There’s more to the art world of Miami than the walls of Wynwood, but in such a growing scene, there are entire art forms many people haven’t explored. Such is the case with dance in Miami.
Modern dance can be difficult to approach as an outsider. Dance can’t be experienced as passively as an art gallery on a sleepy Sunday. At first, it can seem silly or hard to decipher. But, even the casual observer can understand the mind-blowing physicality of modern dance. The deeper one delves into the movements of the bodies, the dancers’ interactions, the play between music and motion, the more beauty is revealed. The slightest movements can speak volumes, and unlock untold emotion in an observer.
Researchers and scholars call the experience “kinesthetic empathy,” in which our brains’ mirror neurons basically allow us to mentally experience the physical movements and interactions of others. Choreographer Adesola Akinleye described the phenomenon this way:
“The person who watches dancing does none of the physical work themselves but in perceiving the performance they experience the rhythm of it as though it were in their own body. When attention is brought to the line and curves of the physical environment through the choreography, the audience starts to experience a building with the same sense of movement that they observe in dance …
I see choreography working in such a way that the audience becomes aware of their own feeling of the aesthetic of the body in space. I aim for my work to continue to be alive within the space when the dancing bodies have finished; for the dance to have left a trace.”
Pretty cool, right? If you’re ready to dive into dance and fire up your own mirror neurons, The Harvard Business School Club of Miami will host a Modern Dance Appreciation 101 event tomorrow at Little Haiti Cultural Center led by local dancer Peter London, a professor of dance at Miami-Dade College and New World School of the Arts.
The cost of the event is $30 with all proceeds going to the Peter London Global Dance Company. You’ll get a cocktail reception and a presentation on modern dance by Peter London, followed by a rehearsal and private performance.
After your crash course, be sure to check out some of the many companies and dancers moving Miami:
Miami City Ballet – Our very own world class ballet with studios right on Miami Beach next to Collins Park. Under the leadership of their new artistic director Lourdes Lopez the ballet has been doing some incredible programming.
WholeProject – WholeProject is a contemporary classical dance company under the choreographic direction of Brigid Baker who uses movement principles based on Lightbody. Creations are collaborative efforts that combine the use of environmental installations, dance, music and film. Everything is hand-made, repurposed and steeped in nature.
Dance Now! – creates, promotes and produces contemporary dance of the highest caliber and through performance, arts education, community leadership and innovative programming, nurtures new talents, fosters artistic collaborations and makes the art of dance accessible to diverse audiences locally, nationally and internationally.
Godoy/Pradera – Carlota Pradera & Lazaro Godo work together to unleash those human situations that incite artistic investigative research to reveal work of solid process and consciousness.
BrazzDance – “We function as a kind of ‘Griot’, story-teller, of choreographic ideas. A ‘Griot’ that brings ancient knowledge to the present while revering the past, and aspiring after a future that is filled with rich cultural and artistic context.”
Tattooed Ballerinas – Interdisciplinary Dance Company. Re-claiming and Re-framing public spaces in our communities who also recently just did a Knight Arts Challenge project at the Miami Marine Stadium
Miami Contemporary Dance Company – now in its fourteenth year, is led by internationally acclaimed Artistic Director, Ray Sullivan. With over thirty years of global experience, the MCDC artistic team creates high quality contemporary dance.
Momentum – Momentum Dance Company is a professional contemporary dance company. The company exists for the purpose of creating, performing, and producing dance works, particularly those by Florida artists according to the unique vision of Founder/Artistic Director Delma Iles, emphasizing the crsation of new works, but from a classic and historic viewpoint.
The Pioneer Winter Collective – Pioneer Winter is a Miami-native choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker of Pioneer Winter / Collective.
Nazmo Dance Collective – Nazmo Dance Collective is dance company, under the artistic direction of Danielle Kipnis, that pushes the boundaries of traditional movement styles.
Alma Dance Theater – a conceptual performance company, physically activating spaces, installations and pieces of visual art through collaborations
Karen Peterson and Dancers – founded in 1990 as a non for profit dance organization, presents excellence in dance through its quality based programs, community performances and educational workshops.
Rosie Herrara Dance Theater – Since their discovery in 2009 by Charles Reinhart after the premiere of Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret, Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre has quickly become a beloved fixture in the contemporary arts scene in Miami. With a whirlwind success that has taken them from sold out performances at the prestigious American Dance Festival (ADF), The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County and most recently The Baryshnicov Arts Center NYC, the company is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the national dance scene.
TOC project – A Contemporary Ballet Company creating opportunities for artists and audiences in South Florida. A fresh perspective on movement….a feast for the senses.
Bistoury – The mission of Bistoury (Physical Theatre and Film) is to carry out research, development, and to take aesthetic and physical risks, trying to break the pre-established boundaries between dance, theater and film. There is a special intent to communicate ideas clearly and unpretentiously, giving a humanistic quality to art work, insisting on the importance of questioning preconceived notions about what dance, film and theater can and should be. Check out the videos on their website, really cool works!
Next Step Dance – Now its twelfth season, Next Step Dance has performed annually in South Florida. In the past two years, the company has been focused on its newly launched initiative, the Nexus: Educational Programming Series, presenting master classes, intensives, and guest artist residencies throughout the United States and Europe including an annual summer intensive at the Centre de Danse du Marais in Paris, France.
Did we leave your favorite dancer or studio out? Post it in the comments or email us at hello(at)thenewtropic.wpengine.com, and we’ll be sure to add it to the list.