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Things to do in Miami: Miami Dimensions Dance Theater Program II July 17-18, 2021

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Daniel White in “Touch Me” by Gerald Arpino.

Photo courtesy of Dimensions Dance Theater, Miami

Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami returns to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in July with its program II: “Generations of Genius”.

The program, scheduled from July 17 to 18 on the main stage of the SMDCAC, will present premieres choreographed by different generations.

The first one, Around midnight, is the work of DDTM dancer and choreographer Yanis Eric Pikieris. The five-movement, 20-minute piece was originally commissioned and performed in January by Ballet Vero Beach. Set of pikieris Around midnight to music by 20th-century Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnànyi, and said he was inspired by a painting of the same name by Hungarian painter Robert Pelles.

The painter establishes a counterpoint on the canvas between a geometric figuration with hard edges and bright colors and cloudy washes of purple and blue tones.

This acuity and sweet counterpoint is one of the choreographer’s hallmarks. The solo and group sequences follow instantaneous redirections with sticky duets in which the partners embrace. Unsurprisingly, this is the kind of transition that Pikieris the dancer performs brilliantly.

“In this piece, I engage in the concrete reality of the connection between the dancers while remaining attached to abstraction in movement. For “Around Midnight” that means visually repeating the ethereal and airy quality of music and painting while locating tender moments in abstraction, “he said. “If there is no connection between the people dancing, the abstract dance can become boring. It is important that the dancers locate each other and have a relationship so that the dance is warm.

The DDTM Program II brings together both dancers and choreographers. Pikieris not only contributes a new work to the program, but he dances a lead role in his father’s integral 40-minute choreography of 1723 composer Antonio Vivaldi’s violin concertos, The four Seasons. (DDTM performs frequently on excerpts from the piece, but this will be the first program where the company dances the entire work.)

In a recent rehearsal, the violins vibrated with the main theme of “Spring”, the opening movement of the work, as Pikieris’ father, choreographer Yanis Pikieris, watched it intently from the fingerboard.

Dancers Meisy Laffitte, Claudia Lezcano, Miranda Montes de Oca, Calista Olson, Paulina Zambrana and Cassidy McAndrew circled the floor in pairs, doing pointes, their arms sweeping downward upward before forming three pairs that introduced a visual fugue. Each pair executed a forward kick flipped back in stance and then froze in a lunge, their arms reaching for the top as if they were holding a trophy.

“And then we run out of stairs,” said senior Pikieris jokingly, turning off the music. “Before, it was a solo. We’ve never had so many women dancing with us, so I remade the piece to include them.

DDTM was founded in 2016 by former Miami City Ballet principal dancers Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra and since then has built an ever-strong reputation for dance. In this afternoon of rehearsals, however, the lunges felt deeper, the footwork more precise, the coordination and timing of the group even more precise than before the stop.

“I feel like everyone came back with a new appreciation for what they do,” Kronenberg says. “They now have a ‘let’s not hold back’ mentality. It is something that can be taken away from me. People are not running away.

“Also, throwing Emily and Cassidy into the mix was fun, like throwing a rock in a lake,” she adds, referring to Los Angeles Ballet dancer Cassidy McAndrew and former director of the Miami City Ballet Emily Bromberg, both of whom perform in this program. .

Click to enlarge Claudia Lezcano and Maikel Hernandez in “The four seasons” by Yanis Pikieris.  - PHOTO COURTESY OF DIMENSIONS DANCE THEATER DE MIAMI

Claudia Lezcano and Maikel Hernandez in “The four seasons” by Yanis Pikieris.

Photo courtesy of Dimensions Dance Theater, Miami

With the slow first chords of “Summer,” Bromberg elastically shifted from a deep forward flexion to a full back flexion, his arm floating with the adagio passage above his head and the tip of his head. her finger lifting gently to mark the end of the sentence.

“I asked if I could take classes and they said yes, as long as I was vaccinated,” Bromberg later recalls. “Then after a series of canceled performances, I realized that I would go to Spain without dancing for eight months.”

Bromberg will travel to Spain for her new role next year, as Ballet de Barcelona’s principal and ballet mistress under artistic direction, Chase Johnsey.

“I found it gracious of [DDTM] to invite me, ”says Bromberg. “March 2020 was the last time I was in a theater, and this program gives me the chance to dance one last performance for the public in Miami before I leave.”

For Kronenberg, Bromberg brings a particular skill: “I think she embodies what we are trying to achieve. [the dancers] make. She has a different style and technique… Her footwork is so deliberate, intentional – you can’t see the shoe when it dances, let alone its flexibility and musicality.

Program II also includes “Maria”, a pas de deux on “Ave Maria” and choreographed by the Hispanic Ballet dancers Melissa Fernandez and Lyvan Verdecia. It will be danced by Selah Jane Oliver and Stephan Fons.

Oliver admitted some nervousness about performing live on the SMDCAC main stage after such a long hiatus.

“It’s the first ballet on the main stage, so I have nerves, but they’re good nerves,” she said.

The final piece is “Touch Me”, a 1977 work by Gerald Arpino danced by DDTM guest artist Daniel White. It was staged for DDTM by Cameron Basden, a Joffrey Ballet coach, Gerald Arpino Foundation board member and Artburst Miami collaborator. Set on a recording of a live concert by the Reverend James Cleveland and the Charles Fold Singers, “Touch Me” is notable for its nod to Alvin Ailey’s works like “Cry” and the striking visuals that the chested dancer naked as he sweeps the floor, draped in a voluminous white dress.

“Arpino’s sensibility in every element of ‘Touch Me’ really shows just how inspired he was by the music of Reverend Cleveland,” says Basden. “It becomes a real journey for the dancer using Arpino’s modern influenced movement combined with spiritual gospel music. I know the audience will be moved.

With “Generations of Genius”, DDTM hopes to move and inspire.

“The world needs a beautiful experience and to see how it is possible for beauty to emerge from a really ugly time,” says Kronenberg. “And these [dancers] are a product of the community. These are artists representing the resilience of the community. They didn’t give up. They did not go anywhere else. It says a lot about how they felt this investment in the community.

– Sean Erwin,

Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami’s Program II: “Generations of Genius”. 8 p.m. Saturday July 17 and 3 p.m. Sunday July 18 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St., Cutler Bay; 786-573-5300; Tickets cost $ 25 to $ 45.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion