Point of View

January 28, 2010, 10:29 pm
Filed under: At the Center

Although February marks “Black History Month,” the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Of Miami-Dade County celebrates African American and international black artists and productions– – the best in theater, gospel, blues, jazz and soul, modern dance, world music, and percussion – throughout the season. Year after year, our South Florida community enjoys a year-round festivalof Black culture as we continuously honor the many valuable artistic contributions Black artists have gifted our society.

Our epic celebration spans the entire 2009-10: The Color Purple musical; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Buddy Guy; Julian, Stephen and Damian Marley; Sweet Honey In The Rock; Jon Hendricks and Angelique Kidjo.  We continue to host free community-focused events: the sold-out FREE Gospel Sundays showcasing CeCe Winans, Richard Smallwood and others; while Family Fest events bring talent such as the powerful Step Afrika!’s percussion and rhythmic dance to our stage.  Our February offerings are lush with an abundance of gifted Black performers from all disciplines including Ne-Yo, NAS and Goodie Mob, Al Jarreau, Ramsey Lewis, The Canton Spirituals, and the award-winning comedy Platanos and Collard Greens

Free Gospel Sundays

Since our opening, we have proudly hosted a wealth of world-recognized Black performers including Sonny Rollins, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diane Reeves, Bobby McFerrin, Irvin Mayfield, the Classical Theater of Harlem, Mavis Staples, and Mos Def.  Non U.S.-based, critically acclaimed Black talent also have graced our stages, including Gilberto Gil (Brazil), Peru Negro (Peru), Emeline Michel (Haiti) and Lura (Cape Verde), and the award-winning musical The Harder They Come (Jamaica).  Also, the Adrienne Arsht Center has presented locally based artists who represent the African diaspora, such as 21st Century Steel Pan Orchestra (Trinidad/Tobago) and Ife-Ile Afro-Cuban Dance Ensemble (Cuba).  

Angelique Kidjo

We are delighted to mark this important moment in U.S. history by celebrating Black History Month at the Adrienne Arsht Center this February and beyond, and will continue to applaud Black talent on our stage and in our community season after season.

Young Hopefuls Compete for the Chance to Become America’s Best Dancer
January 28, 2010, 10:20 pm
Filed under: At the Center

Ballerinas, krumpers, tappers, jazz and contemporary dancers lined the entrance to the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall by the hundreds last week. All thought they could dance, and most hoped they had a shot at the title of America’s best dancer on the 7th season of Fox’s award-winning show, “So You Think You Can Dance!”  For the second time in the show’s history, the Knight Concert Hall was the backdrop for three days of auditions and call backs that were open to dancers ages 18 – 30.  Performances ranged from funny to fabulous and were subject to critique by judges Nigel Lythgoe, Sonya Tayeh, and Jason Gilkison, who provided feedback to each dancer individually. 

Two years ago, auditions for Season 5 were held here in Miami, which proved to be a hot spot for dance talent.    Those  auditions produced a number of South Florida-based  favorites including winner Jeanine Amson, runner up Brandon Bryant, Janette Manrara (Top 8), and Vitolio Jeune (Top 14).  Furthermore, Season 6 saw native Miamians Jonathan “Legacy” Perez and Victor Smalley place in the Top 20. “We have always been very lucky in Miami, “  noted Jeff Thacker, Executive Producer for the show.“We are starting off Season 7 [auditions] in our lucky city!”

So once again,a diverse array of dancers came to the show’s “lucky city”  from all over the state of Florida and around the country and performed on the Adrienne Arsht Center stage for a chance to advance to the choreography round of competition or get “fast tracked” directly to the Las Vegas final auditions.  Dancers that make the Top 20 go on to compete in the weekly dance television program that includes learning new routines and trying to avoid elimination from the competition that airs on Fox.  Viewers call in and vote to save their favorites from the judge’s elimination.  At the end of the series, one dancer is voted America’s favorite dancer.  We’ll have to watch to see how Miami’s best dancers do in this Season’s action packed competition.

Best of the Best Audition for an All Star Band
January 28, 2010, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Education

On January 25 some of the best aspiring jazz musicians in Miami-Dade County Public Schools nervously awaited their turn to audition for the Jazz Roots Student All Stars, a new student band that will be featured  at a free concert at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater on February 12 at 7:30 PM.  Students from schools around the county showed up at South Miami Senior High for the blind auditions, a process where the players are assigned a number and recorded, so that the judges don’t know the identity ofthe person they are listening to .  This type of audition insures the selections are based completely on talent and artistry,of which there was no shortage ! 

The evening’s activities, which were proctored by Jennifer Jimenez, the President of Florida Band Master’s Association, and Jairo Ontiveros, the Project Coordinator here at the Adrienne Arsht Center, took students through the process of a formal audition, which included a warm up period and an individual recording session.  Students gathered together prior to their audition time slots and exchanged thoughts on how to play the assigned excerpts, sharing tips and information they brought from the band directors at their home schools.  The cooperative spirit seemed to calm the nervous energy and focus the students on the music and the artistry of playing the selections that were assigned for the audition.    

The Jazz Roots All Stars highlight the performance aspects of jazz programs in the county schools and the Jazz Roots education initiative.

January 28, 2010, 10:11 pm
Filed under: About the Center

The Adrienne Arsht Center strives to bring the very best in performing arts to the South Florida community.  The breadth of our programming reflects the diversity of our Miami community and  represents a dazzling array of  world class performing artists from all corners of the globe. We place great importance on programming that is relevant, accessible, and inviting for the widest possible audience living in and visiting South Florida

Supporting local performing arts  companies illustrates our view that “world class” and “local” are not mutually exclusive–some of the nation’s leading up-and-coming creative artists live and work in our own backyard! As we grow and mature as a cultural hub for our community, we have developed our programmingl with an eye topresenting on our stages the vast creativity and diversity reflective of the cultural mosaic that makes South Florida unique..

Since its inception, the Adrienne Arsht Center has proudly provided a global stage for three critically acclaimed resident companies—Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral AcademyOur partnerships with the The Cleveland Orchestra and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater strengthens as they further immerse themselves in our community through the Orchestra’s annual residency education programs and Ailey Camp Miami. Furthermore, the Center has developed deep relationships with many South Florida artists, helping them in the creation of new work through commissions, access to artistic advice from Center staff, and public presentations.

This year, we are working with some bright, homegrown talent and local organizations in these efforts including award-winning local choreographer Rosie Herrera, award-winning local playwright Michael McKeever, , Dranoff International Two Piano Foundation, City Theatre Summer Shorts Festival and the International Hispanic Theater Festival, one of the jewels of Miami’s theater scene. 

In April, Miami’s Mad Cat Theatre Company and the Adrienne Arsht Center will team up for a co-presentation of Paul Tei and Marco Ramirez’, Broadsword, to be performed in the Center’s   Carnival Studio Theater. After their initial 2009 workshop production was heralded by critics, and a second workshop further developed the work at the Kennedy Center; the Adrienne Arsht Center will take on the risk of presenting the latest incarnation of this home-grown theater piece,, resulting in a win-win for both organizations, the playwright, and the community.

The Adrienne Arsht Center’s Miami Made Program, which expanded from a commissioning program into a full festival in 2009, funds free workshops of works in progress, readings of unproduced plays, and discussions with artists and arts professionals.  Additionally, it serves as a showcase of world-premieres presented during the annual Here & Now program, a joint commissioning project with Miami Light Project dedicated to the professional development of South Florida-based artists. Here & Now annually subsidizes Miami’s most innovative, ground-breaking works, and marks the debuts of many promising local talents.

The Center’s new works range from the Center-produced Miami Libre, which featured dozens of South Florida’s spiciest musicians, singers and dancers, to the  current work-in-progress and collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Rock Odyssey, which will première at the Center in April to every 5th grader in the County– that’s over 2,400 kids! – for free. The Adrienne Arsht Center expands the boundaries of “world class” performing arts by nurturing and supporting artists, particularly those working and living in our own community. 

More than 355,000 people attended performances at the Center last season. This season we anticipate half a million patrons will walk through our doors, and it’s our job to make sure that the programming contains something special, exciting, representative and personally compelling for everyone in our diverse South Florida community.

January 28, 2010, 10:01 pm
Filed under: At the Center

60 international stars  galloped into town on that tropical  night for the Miami premiere of a breathtaking, innovative performance event.  And afterwards, they ate approximately 50 bales of hay, 120 pounds of grain, and several hundred carrots.  Glorious, elegant, and amazingly agile, the superstars of this enchanting performance are horses – 12 different breeds from around the world – performing in Cavalia, an internationally acclaimed show developed by one of the founding members of Cirque du Soleil.  Presented under the big white top tent in Bicentennial Park, Cavalia marks the Adrienne Arsht Center’s very first off-site presentation, underlining our commitment to provide world-class, diverse programming to the city of Miami and the South Florida community – both in our state-of-the-art theaters, and within the community at large.  The production has enchanted audiences across the globe, and the Miami premiere was no exception.  Astounding acrobatics, live music and brilliant special effects, and most especially the majestic and magnificent equine stars–all had audiences cheering with delight.  Cavalia truly is a magical experience for people of all ages, highlighting the special bond between horses and humans, and captivating onlookers with the power and grace of these stunning horses running free.  South Florida is sure to fall in love with the drama, the tenderness, and the sheer horse power of this astounding performance. 

Cavalia continues at the White Big Top in Bicentennial Park through February 7, 2010.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the Adrienne Arsht Center box office at (305) 949-6722 or online at www.arshtcenter.org.

January 28, 2010, 4:57 pm
Filed under: Green Room Society

Always known to bring the all-access experience to its members, the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Green Room Society (GRS) not only provides an exclusive look at the performing arts here at the Center but they’ve also been known to throw some of the hottest parties in Miami!  This particular event was no exception.  

On January 19, 2010, GRS members got to experience the much anticipated new restaurant STK at the Gansevoort Hotel on South Beach.  Over 400 of Miami’s VIPs dined on various menu selections of this non-traditional fusion steakhouse, including spicy Wagyu Beef Tartar and their famous Shrimp Rice Krispies.  Guests drank champagne til the wee hours while local DJ maven, Danny Daze, kept the crowd moving all night long.  Also on board that night was the event’s media sponsor, Ocean Drive magazine, which was celebrating its 17th Anniversary with GRS. 

The crowd at STK. Photo by David Muir.

“As much as GRS is about the performing arts, it’s nice to break away and get to experience something like this,” states GRS co-chair, Jimmy Vargas.   “We want our members to feel like they have a magic key to this city and if it’s giving our members access to the hottest Broadway performance or to the hottest new restaurant, GRS is in the middle of it all.” 

(L-R) GRS Committee Members Jimmy Vargas, Austin Cohen and Brian Ehrlich. Photo by David Muir.

Check out some of the night’s highlights here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenroomsociety/sets/72157623265261720/

To find out more on GRS and how you can join, call 786.468.2040 or email greenroom@arshtcenter.org.

January 14, 2010, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Board of Trustee

As one of the Adrienne Arsht Center’s founding donors, Ron Esserman is part of a family of donors who go the extra mile to keep the performing arts strong in this community. And when it comes to leaders in this community, his name is at the top of everyone’s list. Esserman energizes people, whether they are his own friends, his staff or an entire arts community. Ron Esserman is owner of Esserman International Acura-Kia-VW, Esserman Nissan – VW, and Largo Honda. He has more than 600 employees in his four dealerships and seven franchises. He is also an avid arts supporter.

Esserman is Chairman of the Performing Arts Center Foundation of Greater Miami (PACF) and has served on the board since its inception in 1990. The PACF Board raised more than $80 million in private sector funding to help build the performing arts center. Esserman was determined to make it happen: He was singlehandedly responsible for raising well over $10 million towards the Center’s capital campaign. Because of his efforts in engaging others in the community to support the project, the Center became a reality.

Esserman’s passion and love for the arts is evident, as he attends countless performances throughout the season and continues to give to the Center. Recently, Esserman donated a 2010 Volkswagen EOS convertible to the Center as part of the Arts Odyssey Gala. This generous donation has provided the Adrienne Arsht Center and its resident companies with a unique opportunity to raise additional funds, with proceeds from the drawing to be shared equally by all four participant organizations.

The Adrienne Arsht Center recognizes Ron Esserman and his extraordinary leadership. He cares about people and cares about Miami. Through his philanthropy in South Florida, he has played a significant role in making Miami a world-class city.

* Note: The EOS convertible is on display in the Adams Foundation Lobby at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House. The drawing has been extended to Valentine’s Day. For further information on how to enter the EOS drawing and support the arts, please visit http://www.arshtcenter.org/gala09/drawing.aspx.

%d bloggers like this: