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Issues to Do in Miami: Daniel Lewis Dance Sampler at New World College of the Arts


For many years, the Daniel Lewis Dance Sampler has opened the South Florida dance season with a various program of Miami dance firms hosted at Miami’s New World College of the Arts.

In 2020, the Sampler expanded to incorporate a digital program and it has additionally included performances at a number of venues.

Daniel Lewis, the founder and Dance Sampler namesake, has been a guiding pressure behind the rising occasion.

Previously an assistant director of dance and college member on the Julliard College, Lewis accepted the place of founding Dean of Dance on the New World College of the Arts in Miami in 1987.

When Lewis took on the brand new place, Miami’s dance scene was simply getting off the bottom.

Seeing a number of small firms struggling to fill halls, Lewis had the concept of presenting a number of firms in the identical program and mixing their audiences.

“I began the Sampler in 1989 primarily as an viewers improvement device,” says Lewis, “as a result of I used to be going to bounce performances for the native firms that had been solely 25 p.c full. My hope with the Sampler was that every one these totally different audiences would come to see their firm, and they want the opposite firms they noticed, after which they’d come out for them, too.”

Within the a long time since, not solely have lots of these small firms matured however so has the appreciation of dance within the area. Many South Florida firms get pleasure from well-attended performances and sometimes fill venues to capability.

click on to enlarge

Dance Now! Miami and the Limón Dance Firm in “The Waldstein Sonata”

Picture courtesy of Carlos Ochoa

Round 2010, Lewis was able to retire from his place at New World, and he was able to let go of the appreciable activity of grant writing and organizing behind the Dance Sampler’s success. He needed to show his consideration to arts training for youngsters by way of a nonprofit group he based, Miami Dance Futures.

“It’s costly to place this on. You possibly can’t generate profits doing this,” explains Lewis. The Sampler receives funding from Miami-Dade County in addition to the state of Florida, which permits dancers and corporations who take part within the occasion to be paid for his or her work. “Thank God for the state and the county who gave us the funding that we match with personal donations.”

Having fulfilled its authentic objective, the Sampler may have light. As an alternative, the occasion modified and grew.

Diego Salterini and Hannah Baumgarten — co-artistic administrators of Dance Now! Miami — breathed new life into the Sampler.

“The Sampler allowed us to mixture audiences,” says Salterini, “however, extra importantly, additionally cross-pollinate audiences. With the Sampler, somebody may go to see flamenco after which have an opportunity to see trendy dance as properly.”

Baumgarten provides that for audiences, it permits for the prospect to expertise a variety of performers.

“Many individuals are fairly certain what they’re going to see after they go to classical ballet or flamenco. However all of us have restricted time and restricted funds. The Sampler provides audiences an opportunity to go for one factor they know they’re going to like.”

With this mission, Salterini and Baumgarten have advanced the Dance Sampler’s preliminary mission past merely filling a venue to exposing audiences to new dance experiences.

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Ballet Flamenco La Rosa in “Señorita Julia,” that includes Eloy Aguilar (left), Nieves Diaz, and Nella Madarro

Picture courtesy of Jenny Abreu)

This yr’s Sampler incorporates a curated group of eight firms, from ballet to trendy, up to date to flamenco, together with Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Ballet Vero Seaside, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, Dance Now! Miami, Miami Motion Collective, New World Dance Ensemble, and a brand new addition — Zest Collective.

However the Dance Sampler additionally units the stage for South Florida choreographers, inventive administrators, and dancers to community with colleagues throughout group courses and rehearsals that lead as much as the occasion.

“Whereas it is a chance for the audiences, it is usually a chance for the performers,” says Salterini. “All of the dancers are taking courses collectively, and they’re all getting to fulfill and develop into acquainted typically for the primary time. It is among the most important moments for the group as a complete in the course of the season.”

And performers will get to move to the opposite aspect of the state for an extra efficiency.

This system opener occurs at its conventional East coast location on the New World College of the Arts in Miami, with a second efficiency the next week in Naples on the Artis–Naples Hayes Corridor. The venue escaped vital injury in the course of the current Hurricane Ian that devastated Southwest Florida. A web based Dance Sampler expertise, begun in the course of the pandemic due to live-performance restrictions, is constant, too. The web Sampler program on a digital platform consists of works particularly made for movie.

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Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, “Shostakovich-Suite” that includes Johnny Almeida and Ayami Sato

Picture courtesy of Patricia Laine

“We are attempting to increase outdoors of South Florida. Final yr we went to the Duncan Theatre in [Palm Beach], and now we’re going to Naples,” explains Baumgarten. “Diego and I care in regards to the product for the viewers, however we’re additionally group builders.”

Lewis says initially, he was not in favor of the touring performances.

“For me, I like the truth that now native firms are getting the prospect to be seen outdoors of the world, regardless that I used to be initially in opposition to it,” mentioned Lewis. “Going viral and streaming the Sampler on video opened it as much as folks all through Florida. And dance proper now on movie is huge everywhere in the world. All that grew out of the pandemic.”

He stays a devoted a part of the occasion.

“[Organizing the Sampler] is an act of affection, and I’m placing cash within the pockets of dancers and dance firms, and what else may you ask for on this world?” he says.

– Sean Erwin, ArtburstMiami.com

Daniel Lewis Dance Sampler. 8 p.m. Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22, at New World College of the Arts, 25 NE Second St., Eighth Flooring, Miami; 305-975-8489 and dancenowmiami.org. Tickets value $15 to $25.



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