Stompin’ Around

Everybody, everywhere’s got rhythm. African juba. Irish jig. American tap. African-American step. Indian Kathak. Argentine malambo. Gumboot, chancleta, Spanish flamenco, Cuban flamenco, trash percussion (think STOMP). From all the varied, colorful corners of our endearing and often baffling human society, rhythm dances emerge, catch on like wildfire and become a common language amongst us. Tribes... Continue Reading →

Confessions of a Costumer

The performing arts are big business. In this industry, we have a lot of super important jobs for people who love the theater but who may have no interest in performing. This week, we sat down with Straz Center costumer Camille McClellan, who costumes dance and musical theater productions for the Patel Conservatory, to find... Continue Reading →

Tools of the Trade: Dance

We’ve realized Straz fans love knowing what goes on outside of the spotlights, so we’re running a short series called Tools of the Trade, listing some cool and maybe-unheard-of tools for life in the performing arts. This week’s spotlight is on dance. Rosin Box Slippery dance shoes? Slick flooring? No problem, thanks to this useful... Continue Reading →

Ashe! Ashe!

The Florida African Dance Festival in Tallahassee Celebrates 21 Years June 7-9 “Ashe,” pronounced ah-SHAY, similar to “sashay,” and also spelled “ase,” is the Yoruba word for a West African spiritual concept of the life-force energy. Everything has ashe. Everything has the power to transmit and communicate ashe—and two very powerful forms of working with... Continue Reading →

Pardon My French

On the neck of the foot? The bite of the donkey? The French codified ballet under King Louis XIV by defining the five basic positions of the feet and setting a catalog of positions related to the “turn-out” of the legs in the hip sockets (i.e., the legs rotate out of the hips instead of... Continue Reading →

Alicia Alonso: La Reina de Todo

Ella es la reina del baile. La reina de musica. La reina … de todo. Ask Cubans “who is Alicia Alonso?“ and you will hear this short, comprehensive explanation: she is the queen of dance. The queen of music. The queen … of everything. Alonso, born in Havana in 1920, possessed a gift for dance... Continue Reading →

Onward, Cavaliers

NGB’s Sugar Plum Fairies Get Sweet Partners in NYCB Principal Amar Ramasar and MCB Principal Renan Cerdeiro The word is out about the big ballet stars appearing in Next Generation Ballet’s Nutcracker, which features the George Balanchine grand pas de deux and New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns and former Miami City Ballet principal... Continue Reading →

EXCLUSIVE: Retired Miami City Ballet Principal Ballerina-Turned-Teacher Patricia Delgado Talks Sugar Plum Fairy and Dancing in Nutcracker at The Straz

Lauded principal ballerina Patricia Delgado retired from Miami City Ballet this year after an extraordinary career with the company that began when she was 16 years old. An exquisite technician and breathtaking artist, Delgado gave soul to MCB, and arrived at The Straz last summer as a guest artist (along with Balanchine great Edward Villella)... Continue Reading →

The Wild Style of Japanese Hip-Hop

About ten years after the birth of hip-hop in the Bronx, the art form found its way to Japan when young Japanese artists encountered the music and saw breakdancing in New York, taking what they saw back to Japan. In 1983, the film Wild Style, a seminal hip-hop documentary capturing the four pillars of the... Continue Reading →

… Five, Six, Seven, Eight …

Understanding the summer dance intensive Dance training often begins as early as three years old with a training year of classes mimicking the school schedule. In June, recitals signal the culmination of study and show off the hard-won skills in a public dance performance. But then what? Cue the summer dance intensive, an integral part... Continue Reading →

Manual Transmission

Dance lineage is a big deal. A very big deal. So, when Next Generation Ballet got a descendant of Jerome Robbins, who was guided by George Balanchine, who was instructed by Marius Petipa, the Straz Center leapt for joy. Philip Neal, the artistic director for Next Generation Ballet, came to us from New York City... Continue Reading →

Practice Makes Perfect

Inside Next Generation Ballet’s Nutcracker rehearsal Dance rehearsal smells like feet and moist leotards. There’s nothing elegant about it. When the dancers work hard, improvising corrections on-the-fly from choreographers and ballet mistresses, there is a locker-room funk suspended in the air from sweat-dampened dance clothes, breath and many bodies moving in one studio classroom. So... Continue Reading →

Leotard, Check. Make-Up Kit, Check. Valve Oil? Check.

The Patel Conservatory Gears Up for Another School Year There’s no such thing as summer break for the faculty and staff of the Straz Center’s Patel Conservatory. We spend the summer months steeped in a camps, classes, workshops, performances and pre-professional productions like this year’s impressive mounting of an almost full-scale Les Miserables. So, we... Continue Reading →

Okay, Ladies, Now Let’s Get in Formation

Ballet conjures images of tutus, tights, impossible-looking turns on tips of toes and gravity-defying mid-air leaps. If you’ve never taken a ballet class or had a little ballet beginner, then you may not realize those tricky combinations of flicks, kicks, twists, tippy-toe steps, glides, bends and hops emerge from a seriously old set of schematics... Continue Reading →

Paper + Glue + Satin = Athletic Equipment

You Can Tell A Lot About A Woman By Her Shoes Ballet, with its emphasis on gracefulness, classical music and tutus, is subject to a bevy of cultural misunderstandings, one of the most glaring is the conception that ballerinas are fragile dancing fairies, or Queen Faeries, depending upon the role. Not so. Just take a... Continue Reading →

Barefoot Dancers, Reaching, Emoting

The Relevé of Contemporary Dance … but what is it? The meteoric rise of the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance created a new generation of dance fans, young and old alike, bringing a surge of attention to the many genres of the art form. Ballet, recognizable. Hip-hop, easy to spot. Ballroom... Continue Reading →

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