This week, MDC Live Arts brings the explosive energy of Combinado Argentino de Danza to Miami for their U.S. debut, featuring a series of pop-up performances and residency workshops, culminating in a performance at Miami Beach’s Colony Theater on Saturday.
Founded in 2011 by artistic director Andrea Servera, Combinado Argentino De Danza (CAD) has developed into a company that seamlessly blends movements from hip-hop, Argentinean folkloric, and contemporary dance into a stunning display of athleticism and feverish excitement. Hip-hop dancers defy gravity with spins and flips, while the intricate footwork of folkloric dance taps a staccato rhythm against the stage.
Made up of a group of artists as diverse as its movements, CAD features conservatory and street trained dancers, DJs, and visual artists. One such company member is 26-year-old Agustin Franzoni, who started dancing only six years ago after being inspired by videos of Michael Jackson. “When I saw him the first time, I was like, ‘Whoa!’ I started practicing and watching the videos for like eight hours a day, I wanted to learn it all,” he says via translator from his home in Argentina.
A self-described popper, named after the signature break dancing style that utilizes a series of articulated muscles contractions to simulate limbs “popping” forth from the body, Franzoni learned to dance by studying YouTube videos.
He took his dancing to the streets and found kinship and community with his fellow dancers in Buenos Aires’ famed Tecnópolis park. It was there that he met Servera and was invited to join her company and create work. “Andrea saw us and liked how I danced and wanted to try to mix up styles to create a new language of dance.”
This new language of dance has taken Franzoni and the other members of Combinado Argentino de Danza around the world, not just performing, but teaching their signature style and spreading their message of dance as a unifying force. It was this community minded energy that captivated the attention of MDC Live Arts executive director Kathryn Garcia.
“One of the things that attracted me to this company was their spirit of generosity and interest in doing a lot of activity and engagement with the community. A delightful thing about working on this show is how excited the company is to come here,” Garcia says. “They are so excited, and so revved up to spend time in Miami and work with our community. They are not 100 percent focused in the show, and they really, really want to engage while they are here, which we find very exciting.”
In addition to their concert at the Colony, the company will present a series of pop-up performances across Miami Dade College’s many campuses, as well as at the Wynwood Walls on Friday. These guerilla-style engagements will be interactive and free of charge, and will allow Miami to get to know CAD and their work.
As Garcia explains, “There is this spirit of eagerness and freshness, and this real vibrancy and newness that you get from the company because they are such a young company. It’s exciting to see what is new and being created in a different part of the world that so clearly has influences from the U.S.”
Franzoni just wants “people to go see our show. It’s like a dream for us, for me. I want to show people our world, and what we do, and how we do it in Argentina.
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“People always have a good time. When we finish, the DJ always invites the audience to dance with us. We really mix it up, mix different dances. At the same time, we are equal, and we are like family. It’s more than just technique — we dance with our hearts.”
– Rebekah Lanae Lengel, artburstmiami.com
Combinado Argentino de Danza
Pop-up performance on Friday, October 16, at 6 p.m. at Wynwood Walls, 2516 NW Second Ave., Miami. Tickets are free. Performance on Saturday, October 17, at 8 p.m. at Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets $25, $10 MDC students; 305-237-3010; mdclivearts.org.