From Peruvian folk dance to Nina Simone: Miami-born choreographer comes home with new ballet
Twenty-one years ago, Margarita Armas was twirling on stage in a toddler version of the colorful costume her mother routinely wore in performance.
Both of Armas's parents were professional Peruvian folklore dancers and taught their daughter the rudiments of the spirited marinera — where the courtship of a man and a woman are put to dance.
But in recent months, 23-year-old Armas could be found wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the rehearsal studios of Miami City Ballet, guiding dancers through a searing rendition of Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" sung by Nina Simone.
Armas says that particular song has the same vibe as a Peruvian vals.
"I'm so captivated by her voice," she says. "I just love choreographing and moving to her music."
The Simone song was Armas's choice for the third and last section of her new ballet, Analogo — which has its world premiere with Miami City Ballet this month.
Armas was born, raised and had the bulk of her training as a ballet dancer in Miami. In recent years, she pivoted to choreography and says it's wonderful to be able to debut her new work in her hometown.
"I've just been so grateful to be able to collaborate with dancers that I've looked up to ever since I was seven years old when I got into Miami City Ballet School," says Armas.
"It's a full circle moment."
IF YOU GO
MIAMI CITY BALLET Winter Mix
Analogo (World Premiere)
Aukai, Miss Meadow, Nina Simone
PAGANINI, In Play (World Premiere)
© The George Balanchine Trust
WHERE AND WHEN:
For ticket information, visit miamicityballet.org.