Dance artist Shamel Pitts usually takes about nine months to make a piece. But Touch of RED, Pitts’ duet with Tushrik Fredericks, was birthed in a two-year-long, pandemic-bred incubation that fostered a particularly intense collaboration. Forged in the sweaty heat of physical closeness, in the instantaneous reaction of souls laid bare in a fraught arena illuminated by scarlet light, Touch of RED may be Shamel’s most personal work.
I grew up with 70’s soul, funk, salsa, then came hiphop and punk, then post-punk and new wave. That’s always been me. Then I got interested in Afro-Futurism and Afro-punk. I like the reclaiming of punk music by people of color, specifically Black people. We tend to forget rock music comes from Black culture. That’s why Bad Brains and Fishbone are key – and because I love them.
Retired ballet dancer Randolph Ward celebrates outsider power in his Here & Now piece Unconventional; the transgender, vogue, and drag artists who not only re-define their sexuality and gender, but use that reinvention as a source of creativity and community. Who say ‘you don’t see how I shine?’ I’m gonna make a world that does.’
Alejandro Rodriguez planned to be an actor. But when the Miami-born son of Cuban exiles saw Teo Castellanos’ NE Second Avenue, the game-changing solo theater piece Castellanos originated for Here & Now in 2002, it sparked a different creative ambition.
Until now, Symone Titania Major has focused on showcasing the richness of Miami-Dade’s Black community.
Cecilia Benitez and Stephanie Perez are cultural twins. Both 24, Miami-born daughters of Cuban exiles raised in ‘Wescheser,’ the heart of suburban exilio. Both dance graduates of New World School of the Arts – where they became close – and Pittsburgh’s Point Park College. Where they discovered the Miami conundrum of living on the multiple hyphens of being Cuban-Latina-American.
Artist/activist/nature lover Jenna Balfe has always found inspiration and rejuvenation in the abundant landscape of her native Miami.
In the years that choreographer Liony Garcia has worked on Corporeal Decorum, this layered, shape-shifting dance and visual evocation of South Beach’s Art Deco landscape has morphed multiple times.
Part of the allure of Cuban music for outsiders is the thrill of discovering a secret musical world – an intoxicating music created in an island with an endlessly vital, constantly morphing musical tradition that’s still cut off, in many ways, from the rest of the world. A music with profound roots whose artists are always fermenting something new. Which, despite the island’s frequent political isolation, has deeply influenced music in the United States, Latin America and Africa.
Dance theater maker and cultural transformer Pioneer Winter seems to live by the words ‘why not?’ Why not make pieces with people with all different kinds of bodies, experiences, identities, beauty, power? A woman in a wheelchair, a senior citizen gogo dancer, a drag queen, a trans woman, a 13-year-old boy? Why not dance on film? In a bathroom stall?
Why not make dance that intersects with life?