© 2022 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Dance NOW! Miami Draws Inspiration From Old Testament's "Book Of Psalms"

Chris Freeman
Dancers Jose Brooks and Jenny Hegarty in Dance NOW! Miami's "Book of Psalms," which makes its world premiere this weekend.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, perhaps no book is more widely read or quoted than the Book of Psalms.

For centuries, Jews and Christians alike have turned to this collection of 150 lyric poems for inspiration in times of doubt, instruction in times of indecision and consolation in times of sorrow.

And now one of South Florida’s most famous contemporary dance companies,  Dance NOW! Miami, has crafted a performance around the Book of Psalms, which gets its world premiere on Saturday, April 21 at the Aventura Arts  & Cultural Center.

Dance NOW! Miami Artistic Director Hannah Baumgarten, who choreographed the work with her fellow director, Diego Salterini, says they chose 12 psalms out of the 150, with the help of her parents.

"My father is a Judaic scholar," says Baumgarten, who spent her childhood moving between Santa Cruz, California, and Jerusalem. "In a way, we had Talmudic sessions about the psalms."

Baumgarten says the sessions with her parents helped her and Salterini gain greater insight into the verses, in hopes of seeing which ones could offer what she calls a "visual picture of a dance."

"Some of the psalms are mantras, almost, to cope with moments in our life," she said. 

"The Book of Psalms" (World Premiere)
Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, 3385 NE 188th St., Aventura
Saturday, April 21, at 8:30 pm

The dance is part of Dance NOW! Miami's evening of work called
"Contemporanea 2018."

The evening also includes the Miami Premiere of "Touch Me," the duet "XY The Engine of Life," and the World Premiere of "Here On Earth."

For more information, please visit www.dancenowmiami.org