underwater and on the surface of the water, which allows them to suspend jumping movements much longer than is possible on land. Watch Momentum’s website at www.momentumdance.com for the location of the free event!