Dance NOW! Miami is a contemporary dance company established by two international dance artists. The company showcased their new program ‘Contemporanea’ and our Miami correspondent, Diana Dunbar, gives her review:
Dance NOW! Miami took to the stage with a program which honours the past while also focusing on problems affecting society today.
Dancers meet, engage with each other, flirt, fall in love, and part; desperately search for a new homeland, they battle with war, unite, struggle for survival and identity. Such was the compelling and superbly performed Contemporanea.
Dance NOW! Miami is one of South Florida’s most dynamic contemporary dance companies. Since it’s founding in 2000, the company has grown and expanded its artistic vision. Established by Diego Salterini and Hannah Baumgarten, the Dance NOW! Miami presents master works from the past, as well as contemporary pieces.
The program opened with Ritmo Jondo (Deep Rhythm), a piece choreographed by the legendary modern dancer and choreographer Doris Humphrey for the Jose Limon Dance Company. Ritmo Jondo premiered in 1953 and is a reminder of the power of art that transcends time. Staged by Daniel Lewis, President of Miami Dance Futures, it is a piece of deep beauty.
Of Men, Of Women, Of Meeting and Parting
Divided into three parts: Of Men, Of Women, Of Meeting and Parting, Spanish style dances were elegantly executed by Dance NOW! Miami dancers. There is a sense of freedom in the first two sections; of brotherly camaraderie among the men and of sisterly bonding between the women.
Humphrey’s choreography combines the gravitas of modern dance with the exuberance of Spanish folk dances. The final section, Of Meeting and Parting, brings the men and women together to examine the fluidity of relationships. Dancers pair off and are wrapped in the joy of newly found love – coming together in a colorful, and playful scarf dance. Their celebration is short lived and we are left with the jolting image of the women moving slowly forward on their knees as the men depart.
Bridges Not Walls
Making its world premiere, Bridges Not Walls sends a powerful message on current world affairs. Timely and poignant, it’s a piece which yearns to be seen and heard.
Words and images overwhelm as we watch an exodus of groups and learn the stories of individuals. We witness beautiful dance moments set against times of tragedy and despair. The dancers run, respond to each other, and stand alone. With each stretch of an arm and curve of the back we are caught in their plight. Images of places, and faces…Dr King’s famous speech and the Civil rights movement play out in front of us, faces of mothers and children stir our emotions.
A graceful soloist performs against a multi-media background. A moving duet occurs between a man and woman. They move as strangers traveling the same destitute road. We are confronted, we confront ourselves, the dancers identify themselves – we feel the urgency of their message. With every turn, each deafening stillness, each decent to the floor, we see a cornucopia of suffering laid out before us. A dancer walks up a human staircase to look beyond. The words of the poet Warsan Shire echo on the stage “…you only leave home when home won’t let you stay.” Building Bridges Not Walls sends a declaration in the most evocative manner.
Dance NOW! Miami is reaching beyond borders to bring their work to new audiences. Artistic directors Salterini and Baumgarten, will join Daniel Lewis in Mexico for a conference and master classes. The Project Coordinator is Monica Montano. The company will perform this program and Salterini and Baumgarten will implement a true cultural exchange when they teach parts of Ritmo Jondo and Build Bridges Not Walls to local dancers.