Two Dance Companies and Las Meninas to Open South Dade Arts Center Starting in May

Actual performances at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center are about two months away from taking place. The venue, the first of its kind in the southern stretches of Miami-Dade, is a couple of years late in opening but still expected to be a cultural and economic catalyst for an area that has been virtual vacuum for the arts.  Finishing touches are currently being put on the center but programming is already in place for late April and early May. Read on for programming highlights.

General Manager Eric Fliss confirmed that several dance and theater companies signed on to perform at the Arquitectonica-designed 966-seat venue ahead of the grand opening scheduled for October. The All Kids Included (AKI) event, for children of all abilities, will kick off programming in April with art making activities, mural painting and dance sessions. Just a couple of weeks later LA-based Diavalo dance company will perform.

Diavolo is made up of dancers, gymnast, and actors and specializes in

large-scale performances that look at how people act with their

environment in funny and scary ways. Other soft opening programming includes May performances by the Doug

Varone and Dancers Company, a contemporary troupe from New York City,

and four performances of Las Meninas by Sarasota-based Asolo Repertory

Theater Company late in the same month. Based in Sarasota, the Asolo

Rep's performance at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Center will include

actors from the University of Miami's drama school.

Next up at the center is a Latin jazz orchestra in June (details still

being worked out) and several summer camps scheduled for July and


The grand opening and first full season of programming at the center

starts in October. Fliss says that three contemporary dance companies

will perform in the first season (all, he points out, directed by

African Americans), as well as gospel, pop, and classical quartet music

performances, and a blues series.

The near $40 million South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center was best by

cost overruns and delays soon after it was approved in 2005, but a new

contractor turned the project around brought in the project on budget,

says Michael Spring, director of the Miami-Dade County Department of

Cultural Affairs. Fliss and the staff of the center are already working

on site.

As well as performances, Fliss says that center plans to have visiting

dance and theater companies engage the community by giving workshops at

schools and other centers. There are also plans for the venue to host

farmer's markets and other community gatherings in the future.

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