The Art of Dance is a performance that is all about community building through collaboration. Professional choreographers and artists from South Florida come together to work with the next generation of dancers at Miami Dade College and expose them to a wide array of works, dance styles and teaching methods. Witness the fruits of this innovative collaboration at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus’s On Stage Performing Arts Series. This annual series features Miami Dade faculty and guest choreographers, and presents works performed by students and professional artists. This year’s performance will feature new choreography by Michelle Grant-Murray, Katie Sopoci-Drake, Stephen Cruz, Carlota Pradera, Patricio Suarez, LeVerne Washington, and Delma Iles.
Delma Iles, founder and artistic director of Momentum Dance Company, crafts work for students with a purpose. “The most important goal,” Iles says, “is devising choreography that will assist the students in learning specific dance skills—how to execute a canon, or dance to music with unfamiliar time signatures, or to learn to make geometric formations with groups of bodies, or how to dance in a perfect unison.” Iles meets the challenge of transferring (or transmitting) her immense knowledge of the craft through hands-on experience and visual cues—videos and still images. For The Art of Dance performance, Iles crafts a ballet pas de quatre in the ballet style of the Romantic era. Even though many of the students are not well-versed in this style, Iles sees value in exposing them to the delicate, subtle elegance of the dance where the study of intricate and precise hand and body movements counterbalance the more athletic styles of today.
For choreographer, performer and Art of Dance teaching artist Carlota Pradera, dance is both instructive and intuitive. Pradera relies on broad dance concepts that later entice spontaneous narrative threads. Later, she weaves them into a coherent choreography whose guiding philosophy is the total experience rather than the “big plan.” Pradera meets with students twice a week and creates an experimental “safe room” where she encourages her students to embrace “the organic act of listening and following the body and those instincts to learn, to trust, and to keep on elaborating bloom—allowing without throwing in the towel.” In a sense, chaos theory forms the foundation of Pradera’s teaching. “As I was telling a group of students,” Pradera says, “the work depends on laying down and figuring out a map of interconnected and simultaneous physical actions that develop in a given space. In this untitled piece, I knit a web of events where the themes and emotional threads blossom spontaneously.”
In previous years, the Art of Dance presented Mohammed DeCosta (University of Florida), Melony McGant, Afua Hall and Brandon Bryant. The Gift of the Lamban, a dancing journey inspired by the life of anthropologist, choreographer and cultural icon, Katherine Dunham, premiered at the Art of Dance in 2009. This year’s event promises to be an interesting mix and explosion of dance styles. And, most importantly, it will bring together South Florida’s evolving dance community.
Event: The Art of Dance, Miami Dade College Kendall Campus’s On Stage Performing Arts Series.
When: Dec. 10 & 11, 2010. 7:30 p.m. Special matinee Friday, Dec. 10, 11:30 a.m.
Location: Miami Dade College Kendall Campus, McCarthy Auditorium, Room 6120
Tickets: $5 donation (free matinee, Friday, Dec. 11, 11:30 a.m.)
Information: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.mdc.edu/kendall/mtd/OnStage.asp