FLA-FRA Festival 2015: Party Like Its France All Month Long

For the second year, South Floridians can get in touch with their inner Francophiles as Tigertail Productions offers 30 consecutive days of French-inspired cultural events during the FLA-FRA Festival beginning Wednesday.

“I was looking for groups that were part of the French diaspora, the Francophone,” explains Tigertail Productions Founder and Executive Director Mary Luft, about the festival that honors and recognizes the many cultures of the French diaspora in Miami. With activities and events including everything from film screenings, dance performances, concerts, sunrise rituals and a scavenger hunt, a little France in Miami will be available to all.

For music lovers, FLA-FRA features concerts by Cajun trio Savoy-Doucet, and French gypsy guitarist Adrien Moignard. As Luft says, Savoy-Docet — who play Miami Beach’s Colony Theater on April 11 — are “very, very geared to the roots of their music. It’s traditional. It’s different from what we would normally see here in Miami.”

Appearing at the On Stage Black Box at Miami-Dade County Auditorium on April 17 and 18, Moignard is considered a rising star on the DjangoFest music circuit, crafting a powerful and electric sound in line with the gypsy jazz traditions of Django Reinhardt.
Dancer and choreographer Nadia Beugré from Côte d'Ivoire (a former French colony), whose work Luft describes as “really raw, powerful, in your face work,” will present her dance piece, Quartiers Libres also at On Stage Black Box, on April 23. Meaning free territory, or limitless space in French, Quartiers Libres explores themes of expression and resistance through a multi-media and highly textured performance. “1,000 water bottles hang as a curtain,” Luft describes of the set. “It’s this incredible costume she crawls into … she becomes like a porcupine [as] she uses that piece. It’s a really gutsy, extremely physical piece.”

The festival will also include several film screenings of Jean Cocteau films at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, as well as a free screening of his 1946 Beauty and the Beast at the SoundScape Park at New World Symphony on April 16.

One of the FLA-FRA activities that Luft is most looking forward to are Culture Clicks, a series of 12 five-minute artistic moments that will take place all over South Florida. “What [the artists] come up with is absolutely amazing,” she says. “From a 12th-century troubadour, to Napoleon coming back, they’re just so inventive, and I love this component.” Created by South Florida artists, these five-minutes pieces include a No Exit play with French Fries and a mustard bottle as a characters, a love song to a dog, and a live painting in the style of Matisse.

For early risers, each morning locations on both Haulover Beach and South Point Park will find a FLA-FRA artist in a five-minute meditation on a French artist of their choice. “It’s just a single person appearing,” explains Luft. “So it could be that person who goes swimming, or that person who is a tourist video-recording the beach.” For interested parties unable to wake before the sun, pieces will be filmed and posted to YouTube daily.

Aiming to reach as many South Floridians as possible, on Sunday, April 12, Tigertail is also including a French-themed scavenger hunt in the festival. “I thought this will be great fun to do something with clues, and is not time based, so you just spend time in different locations,” Luft says about the event that will end in a party and award all participants a genuine French medal — and one lucky winner a gift certificate for dinner at a French restaurant.

With over 50 events crammed into the festival, Luft is confidant audience goers will find one that fits their tastes. “There are events every couple days that you can go to,” she says. “Experiment, have fun with it.”

– Rebekah Lanae Lengel,

Tigertail Productions’ second FLA-FRA Festival starts Wednesday and runs through April 30 at various locations across Miami and Miami Beach; tickets and details,
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