“Growing up in Miami we didn’t feel super Cuban,” says Perez. “But we’re not fully American.”
“People told me ‘you aren’t American, you’re Latina’,” adds Benitez. “You’re different.”
They slide into that dilemma in Manteca (“butter” in Spanish; also old-school Afro-Cuban jazz slang for weed, and title of the pioneering Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo Latin jazz tune.) Their piece evokes family domino nights and growing up Cuban. “Though there are hardships and challenges there’s still celebration,” says Perez. They and two other dancers play with translating male, female, and multiple cultural identities through their bodies, with jazz and contemporary, salsa and bachata dance. “We are embodying the persona,” says Benitez. “Just by being women at the intersection.”
They are thrilled to do that on Here & Now, which has showcased their teachers and persuaded them they could be dance artists in their hometown. “Miami Light Project is the reason I moved back,” Benitez says. “We were super shocked when we got this.”
We are accessible and assistive listening devices are available. To request materials in accessible format and accommodation to attend an event, please contact Eventz Paul at 305.576.4350 or email us, at least five days in advance to initiate your request.
Eventz Paul is currently the Technical Director and Productions Manager at Miami Light Project. He has been a part of this organization since 2011. He participated in Miami Light Project’s first class of the Technical Fellowship Program held at The Light Box. He joined this program hoping to improve his existing theater skills. He received training from experts in the industry that mentored and further his theater technical skills. Now, he has successfully used his professional knowledge and has had the opportunity to work with various arts organizations and venues throughout Miami including Miami Theater Center, National Young Arts Foundation, the Colony Theatre and many more. He has become an instructor and conducts audiovisual classes to incoming technical fellows.
Beth Boone has been the Artistic & Executive Director of Miami Light Project since 1998, developing critically acclaimed artistic programs that have asserted the organization as one of the leading cultural institutions in South Florida. These programs include: the establishment of Here & Now, South Florida’s most respected commission and presenting program for community-based artists; premiere presentations of internationally acclaimed; pioneering historic international cultural exchange with Cuba; and the creation of The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, a multi-use performance and visual art space in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District. She previously served as Associate Director of Development for Florida Grand Opera, Deputy Director for the Department of Cultural Affairs at Miami Dade Community College, Wolfson Campus, co-founded an Off Broadway theater company (New York Rep), and served for six years as a Program Associate in the Arts & Culture Program of the AT&T Foundation. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and a MFA in Theater Arts from Brandeis University in Boston, MA.