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Harvest Voice: No Border Patrol for Dreams

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When Miami Contemporary Dance Company artistic director Ray Sullivan decided to research the life of migrant workers for his new piece, Harvest Voice, he was more interested in the workers' dreams than in the working conditions in the Homestead fields. "As we know there are no borders for dreams," he says. "It's the one thing you can't control."

The interviews were part of the research process that always informs the choreographer's work. "I usually take about a year and a half of working on something conceptually before I begin to make the movement phrases," Sullivan explains.

His approach was far from obvious. "The first question I asked everyone

was what their favorite color was when they were a child, which I think

surprised them," Sullivan says. "I wanted people to go back in their

heads to when they were younger and compare their dreams then to what

their dreams are today."

The answers were surprising too. "In one of the interviews, I said,

'Take a second if you need to focus on what your dreams are,'" Sullivan

recalls, "And the woman said, 'I don't need to focus at all. As

migrants, we moved around a lot when I was a kid, all over the south of

the country. I would love to go back to some of the schools and churches

that I went to as a kid because that was where I played with all my

friends."

Harvest Voice captures these bittersweet memories of life on the road,

opening a window onto the lives of the people who pick our food, yet we

rarely see. His dancers leap and fall, then nestle tenderly into each

others bodies. During one section, they are confined by low wooden boxes

that look like planters, then burst out of that confinement. "I work

abstractly," he explains. "All I want to do is document within my own

poetic voice what a certain situation is."

See Harvest Voice begins this week at 8 p.m. on Friday

and Saturday at the Colony Theatre (1040 Lincoln

Rd., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $20 to $35. Call 305-865-6232 or visit

miamicontemporarydance.net.

-- Celeste  Fraser Delgado of artburstmiami.com.

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