The two shows Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami present this month feature elements that are already starting to define the ardent year-old Miami troupe: partnerships with local dance artists, pas de deux, Latino character, and live music.
Given that DDTM’s founders and directors are married couple and longtime partners Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, who’ve co-authored a book on partnering, it’s not surprising that Sunday’s show at the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University is Pointe of Pas de Deux: A Dance Dialogue.
“We look at pas de deux from classical to contemporary,” says Kronenberg. “We look at the differences, how styles have changed, the challenges of partnering.”
She and Guerra will perform Transparente, a sweeping portrait of an emotionally fraught couple that was a hit with the audience at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center last July. Also on the program is Space Between Words, by Palm Beach choreographer Donna Murray, with challenging partnering for a man and woman trying to keep their connection alive, and Esferas, a striking trio for two men and a woman, from Miami City Ballet dancer and budding choreographer Ariel Rose.
“They’re all about relationships on some human level,” says Kronenberg. “Even Esferas – in parts of it you end up connecting with people not necessarily when you want to, and how do you deal with that.”
Kronenberg is particularly enthusiastic about their program at the South Miami-Dade Center, where DDTM is now a resident company, on Nov. 18th, with a set of ballets she thinks are particularly suited for her young, eager 16-member troupe.
“When you see a ballet and immediately can envision your dancers doing it, that is exciting,” she says. “I would have wanted to dance each of the ballets.”
Joyful group pieces open and close the evening. Bliss is by Jerry Opdenacker, who choreographed for Ballet Florida, a fine Palm Beach company that closed in 2009 and his own O Dance. The finale, Light Rain, is one of the most popular dances Gerald Arpino made while leading the Joffrey Ballet; an often erotic, acrobatic dance that was the troupe’s signature piece in the 80’s and 90’s and is set to an East-West fusion score. Dimensions learned the piece from Camaron Basden, who worked closely with Arpino for years as ballerina, co-artistic director and ballet mistress at the Joffrey, and now lives in Miami, frequently working with leading Miami modern troupe Dance Now!
Kronenberg says Light Rain was a challenge for her classically trained company.
“It’s a lot more contemporary – there’s a lot of fluidity in the upper body,” she says. “There’s this almost tribal feel, especially in group sections.”
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/79831863″>NYC Ballet Intensive Summer Performance 2013 – Light Rain, Choreography by Gerald Arpino – Joffrey Ballet School</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/joffreyballetschool”>Joffrey Ballet School</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
In between are two duets showcasing the troupe’s Latino side, a natural outgrowth of the Cuban-born Guerra’s connections and the Miami community. Kronenberg and Guerra will dance Piazzolla x 6, by Cuban choreographer Tania Vergara, founder of Endedans Cuban Contemporary Ballet in Camaguey – and a teacher of Guerra’s in Cuba. Two young Cubans, Josue Brito and Mayrel Martinez, will perform an excerpt from Una danza Para Ti, by Venezuelan Vicente Nebrada, that country’s best-known ballet choreographer – set by Yanis Pikieris, who co-directs the foundation overseeing Nebrada’s work and whose South Dade studio has been the home for DDTM. (Para Ti will also be on the Miniaci program.)
Both pieces will feature live music, another Dimensions trademark: tango group Anibal Berraute Quartet will play the Piazzolla and Karl Moraski, Miami City Ballet’s original pianist, plays for the Nebrada.
(Both shows have an educational component. Former MCB dancer Michael Sean Breeden will narrate the pas de deux showcase, while Opdenacker and Basden will do a pre-show talk at the SMDCAC.)
Amidst the excitement, Kronenberg says she, Guerra and their dancers are starting to feel more secure about their company. “We try to take it one step at a time,” she says. “And far so good.”
If you go:
Dimensions Dance Theatre in The Pointe of Pas de Deux: A Dance Dialogue at 2 p.m. Sunday Nov. 12th at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University. $17 to $36 at dimensionsdancemia.com/performances