Peter London Dance: Heat From the Feet Up

Peter London Global Dance Company takes the stage at Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center on July 18 with their annual Heat Wave summer showcase. Featuring a world premiere new work by Peter London, the program will also feature two pieces by choreographer Luis Alberto Cuevas.

By fusing contemporary dance and movements from the African Diaspora and the Caribbean, London’s company has become a post-graduate professional training ground for dancers who boast rigorous trading and technical expertise. Made up of many dancers who studied under London at New World School of the Arts, the Heat Wave program is an opportunity to showcase the cultural diversity and talent of Miami.

Holding an annual summer program allowed London the opportunity to share the company’s work with those who haven’t yet seen it during the regular performance season. “Even though a lot of people have going out of the city in the summertime, a lot people are still here. We are doing some repertory and a new work that will help share our work with new members of the community.”

London’s newest work, Roots, is based on Afro-Caribbean and West African dance. “You have influences from Haiti, and Cuba, and it is fused with contemporary dance,” London explains. “It’s something to celebrate what we have here in South Florida — all the different cultures. It’s a very South Florida dance.”

Miami-based choreographer Cuevas, who is also know for his performance work with choreographer Rosie Herrera, has two pieces featured on the program, Take Five in the Summertime, and Sing, both selections from the Company’s Jazz repertory programs.

His works are inspired in part by the jazz music he uses as a soundtrack for the dances: “The way jazz is structured musically, the improvisational element, the use of layering and also the kind of different musical devices that are used in jazz music, I use that in my dance work, I use all those elements in the movement. The dancers play with different elements, like you would in a jazz ensemble.”

Also a former student of London’s, Cuevas appreciates the opportunity to further develop the choreography with the dancers that having his work in the company’s reparatory allows. “It’s great because I did the piece in December and I changed some elements, made it a duet, which made it more intimate.,” he says. “Every time I come in, it evolves, the dancers change, they evolve, become more comfortable with the work, they find new things in the work, so it always changes. I really like that Peter lets me come in and I can rehearse them, and can make changes, so I know that it will be slightly different for this show. Dance is a living thing — it evolves and grows and this piece does as well.”

Principal dancer Yu-Mien Wu, a powerful performer with an impressive range, will be featured in both of Cuevas’ works. Born and raised in Taiwan, Wu came to the United States in 2009 to study at New World School of the Arts, where he fist met London, and has flourished under his tutelage, finding a home and voice in the company. Recently promoted the role of rehearsal director, Wu works closely with Cuevas and London to ensure a successful performance. “This is always a very special event for the company. We work very hard and would like to have people from Miami, or people who come to Miami, witness what we are doing. It is very exciting event — we just hope people are able to watch it and be very pleased.”

Cuevas concurs. “It’s not just a company, its still educational, about nurturing young talent, a group of dancers as opposed to seasoned vets who have been in the game forever. This company is really about uplifting people.”

– Rebekah Lanae Lengel,

Peter London Global Dance Company (PLGDC) presents “Heat Wave” on Saturday at 8 p.m. with a special VIP reception at 6:30 p.m.; Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terr., Miami; tickets VIP $45 (includes pre show reception), general admission $25, student and senior $15;
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