Dance Now Miami Closes Fifteenth Season With Winter's Breath

Dance Now! Miami closes its 15th anniversary season at the Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center this weekend on Saturday and Sunday, inviting audiences to get “Into the Heat” of summer by cooling down with the Florida premiere of Winter’s Breath, one of several dances in the closing “Heat” program.

Like previous seasonally themed offerings such as Random Patterns of Falling Leaves and Songs of Spring, Winter’s Breath is the latest creation of co-artistic directors and choreographers Hannah Baumgarten and Diego Salterini. Set to Ballet on Opium, a new reconstitution of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Season’s by composer Max Richter, the new dance’s movement imagery suggests the deceptively subtle power of rock-shearing glaciers in contrast to the speed of snowstorms.

Winter’s Breath was originally created during a residency last October in Stockton College, New Jersey. Before any choreography was created — or even before they met the student dancers — Baumgarten and Salterini set to work first on stitching together the soundtrack based on Richter’s piece.

“The music is sweet and cutting, sustained and rapid firing. It holds and then whips through space, and the choreography was designed to emulate these juxtapositions,” according to Baumgarten.“Winter’s Breath suggests emotion, introspection and reaction as opposed to interpersonal relationships or a narrative. It features an inevitability of time, and season and age.”

Baumgarten and Salterini shared some more thoughts on the creation and transposition of the original work to their own company of dancers.

Artburst: What is the story behind the title Winter’s Breath?
Baumgarten & Salterini: When we created this work we were in Stockton College in what they called fall, but for us Miamians was clearly much closer to winter… although there was no snow on the ground, we were inspired by our surrounding. The first impulse though was not necessarily winter — instead our point of departure was the contrast between a group of dancers moving at almost glacial speed, and another group of dancers moving at flurry speed. It was very much dictated by the music. Once we set in motion, the piece manifested itself.

What is the process like transposing a piece originally set for a different group, regardless of skill, onto your own company?
A painful one.… We generally always try to shy away from re-staging work as we have no shortage of creative juices; and it’s much easier to create new work than try to transpose from a video. Fortunately, though, today’s dancers are very good at learning from videos.… We tried as much as possible to stay away from the studio at that time. We only stepped in to clarify, and in some cases to tweak or change things.

For this specific piece, will you change much to highlight your own dancers particular strengths?
The piece was set [for] eight and we restaged for six. Originally, we thought we would change a lot, but actually we did not. The dancers at the college were able to handle some pretty intricate work, and although they are young and not as experienced as our dancers, they held their own. So there have been some minor changes but nothing too dramatic. One of the major differences was that the [Stockton] cast was all women. When we decided to restage, it was clear that one group would be all men, the other all women, as dictated by the movement.

This season finale also showcases Baumgarten’s return to her storytelling roots, with the premiere of Jocasta: Impossible Love, an interpretation of the epic story of Oedipus, told through Queen Jocasta’s eyes — and her heart. Salterini will premiere Carving Tango, a trio set to the music of Heitor Villa Lobos and Astor Piazzolla. Guest choreographers on the bill include an encore presentation of Carolyn Dorfman’s poignant Odisea, and a new men’s duet by choreographer Leslie Williams.

– Miguel Angel Estefan Jr.,

“Into the Heat” will be performed Saturday at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami; Tickets $25, $15 students/seniors;; 305-975-8489.
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