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Dance NOW! Miami presents season finale with world premieres

Photo courtesy of Dance NOW! Miami.
Photo courtesy of Dance NOW! Miami.

Dance NOW! Miami (DNM), one of the leading contemporary companies in Florida, brings its 2020-21 season to a close when it returns to the Miami Theater Center on June 19, with its updated Program III. The evening will include the U.S. premiere of Caravan from Italy’s Opus Ballet, along with the Miami premieres of Dorian’s Reflection, inspired by a classic Oscar Wilde novel, and the Jewish-themed Anusim. Seating will be reduced to allow for social distancing, and mask wearing will be required.

This evening was planned as a joint performance with Opus Ballet, postponed a full year due to COVID-19. But because of ongoing travel restrictions, this Florence, Italy-based group, one of the country’s rising contemporary dance troupes, will be unable to go on its first U.S. tour. Instead, working remotely with Zoom and other platforms, the companies will collaborate in mounting Caravan, a commentary on the European migration and culture crisis, on DNM. 

“We have had a residency with Opus Ballet in Italy previously, before this pandemic,” says DNM Co-Artistic Director Diego Salterini. “While we are disappointed that they can’t travel here to join us, I am still especially excited to partner with them, as I myself was born and raised in Italy.” 

Dorian’s Reflection, choreographed by DNM Co-Artistic Directors Hannah Baumgarten and Salterini, is a contemporary treatment of the story and characters from Wilde’s novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a foundational part of the gay literary canon. The ballet, with an original score by internationally recognized composer Davidson Jaconello, explores the themes of self-importance, self-indulgence, newfound sexuality and even violent behavior, embodied in Dorian, who in the original remained forever young while his portrait ages instead. The dance work updates the narrative to our modern time of online identities and social media, flipping the story so that Dorian’s projected image stays young while the character of Dorian ages.

“In our youth-obsessed culture, Wilde’s novel really still speaks to us, and inspired us to create a piece that looks at today’s tendency toward self-absorption and hedonism,” says Baumgarten. 

The other world premiere on the program, Anusim, what is hidden is never lost, is also a Baumgarten and Salterini collaboration. It is inspired by the 1497 decree in Portugal forcing all Jews to be baptized as “New Christians” but allowing them to practice their own religion in secret. It includes an original score from long-time collaborator Federico Bonacossa and vocals from local Sephardic singer Susana Behar. The piece will travel with the company immediately following this performance when DNM goes on tour to Portugal.

Dance NOW! Miami’s Season Finale Program III will be presented on June 19, at 8pm. Tickets are all reserved seating and are $40, and $25 for Miami Shores residents and $15 for students with IDs. Tickets for this event will only be available in socially distanced allotments, or two or four patrons seated together. Face coverings will be required inside the theater at all times. For tickets and more information, visit www.dancenowmiami.org.

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