With a dance department that offers training in forms as diverse as tap and vodou, one can expect a performance titled FIU Dance: Celebrates the Classics! to be far from the pas de deux and promenades that fit the accepted definition of classic. Indeed Florida International University's spring showcase is designed to underscore the department's teachers, and the cultures and genres their work traverses. As visiting instructor Sherone Price points out: "What is classic is what is traditional to each form. Each instructor is creating a choreography based on the traditional form of his or her discipline." Price, who studied West African dance in Guinea, will debut his African-inspired work Les Ballet Masque Jole, which features live drumming and masks. Through a community grant, Price has also been able to use this presentation to give more than 30 aspiring dancers from Miami-Dade high schools exposure to university-level training, collaboration, and performing.
Besides Price, two other choreographers will infuse their performances with live drumming: Elena Garcia, artistic director of Miami's Iroko Afro-Cuban Dance Theater, will premiere the comical When Rumba Has a Creole Flavor. And renowned Haitian dance artist Louines Louinis will present Dahomey Zepol, an homage to the divinities rooted in vodou and yanvalou forms, plus a festive piece called Limbo Dance. Mariana Alvarez Brake has created Suite Espagnole, a classical ballet. Program director Tom Hagood will restage Some Lost, Some Found, his complex 1995 modern-dance duet. Throughout the show Katherine Kramer, a student of tap-dance legend Charles "Honi" Coles, will offer four short tap pieces that range from a classic soft-shoe to a Cuban son to a traditional swing.