The seemingly endless cycle of arts events, though slowing, has yet to cease. As one festival (the International Hispanic Theatre Festival) ends, another (the Florida Dance Festival) begins. For the next seventeen days expect this town to be overrun with hardbodied, expressive types when dancers of all kinds begin to storm stages and rehearsal halls, jumping, sweating, risking career-ending injury for your aesthetic pleasure. In addition a plethora of instructors will conduct master classes and workshops in subjects as varied as African and Afro-Cuban dance, ballet, contact improvisation, hip-hop, Middle Eastern dance, Skinner Releasing technique, and creative movement for the disabled. If that's not enough, dance-related films will unspool at the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the opportunity for the audience to become dance critics will arise too.
Some highlights: On Thursday at the Colony Theater, Theatre Mladinsko, originally founded in Slovenia (the former Yugoslavia) in 1955, offers a sound-filled dance/theater piece dubbed Silence, Silence, Silence. With minimal music, stark sets, and dramatic lighting, performers in scenes charting human experiences such as birth, death, love, and war attempt to overcome the "crisis of language" that confines pure communication as set forth by playwrights Ionesco and Beckett.
Officially opening the festival on Sunday at the Colony is Barcelona, Spain's Compania Marta Carrasco, which will present Mira'm "Se Dicen Tantas Cosas" (Mira'm, You Hear so Many Things), an ambiguous work they say delves deeply into the world of dreams. Well into the second week of the festival, former Stomp dancer and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company member Sean Curran brings his ten-member troupe to town. On the program: a series of eclectic solo and group pieces set to modern chamber music, traditional Irish tunes, and songs by contemporary musicians like Sheila Chandra and Seamus Egan.
Modern times and the Nineteenth Century collide when the ten-year-old Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre performs the Ravel Project. Over the past few years, the former principal dancer for the Martha Graham Dance Company has created several new pieces to the Late Romantic composer's scores. The work will coalesce on Wednesday, June 26, at the Colony. Add to that a suite of dances set to popular songs by another French artist, vocalist Edith Piaf.
Florida dancers are, of course, a key component to the Florida Dance Festival, so it's no surprise that movers and shakers from all over the state will move and shake in three separate programs at the New World School of the Arts Dance Theater beginning Tuesday. Featured among the performers: Tampa's Moving Current and Orlando's VOCI Dance Group, plus local favorites La Rosa Flamenco Theatre and mixed-ability ensemble Karen Peterson & Dancers.