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Miami City Ballet's 'Rita Finds Home' looks at the immigrant experience through a child's eyes

MCB Kareen Pauld Camargo.jpg
Christine DiMattei
Dance instructor Kareen Pauld Camargo works with teenage dancers with the Miami City Ballet School in rehearsal for "Rita Finds Home."

What does the word "home" mean to you?

To many, it's a domicile, a sanctuary, a safe haven.

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In 1939's The Wizard of Oz, a young girl saw hers in the form of a sepia-toned farmhouse in Kansas; and, once whisked away to a Technicolor landscape, she fought off flying monkeys and wicked witches to get back to it.

To many immigrants, the word "home" represents the yearning for a place of origin coupled with the need for a sense of community in a new land.

Miami City Ballet's Rita Finds Home looks at the immigrant experience through the eyes of a child.

The ballet features young dancers from MCB's Dance School.

The title character is a gifted artist forced to leave her tropical island home in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

Rita Finds Home is a collaboration between Miami City Ballet and Chicago's Joffrey Ballet.

It was conceived before the COVID-19 pandemic struck and had its world premiere in Chicago last June.

"I think it has a through line to what's happening now," said choreographer Amy Hall Garner, referring to the recent influx of migrants — mostly from the Caribbean — who have been risking perilous ocean journeys to get to South Florida.

Garner says the ballet's themes are something most everyone can relate to.

"Home is something that you make yourself," said Garner. "It's something that empowers you to feel your best and become who you are."

Miami City Ballet's
"Rita Finds Home"
Part of MCB's Ballet for Young People

Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance at: Miami City Ballet/Rita Finds Home

Saturday, February 4
Sunday, February 5
2:00 p.m.
Sanctuary Of the Arts
(Located at First Church of Christ, Scientist)
410 Andalusia Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Saturday, February 11
1:30 p.m.
Adrienne Arsht Center
for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132

Saturday, February 25
2:00 p.m.
Society of the Four Arts
Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium
100 Four Arts Plaza
Palm Beach, FL 33480

Sunday, March 12
2:00 p.m.
Haulover Park

Christine DiMattei is WLRN's Morning Edition anchor and also reports on Arts & Culture.