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Miami Dance Festival Showcases Choreographers at Work

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This year’s Miami Dance Festival features an afternoon of new works this Sunday, covering a variety of dance forms during PAN (Performing Arts Network) Choreographers at Work. For instance, there’s Nina Martin’s tribute to Marcel Marceau. And there’s Colleen Farnum’s original work In Everything I See You, a dance piece that integrates her original YogaDance method, which will be performed by the veteran dancer’s company Atma Dance.

Momentum Dance Company’s Emily Noe and Rebecca Pelham will premier new works, as will Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Ilisa Rosal’s company; Rosal is also the artistic director of PAN. More local choreography will be presented by Romina Musach, Angela Feger and Rashidi Lewis.

“We have a belly dancer performing her original choreography,” as well, says Rosal. She highlights the belly dancer in particular to underscore the diversity of dance that will be presented. “The showcase offers the opportunity for choreographers and dance companies to show their new work, but just as important is the chance for the public to see various interpretations — very high quality work ——in an intimate setting, up close. This allows for such accessibility to these wonderful artists,” says Rosal.

This is the 12th year for the Miami Dance Festival, which was created in 2003 by Momentum Dance Company’s Artistic Director Delma Iles along with Dance Now! ensemble’s Diego Salterini and Hannah Baumgarten. “We started Miami Dance Festival to promote our indigenous artists” says Iles. “The people who are creating work that springs from this place and is about this place and that is influenced by this place.

“And that’s what the nice thing is about the Choreographers at Work showcase, because that’s exactly what it does.”
Iles says she also uses the festival platform to help generate discussion about dance, whether it ignites a conversation that organically develops from audience interpretation of a choreographer's new work, or something more structured such as her planned Artists in Collaboration talk on April 29.

At the free event inside the Coral Gables Public Library, Momentum Dance Company artists will join artists from other disciplines to discuss the collaborative process. Iles will moderate the discussion, which will feature bluesman Rob Moore, pianist Alan Ngim, costume designer Marilyn Skow and Rosal. There will also be short collaborative works performed by Momentum dancers.
“This year we’re discussing collaboration. I think it’s important to look at one aspect of the art form very carefully and discuss it and bring the intellectual side of the art form forward. People don't think of dance as being intellectual, but it definitely is,” says Iles. “We need to have more dialogue about dance and we need to elevate the dialogue about dance.”

Rosal says previous years of the Choreographers at Work showcase have proven that dialogue does happen. “From flamenco to modern to dance inspired by yoga, it’s a very unique experience. That’s the feedback that we get from our audiences frequently. They say, for example, ‘To see so much in one performance, it’s quite an experience.’”

– Michelle F. Solomon, artburstmiami.com

PAN Choreographers at Work, Sunday, April 19, at :003 p.m., 13126 West Dixie Hwy., North Miami; 305-899-7730; general admission $20, students and seniors, $10.

Artists in Collaboration discussion begins at 6 p.m. at the Coral Gables Public Library, 3223 Segovia Ave., Coral Gables; free. For more information on all the Miami Dance Festival events, momentumdance.com/schedule.

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