Artistic Director Peter London envisions Miami as the next “hub of a new millennium of dance; and the gateway to the arts world.” He may be onto something. Miami Beach is host to Art Basel, one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world and Miami’s Wynwood neighbourhood is a favourite global art destination.
London is the founder and creator of a company that is reflective of Miami’s rich diversity; The Peter London Global Dance Company (PLGDC).
PLGDC is the result of twenty years of students, and former students, requesting London to start a company in Miami. Many of his students leave Miami for professional careers elsewhere and he wanted to give them “a company to return home to” which offered performance opportunities.
The troupe was founded in 2010 and performs a fusion of styles: contemporary, African and ballet. London explains his art as “a form of expression, of the body and psych coming together in dynamic energy.” The qualities he looks for in his dancers are “honesty in communication, willing to take risks, and the freedom to express one’s self.” London prefers more experienced dancers who are highly trained in ballet and classical modern styles such as Limón, Graham and Horton.
“I am a storyteller,” says London who, performed with Limón and Graham in New York City before moving to Miami to become a professor of dance at New World School of the Arts. The stories he tells are as varied as the human condition; his choreography includes works based on painters Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, and the tragedy of Bizet’s Carmen. To see his pieces is to get a glimpse into London’s background.
Born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, he became aware of the power of movement at the age of six. Traditional folk dance and the Yoruba religion of West Africa impressed on him “the beauty of dance and the power of rituals.” London incorporates some of these early influences in his pieces and his company.
Community involvement plays a major role in London’s vision. The troupe often performs site-specific dances which is all part of London’s commitment of bringing arts to the people. PLGDC’s next performance is Dance/ING Under the Mistletoe, a multicultural celebration of the holiday season.
Reflecting on the role of dance and the community, London quotes Alvin Ailey:
“Dance is for everyone. I believe that the dance came from the people and it should always be delivered back to the people.”
Peter London Global Dance Company is paving the way for Miami dancers to return home to their communities.
For more information visit: www.plgdc.org
by Diana Dunbar