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Eugenio Ebreh Casella and Reika Vigilucci, from Italy's Lyric Dance Co., performing Caravaggio, Amor Vincit Omnia.
Eugenio Ebreh Casella and Reika Vigilucci, from Italy's Lyric Dance Co., performing Caravaggio, Amor Vincit Omnia.
Photo by Alessandro Botticelli

XXV International Ballet Festival of Miami Leaps Into the Virtual Space

One of the most anticipated dance events of the year for South Floridians, the International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM), is in full swing, reinvented as an exhibition, a virtual encounter, and a fundraising campaign.

Through the digital platform play.ticketmundo.com, enjoy 20 prerecorded programs until September 10, and three live “gala” performances on September 11-13. At $10 per program (which includes 24-hour access), the money raised will directly benefit participating companies.

“We already had everything prepared to celebrate the 25th anniversary with presentations at the Arsht Center, the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, the Fillmore, and the Broward Center... but with the situation created by the pandemic we had to change the plans and make it virtual,” says Eriberto Jiménez, the festival’s artistic director.

On the IBFM Facebook page, watch dance workshops, interviews with artistic directors, and other collateral activities including the festival’s August 15 inauguration, with the presentation of the commemorative poster and the documentary La Amable Euforia de la Danza by Miguel Castañet Jr., about IBFM founder Pedro Pablo Peña (1944-2018).

Also available online: the event’s traditional gathering with book authors, which took place August 29. The evening’s discussions centered on Daniel Lewis and his recently published autobiography, Daniel Lewis: A Life in Choreography and the Art of Dance, and Jennifer Kronenberg, author of So, You Want to Be a Ballet Dancer?

Kronenberg said she considered it "a great honor to be presenting my book at the festival. When I wrote it eight years ago, I did it intending to mix memories with advice, to create an ‘evergreen’ guide for young dancers."
Her participation, she added, provided "a wonderful opportunity for me to revisit the book and check its relevance.”

Lewis will receive the "A Life for Dance" Lifetime Achievement Award at the start of the Grand Gala of Stars on September 12.

“Being recognized by your peers, in your community, is a high tribute to your life's work,” Lewis says. “I am moved and delighted to be the recipient of such an award.”

Despite any challenges, this virtual edition of IBFM could end up being a truly memorable event for Miami ballet fans, because they will have the opportunity to appreciate the performances of participating artists in recordings they chose themselves, which should provide a guarantee of quality.

In the absence of a playbill, our recommendation is to learn about the participants before choosing what to watch. To facilitate your search, here is a list of all invited companies and their works:

  • Ballet Folklórico del Parque del Conocimiento with a program consisting of Prince Igor: Polovstian Dances, Les Sylphides, and Boleros de Amor.
  • Ballet Nacional Dominicano with La Llamada, Una Vida, Dos Vidas, and Nunca Como en la Noche los Colores son tan Brillantes.
  • Estonian National Ballet with Coppelia.
  • Lyric Dance Co. with Caravaggio, Amor Vincit Omnia.
  • Roma City Ballet Co. with Swan Lake.
  • ARB Dance Co. with Re-live.
  • Ballet Philippines with Opera.
  • SNG Opera Ballet Ljubljana with The Great Gatsby.
  • Octavio de la Roza & Almamia Dance Project with Carmen.
  • Ballet Inc. (New York) with 667 Miles Away.
  • Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami with two programs, Carmen by Alberto Alonso and Le Corsaire.
  • Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida (North Miami Beach) with Shostakovich Suites.
  • Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami with three works including Gerald Arpino's Light Rain.
  • Karen Peterson Dancers (Miami) with Showcase.
  • Ballet Flamenco La Rosa (Miami) with Señorita Julia.
  • Dance Now! Miami with The Book of Psalm.
  • Brigid Baker WholeProject with Remain in Light.

As for the live-entertainment portion of the festival, the gala performances will be presented across three days, starting September 11.

The first Gala, dedicated to contemporary ballet, will feature Dance Now! Miami, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, Brigid Baker WholeProject, Ballet Inc., and Dancetown Miami.

The other two galas will showcase performances from Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Washington Ballet.

"Only duets or solos will be presented in the Galas," Jiménez says. “But it must be clarified that the duets will be performed by dancers who are a couple in real life, or who have been together all this time. We have tried to keep everything as safe as possible.”

– Orlando Taquechel, ArtburstMiami.com

XXV International Ballet Festival of Miami. Through September 13; internationalballetfestival.org. Tickets cost $10 via play.ticketmundo.com.

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