Allapattah is a Miami neighborhood under pressure. Speculators and developers are buying up properties and several major new development projects are underway.
News headlines boast the area is the “new Wynwood” and the “next hot neighborhood."
But Miami choreographer Liony Garcia hears one word: “gentrification.”
Garcia’s new work “Plaza” explores the neighborhood’s looming changes and pays homage to the laborers who work in Allapattah’s produce warehouses.
The dance performance is taking place inside Chicago Produce, a market that's been selling fruits and vegetables in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years. The business will be around a few more years before it has to move because a new owner purchased the property with different plans for the space.
“For me it’s personal,” says Garcia. His uncle owns Chicago Produce and is letting him use the warehouse for the performances.
Garcia says setting the dance in this unlikely setting will introduce audiences to a business with deep ties to the community before it’s gone.
“The produce comes in through the loading dock as does the audience and then through the cooler, into the sorting room and eventually the audience will get a panoramic view of the full building,” he says.
As the audience navigates the warehouse, they encounter eight dancers, some doing every-days tasks among the produce boxes as one would see during working hours.
“When gentrification happens sometimes you realize a little too late the places you didn’t go into when they were still in the neighborhood,” says Garcia. “These are places of labor; it’s highlighting the labor that goes into the day-to-day here.”
If You Go
Where: Chicago Produce, 1344 NW 23rd Street, Miami
When: Saturday, December 1 at 5 PM and 8 PM
Sunday, December 2 at 5 PM and 8 PM
All performances are free and open to the public. RSVP for tickets here: http://plazaperformance.eventbrite.com/