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Five Creative Ways To Experience Modern Dance In South Florida

John Kane/Pilobolus

South Florida doesn’t (yet) have a modern dance company on the same scale as its ballet company, Miami City Ballet, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave the region to see some phenomenal contemporary dance.

Credit Claudia H. Munoz

Several dance heavyweights are coming to South Florida this season, and there’s a nice range in styles so you can get a sampling of not only the best of the best, but also the full spectrum of the art form. Whether you’re a connoisseur or a newbie, this guide will help you pick what shows to see.

Below is a list of what not to miss, conveniently organized into five categories: Experimental, For the Drag Alongs, The Classics, Mix It Up, and Locally Sourced.

Experimental (For The Adventurous)

TRPL QUINCE is a multimedia journey through three quinceañeras. The work is in progress, but Miami performance artist Octavio Campos is giving us a sneak peak before the official opening in NYC in January. TRPL QUINCE is a mix of dance, music, video and storytelling that takes place in a club-like setting. If you go, you may become hypnotized and before you know it find yourself out on the dance floor. However, be warned: there's some nudity. The show is October 9 at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood at 7 p.m.

For the Drag Alongs (Aw, Honey, Do We Have To?)

If you want to see quality performers and choreography, but maybe have a date who’s skeptical about spending a weekend night watching dance, check out Diavolo and Pilobolus. 

Credit courtesy of South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center

Diavolo is performing October 12 and 13 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. The L.A.-based dance troupe is made up of gymnasts and rock climbers as well as dancers. The company is known for its acrobatic choreography executed on large, moving props. They’ll be performing Transit Space on large skateboard ramps as well as Fluid Infinites, which is set on an abstract dome structure.

Pilobolus is performing at the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami October 25 and 26. The troupe is a master of creating phenomenal visual effects with the human body, such as this piece of YouTube fame, Shadowland. Pilobolus will perform another shadow play piece, Transformation, while in Miami. Other pieces on the roster for the Arsht performances include Automation, Shizen, [esc], and Licks.

The Classics (Where It All Began)

If you’re looking for “classic” modern dance, two standard bearers are coming to town. Martha Graham Dance Company is performing a mix of Graham works and new commissions on January 14 at the Kravis Performing Arts Center in West Palm Beach. Graham is one of the great American artistic pioneers whose work, known for sharp and visceral movement, has influenced generations of choreographers. Among her students was another American artistic giant, Alvin Ailey.

Credit Bill Herbert/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Ailey's Alicia Graf and Jamar Roberts in "Revelations." Roberts is a Miami native.

And we get to see Ailey too! Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is performing February 20-23 at the Arsht and February 24 at the Kravis. Ailey's choreography draws heavily on the African-American experience as can be seen in Revelations, a piece that is among the most revered American works of dance.

Ailey will be performing Revelations while in South Florida along with other choreographic works, including one by Bill T. Jones. The company also has some local ties to the region-- one of its dancers as well as its artistic director are both from Miami. 

Mix It Up (I Like Ballet But I’m Tired Of The Nutcracker)

If you want to see a mix of classical ballet and contemporary dance (also known as contemporary ballet) you have the chance to see two exciting companies: Complexions Contemporary Ballet is performing at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on February 8, and the Trey McIntrye Project will be thereon April 12

Our own Miami City Ballet is also presenting a couple of contemporary works new to the company this season starting with Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia on October 18-20 at the Arsht, October 25-27 at the Broward Performing Arts Center and November 15-17 at the Kravis. The company will be performing Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat in January, again, at all three performing arts centers.

Locally Sourced (I Like To Support Home-Grown Talent)

Miami Choreographer Rosie Herrera is creating a new work styled on the Cuban cabaret aesthetic titled Show Girl. New York City-based Ballet Hispanico will be premiering the work at the Arsht on June 6 and 7

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