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Gentry George: Afro Blue

May 1, 2023

By Jordan Levin

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As a boy in Miami, Gentry George was a misbehaving and reluctant dance student, until his first teacher, Linda Agyapong, told him his talent meant that dance could be his ticket to the world.

“I took that quite literally,” he says. “I was willing to do anything and everything to make that dream come true.” He went to New World School of the Arts, studied at Vladimir Issaev’s rigorous ballet school, got into Juilliard, danced with Alvin Ailey II and Dance Theatre of Harlem, saw himself on posters all over New York City. “It was surreal,” George says.

In 2013 creative longing led George and Tyler Garacci to found the troupe Zest Collective, performing at Harlem Arts Festival and SummerStage, bringing George work as a teacher and youth ensemble leader. But when the pandemic stopped everything, he came to Miami to live with family. Here an unexpected dream came true: he’s full-time faculty at New World, choreographing and teaching; has reinvented Zest as a Miami troupe; earned grants; choreographed for Peter London Global Dance Company and this year’s Piano Slam. “I thought I’d be in New York for another ten years,” George says. “But I’m happy here. My family’s here. There’s great opportunities. I’ve received so much support. I get to be thoroughly creative.”

Which he does with Afro Blue, for Here & Now, part of his Roots & Rhythms series commemorating Black musicians. It’s inspired by jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln’s rendition of legendary Afro-Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria’s tune. “I was mesmerized,” George says. “The song took me down this rabbit hole.” Zest Collective’s seven dancers (including two from celebrated Cuban troupe Malpaso) perform a dance for a woman mourning alone, a male duet that’s a tribute to a murdered family member and a warning against gun violence, a celebration of Afro-Cuban culture. “Music is life,” George says. “Life is dance.”

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Kristina Villaverde

Special Projects Manager

A native of Miami, Kristina Villaverde became Miami Light Project’s Technical Director in 2014. Kristina is also the director of Miami Light Project’s Technical Fellowship, a program designed to train emerging theater technicians and prepares them for professional work. A long time staple in the South Florida theater community, Kristina has worked as the Head Electrician at Byron Carlyle Theater, The Colony Theater and the Olympia Theater. Additionally, she has built her theater skills as Light Designer and Stage Manager for numerous productions, and worked for local arts organizations as Young Arts and Miami Lyric Opera. Kristina has been a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 500 and had the opportunity to work as a stagehand for a variety of productions from Broadway, Comedy Central, CBS, Telemundo to Live Nation at a great number of venues in South Florida.
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Terrence Brunn

Marketing & Communications Manager

A native of St. Thomas, US Virgin Island, Terrence Brunn is an arts administrator and designer with a B.A. in Business Management from the University of Miami. Terrence Brunn joined MLP in 2012 as part of the Miami Light Project’s Technical Fellowship Program inaugural class where he explored all aspects of stagecraft. Now Terrence is the communications manager for Miami Light Project and the program coordinator for Miami Theater Center. Terrence currently resides in Miami and enjoys traveling when not working.
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Regina Moore

Director of Planning & Development

Regina Moore joined Miami Light Project in October 2012. Previously, Regina worked as an independent consultant and grant writer for nonprofits in South Florida. Since 2003, Regina has worked with cultural & arts and community services organizations on projects that have generated more than $4 million in grants. She has 18 years of experience in grant proposal development, strategic planning, building collaborations and program evaluation for small/mid-size nonprofits. Regina holds a master degree in business administration from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) and bachelor’s degree in business from Pontificia Universidade Católica (Sao Paulo, Brazil). A native of Brazil, Regina currently resides in Boca Raton with her husband, John, and two children, Thomas and Emilie.
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Eventz Paul

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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.

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Elizabeth Boone

Artistic & Executive Director

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.