Point of View


Few cities can offer—in an entire year—the depth and breadth of performances on our stages this month alone. Allowing us to accomplish this is the Center’s brilliantly conceived collection of halls and stages, all designed to bring out the best in everything from the most complex productions to the simplest and most intimate solos.

The John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall is a sonic wonder. Its miraculous acoustical design gives it unparalleled flexibility. There’s no better place to hear large-scale orchestras and choirs—the experience is grand, impressive, overwhelming. Yet in that same hall you can also detect every nuance a solo artist might articulate—be they a classical pianist, jazz trumpeter, world-famous comedian or pop superstar.  The Carnival Studio Theater—with just over 200 seats—gives audiences a unique perspective—up close and personal. You can’t miss a beat when the performer is just inches from your seat. Our Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House is the envy of cities everywhere. It’s enormous, state-of-the-art stage, incomparable sightlines, and compact horse-shoe design makes it an ideal showcase for the grandest opera, dance, and musical theater performances.

February at the Center has been a veritable festival of programming: a Jazz Roots celebration of Miles Davis , the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie playing Beethoven and Brahms, the Tony Award-winning actress Melba Moore in Crowns, Spain’s magnificent Ballet Nacional de España, the witty banter of NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,”and much more. Finally, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater visit to Miami this week is all the more special as it celebrates not only the 50th anniversary of the ever-surprising Revelations, but also Judith Jamison’s final season as the iconic leader of one of America’s true cultural treasures.

This is just a taste of the brilliant 5th Anniversary Season we have planned for you, and I look forward to seeing your smiling faces.


It’s two turntables and a microphone.  It’s lyrics to go.  It’s straight outta Compton, Queensbridge, and Miami!   It’s hip hop – one of America’s greatest cultural expressions, and it’s alive and well at the Adrienne Arsht Center like never before.  Last week a dozen young dancers took the best of hip hop from the streets of Philly to the stage in Miami, performing as part of acclaimed choreographer Rennie Harris’ second company, RHAW: Rennie Harris Awe-Inspiring Works.

In celebration of this thrilling young troupe’s Miami debut, the Center threw an old school block party, filling the Thomson Plaza for the Arts with DJs, MCs, and Miami’s finest b-boys who threw down in a breakdance battle par excellence.  As the official RHAW after party, the B-Boy Battle featured DJ Griot from 99 Jamz, DJ Brimstone/127, Ground Zero Crew, the Flipside Kings, and of course the RHAW dancers who couldn’t help but join in the freestyle jam session.  Even Dr. Rennie Harris himself was moved by the spirit of Kool Herc and took to the dance floor to show the youngsters how it is done.  Long live hip hop, one of America’s greatest art forms!


February 2011 marks a milestone month for dance at the Center.  The Center expects to see more than 22,000 South Floridians leap through our doors for diverse and dynamic dance programs, making the Adrienne Arsht Center one of the premier venues for dance in the country.  Earlier this month Peru Negro and Eva Ayllon had Miamians dancing in the aisles; Miami City Ballet enchanted with a mixed bill featuring masterworks by Balanchine, Taylor and Tharp;  last week Rennie Harris’ young hip hop troupe, RHAW, made their Miami debut; and next week Flamenco Festival returns for the fourth consecutive season with Spain’s leading ambassadors of flamenco, Ballet Nacional de España.

This weekend, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater soars into town for what has become a beloved Miami tradition – the company’s annual performance residency at the Center showcasing the world’s greatest dancers and one of the most inspiring dance masterpieces, Revelations.  This season, Ailey celebrates 50 years of Revelations, honoring a dance that has travelled across continents, touching audience members from Brooklyn to South Africa.  Artistic Director Judith Jamison, now in the final year of her incredible 25-year tenure at the helm of the company, makes her last stop in Miami this season, passing the torch to Liberty City native Robert Battle.  With Miami’s native son posed to step into perhaps the most prominent dance leadership position in the country, now more than ever dance in Miami is exploding onto the local and national scene.

Come dance with us!

February 17, 2011, 9:01 pm
Filed under: Adrienne Arsht, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Immerse yourself in flamenco!

In addition to the long-awaited return to Miami of Ballet Nacional de España, Flamenco Festival Miami 2011 features the 6th annual Festival of Flamenco Song, making its Flamenco Festival debut with a multitude of interactive educational workshops and the highly anticipated Café Cantante performances, which just added a third show due to unprecedented demand for tickets.

This year’s Flamenco Festival kicks off with a variety of education and outreach activities welcoming the community to learn about unique flamenco traditions. In a lecture titled “A Half-Century of Flamenco, 1960-2010,” writer and journalist Estela Zatania will speak about the evolution of the flamenco art form and present a film titled Duende y Misterio del Flameco, directed by Edgar Neville.

There is also a chance to learn cante from Gabriel de la Tomasa. He is quickly gaining recognition for his dedication to preserving the traditional songs he has learned from his father, singer Jose de la Tomasa, and for the passion with which he interprets the cante jondo, the deepest and most difficult of the flamenco styles. Macarena de Jerez, a dancer and singer who excels at the bulerias style of flamenco, which comes from her home town of Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), gives everyone an opportunity to learn a traditional bulerias dance. Also, Siempre Flamenco’s musical director, Paco Fonta, will teach participants an “Introduction to Flamenco Guitar.”

In the Carnival Studio Theater, Café Cantante will feature living legend Luis Vargas along with rising stars Macarena de Jerez and Gabriel de la Tomasa, accompanied by authentic flamenco dance performed by the Siempre Flamenco Company.  Deep emotions that emanate from flamenco song unite with the intricate fury of dance in a unique performance that will exhilarate audiences with an up-close experience.

Once again, Flamenco Festival Miami makes the Adrienne Arsht Center the best place—outside the motherland—to see the best music and dance of Spain.

For more information on educational event times and locations, click here.


More than 52,000 students have already been inspired! The performing arts entertain, educate, enlighten—and when they’re really good—they inspire. They inspire us to think, to learn, to imagine, to dream. That’s why the Adrienne Arsht Center and Miami-Dade County Public Schools have partnered with the common goal of making the performing arts as accessible to as many Miami-Dade County students as possible through high-quality programs that feature live theatrical experiences and active learning in the performing arts.

INSPIRE. It’s the message on the new 72-feet high by 60-feet wide banners that have recently been installed on the sides of the Miami-Dade County Public School Administration Building across the street from the Center on NE 14th St and 2nd Ave.  They are larger-than-life reminders of how rewarding and vital to our community this unique partnership between arts presenter and educators can be. Already the benefits have been felt far and wide, in schools throughout the county, by families throughout South Florida. Thousands of students have participated in in-school classes, interactive workshops and demonstrations, intense arts-training programs such as AileyCamp Miami, and behind-the-scenes activities.

Perhaps most visible of these has been the Learning Through the Arts program. Hundreds of yellow school busses from every district in the County have brought class after class of 5th graders to the Center to see a free live performance of Rock Odyssey, a new musical retelling of Homer’s epic adventure. More than 52,000 students have already had the opportunity to attend last spring and fall, and another 26,000 are expected once the next school year begins. Following the extraordinary success of Rock Odyssey, the Center hopes to produce more new works and, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Schools, expand Learning Through the Arts over the next five years with the goal of ultimately reaching 100% of the County’s fifth, seventh, and ninth graders. This expansion would eventually provide arts adventures for more than 75,000 young people every year. It will enrich their studies and enhance their exposure to the arts. Most of all, it will inspire them to fulfill their potential as they make their journey from student to adulthood.



From time to time, I get the opportunity to welcome local celebrities on stage or at an event, but every now and then a biggie comes along. A few weeks ago my promotions staff told me I might get to do something with  Whoopi Goldberg on stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami!

I thought, how cool is this? But what would I ask? What would I say? I loved her in “Star Trek” and The Color Purple and Ghost and come on, every one watches “The View!”

The day comes. I’m waiting at the back stage entrance. I call my contact person and she and another woman greet me, then I’m given my credentials. I’m thinking, OK cool. I get to wear a back stage pass. Then I’m walking down the hall and there she is in all her Whoopiness, posing for pictures! The two women push me up front and center and said, “Whoopi, this is Susan Wise.  She will be your moderator for the Q & A part of the show.” Moderator…what does that mean? She shakes my clammy hand and we turn for a picture. Then I get whisked away to my dressing room. Dressing room? I came already dressed…Why do I need a dressing room. That’s for big stars, I’m just a DJ.

And there it is: a big beautiful golden door with my name shining brightly on the front. SUSAN WISE. (Okay it was a normal door and my name was scribbled on a piece of paper and taped on the door, but so was Whoopi’s, and she was right next door….how about that?!) I’m next door to the famous Whoopi Goldberg!

I walk in and scope out the room; a nice couch, fully lighted mirror just like you see in the movies, a bathroom and shower. And a monitor of the stage so I can see what’s happening until time for me to go on. Two stage directors come in, Whoopi’s PR guy and the 2 women who greeted me in the beginning. They start going over my instructions and want to escort me to the backstage area, so I’ll know where I’m going ahead of time. So we do a rehearsal of my “walk to the backstage.” This was getting more over the top by the moment. Are you sure it wasn’t my name in lights out front of the Adrienne Arsht Center? I wasn’t nervous before, but all the hoopla over little ole me was crazy. (But secretly I was loving it!)

Afterwards, I watched the show from my dressing room and then 50 minutes into the performance, the stage director comes to my dressing room. “Susan …it’s time.” Oh lord, it’s time…time to faint. My hands are shaking; that hasn’t happened in years. I walk to the backstage area where I can see Whoopi doing her thing in front of a full house. My dad and Howard are out there somewhere. God, I hope I don’t trip. What if I freeze? Naw…I’m a DJ…I can do this!

Whoopi calls me on stage. I walk out and introduce myself and perch on a stool center stage next to our star. I inform the audience of what we are going to do with the Q & A. Then, I spent the next 37 minutes guiding Whoopi Goldberg—who is answering questions, being funny, clever, political and sometimes naughty—from the best seat in the house. What a fabulous night!

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