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Pulse Nightclub shooter's wife on trial; Lourdes Lopez of Miami City Ballet & Goulds Photographer

Symone Titania Major
Symone Titania Major won a Knight Art Challenge to photograph the barbecue chefs and entrepreneurs of Goulds

Guests for Sundial on Tuesday, March 27 2018:

It has been almost two years since Omar Mateen opened fire on the dance floor of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando,  killing 49 and wounding dozens more. His widow, Noor Salman, is currently on trial facing charges related to her alleged involvement and knowledge of the shooting. 

Reporter Danielle Prieur from our sister station WMFE in Orlando has been covering the trial and called in to share the latest details. 

Breaking Barriers

Despite the majority of professional dancers being female, very few women run dance companies. The Miami City Ballet serves one of largest markets in the country and has been run by a woman since 2012. The company's Artistic Director, Lourdes Lopez, came to Miami from Cuba with her family when she was two years old.  She began dancing seriously at age eight and was just 14 years old when she moved to New York City with her sister after receiving a full scholarship to School of American Ballet. By 16, she was dancing for the prestigious New York City Ballet where she danced under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.

Lopez had been living in New York for four decades when she received the opportunity to be the artistic director of Miami City Ballet. "I felt like I was acquainting myself not only with my new role, but with the city [of Miami] as well."   

Being a woman running a dance company makes Lopez proud but she does not want her gender to define her role or the respect she receives as an artistic director.  "I'm just here because I feel like dance is an empowering, transitional art form. I want to participate and contribute to it for as long as I can, I'll let others decide what my legacy is once I'm gone," she said. 

Seeing Goulds Through a Lens

Symone Titania Major and her family have lived in the same house in the Miami-Dade neighborhood of Goulds for three generations.  Fed up with the violence of her neighborhood Major actively searched for a positive aspect of her neighborhood--she found it unexpectedly on the side of the road. 

Barbecue vendors gather at otherwise abandoned parking lots during the weekend to sell food. Although Major was accustomed to seeing the vendors, she was hesitant to interact with them and was surprised at how welcoming they were to her and her sister Quiana. She photographed the vendors and compiled the images to create a photo series called "Unvoiced Community." She won a Knight Arts challenge with her pictures and is about to debut an exhibition of her photos at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. 

Symone and her sister Quiana joined the program to speak about their experience getting to know the vendors, and in turn, learning about their community and history. 

The exhibition will debut Saturday, March 31st at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where live music and barbecue food vendors will be present. For more information about the event and ticket sales click here.