Dance Now! Miami brings choreographer Edward Stierle’s evocative Lacrymosa home to South Florida this weekend. The performance comes more than 20 years after its premiere with the Joffrey Ballet and since the untimely death (at age 23) of Stierle, a Hollywood,
In Lacrymosa, the work and the life of the choreographer are inseparable. The word is Latin for weeping and is a dance about sorrow. Stierle created the number after he had been diagnosed as HIV positive. In this powerful piece, he takes the audience on an interior journey of human frailty and mortality. He turned to Mozart’s Requiem for the score — a poignant
“It’s a beautiful piece,” says Hannah Baumgarten, co- artistic director of Dance Now!. “He was creating his own ballet while facing his mortality... it’s a memorial piece.”
The choreography occurred over a period of time in Stierle’s short life, beginning in 1989 when he performed what would become the touching solo in Lacrymosa at the prestigious International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. He won a gold medal. Robert Joffrey was sitting at the judges table, and after that
Dance Now! is presenting Lacrymosa as part of its Masterpiece in Motion program. The company is "developing a history of [presenting] emerging choreographers and building up a repertory of
Lacrymosa is filled with emotion and the knowledge of time passing too quickly. It’s hauntingly beautiful in its depiction of the dancer's awareness of his illness; the choreography speaks to all and has the feel of someone mature beyond his years. The fact that Stierle's voice was stilled so soon is a loss to the dance community and beyond.
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The central pas de deux is like a dialogue between best friends. The movements are, at times, grounded; the air heavy with the understanding of the near future. Dancers Allyn Ginns (on
Stierle died of AIDS shortly after completing his second and final ballet, Empyrean Dances. “We need to have the conversation about AIDS openly,” says Baumgarten. Depressingly, Miami-Dade and Broward counties are ranked number one and two in new HIV cases in the nation. To this end, Thursday is a special, closed performance, free to LGBTQ youth. There will also be a discussion led by community leaders.
– Diana Dunbar, artburstmiami.com
Dance Now! Miami Lacrymosa
Runs Thursday (LGBTQ only), Friday, and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at the Gleason Room Backstage at the Fillmore (1700 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $35 for general admission, and $25 students and seniors. Visit dancenowmiami.org.