Afua Hall: "The Games We Play"

MIAMI – Afua Hall, a Miami Herald ’20 Under 40 Artist’, curates The Games We Play, a multicultural evening of dance for the Little Haiti Cultural Center’s Discover Art! Family Festival on Friday, July 29, 2011.

The title of the evening, ‘The Games We Play,’ references the multiple entendres associated with “games” as well as the practice of covering/sampling classic works, such as Reggae Artist Bob Andy’s interpretation of Joe South’s 1969 classic song, "The Games People Play."

The evening of dance performance offers a diversity of style, content and form – many of the choreographers are exploring new territory between traditional and contemporary dance styles from West African, Afro-Caribbean, Flamenco, Tap, Contemporary/Modern and Ballet. Needless to say, there is something for everyone on the program.

This free performance features contemporary and traditional choreography by South Florida based Choreographer/Dancers Sandra L. Portal-Andreu, Asha Darbeau, Anasthasia Grand-Pierre, Ronderrick Mitchell, Afua Hall, Annie Hollingsworth/Mayami Folklorico, Petagay Letren, Ana Miranda, Megan Swick and Natasha Williams. Also on the bill are Oakland, California’s Jacinta Vlach and Millicent M. Johnnie, formerly of NYC’s Urban Bush Women, whose choreography will be performed by Miami’s treasured dancer Stephanie Bastos, whose “robust strength and passionate expression” was lauded by the NYC Village Voice. Jacinta Vlach, will be dancing her solo 'The Quetzal in Flight' which addresses the culture liabilities incurred when Latin American immigrant women seek a path into North American idealism.

Annie Hollingsworth, one of The New Times’ 100 Creatives, will be presenting a work in progress titled Red Eyes (Je Wouj) choreographed in collaboration with Ann Mazzocca for her newly formed Mayami Folklorico. The company was formed earlier this year as a creative experiment in contemporary folklore, representing, through dance, the multiple traditions within Miami's cultural environment.

Petagay Letren, founder of Harambee Inc., offers an untitled West African and Contemporary Modern Dance study exploring the common denominator between the two techniques. Ms. Letren stopped off in Miami en route to Trinidad & Tobago where she will be taking a teaching position at the University of the West Indies teaching Dance History and Composition. Asha Darbeau, known to many as the Rasta Ballerina, who had the pleasure of being Ms. Letrens’ Rehearsal Director, will also be sharing her own solo improvisation.

New Mom & Choreographer/Videographer, Megan Swick will be premiering her Dance/Video La Danse Du Ventre that is a meditative ritual in anticipation of motherhood. Ms. Swick is known for fusing Belly Dance with Contemporary Dance Forms with her dance company Binti Ensemble.

Recent New World School of the Arts BFA graduates Ronderrick Mitchell and Anastasia Grand Pierre will both be performing their own respective solos. Mitchell will be exploring the spiritual warfare incurred while being African-American, Gay, and Christian. Ms. Grand Pierre’s solo is a reflection on her itinerant childhood as a Haitian-American daughter of Navy Parents.

Representing South Florida’s emerging talent, Natasha Williams of the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet will be presenting the newly formed youth Tap Team as they pay tribute to the great tap dancers of our time by doing an excerpt of Leon Collins’ Class Part 53 and Leonard Reed & Willie Bryant’s Shim Sham Shimmy.

Complementing the program is Sandra L. Portal Andreu, a choreographer and teacher on faculty in the NWSA Theater Department. Ms. Andreu’s solo “Ojos Que No Ven” was inspired by the Pasiego people of Northern Spain. A Spanish influence also colors the work of Ana Miranda, who melds Flamenco with contemporary dance forms. Her piece is an exploration of resilience, inspired by the survival of New Orleans.

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