As 2011 comes to an end, we're getting all nostalgic about the great
moments in Miami culture that took place over the past year. And we know
we're not alone. So we've asked some of Miami's top artists, writers,
film producers and other cultural geniuses about their favorite 2011
Bradley Dunlap had a lot to look back on in 2011. As a dancer with the Miami City Ballet, life was pretty good. From performing in Miami in George Balanchine's Western Symphony, based on traditions and music of the wild west, to revising the dance for a Parisian audience this summer, and then seeing it aired on television for a PBS special of Great Performances in September, Dunlap has been part of an extraordinary year. A company that was considered a very good regional one leaped into the national and international spotlight seemingly overnight. MCB was founded by Edward Villella, a star with the New York City Ballet under Balanchine, who after he retired as a dancer brought his own vision and versions of Balanchine to Miami in 1986. This year he announced his retirement, signaling a new era for MCB and its dancers, including Dunlap, who is currently dancing The Nutcracker across South Florida.
He's been able to witness a cultural flowering around him, not just in dance, as Miami itself also appears to be entering a new era. In 2011, Dunlap left the studio and stage to take in these highlights:
Everything at the New World Center: "It's hard for me to find words to
describe the new home for The New World Symphony [designed by Frank
Gehry]. Whether enjoying an outdoor movie or a concert on the wall, or
the opportunity to see a performance inside the facility, it's amazing
to see the community draw together. The theater reminds me a bit of the
beach with sand-wood floors, and blue-shaded seats creating a wave
effect. The acoustics are great and the students phenomenal."
Performances at the Arsht Center: "As the new home for MCB, it's cool to
see other shows here with the knowledge of what is happening backstage.
I can't help but wonder sometimes, 'Is someone sitting in my spot?' The
most memorable performance this year was The Sparrow, a small Chicago
theater company's show of a girl with superpowers that blew me away. I
also liked In the Heights, and the Mark Morris Dance Group."
Art Basel Miami Beach: "I am a huge fan of modern art and do my best to
visit modern art museums while on tour with MCB. Once a year, Miami and
Miami Beach become a big modern art museum. Although I'm usually
performing, this year I had the pleasure of a day off to visit this
wondrous event. At the Miami Beach Convention Center, there is enough
art to satisfy any enthusiast's appetite. Although I am financially
incapable of affording this art, the event is set up to please us window
Concerts at the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater:
"Since MCB's old home has been transformed into The Fillmore Miami Beach
at Jackie Gleason Theater, I've enjoyed many live events including Rent
the Musical, Ray LaMontagne, John Legend, and most recently Girl Talk. There's
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nothing like going to the Fillmore to enjoy live music and dance my
heart out in a non-classical form."
--Anne Tschida, artburstmiami.com