Classic ballet meets classic mythology – Dance Talk with Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami on Greek Gods and Mortal Failings

Happy to be kicking off the 2019-2020 season of Dance Talks at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center this Saturday, Nov. 19th by talking about a pair of my adult and childhood obsessions. Ballet, with the lovely, lively Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, and Greek mythology, which I adored and read obsessively as a kid. (That was me at 8, trying to burn fruit in sacrifice to the gods, my parents not being able to come up with any livestock.)

The program, “Ballet Sculpture and Serenity,” features two dances inspired by Greek myth, and the all too human failings and passions of the ancient Greek gods. We’ll have a full roster, with choreographers Tara Lee and Ben Needham-Wood, University of Miami classics professor Han Tran, and Dimensions artistic directors Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra. It’s free and kicks off at 6:30pm in the Dance Rehearsal Studio (not in our usual spot, the Lab Theatre); it’ll also be streamed via Facebook Live on the SMDCAC Facebook page.

In Under the Olive Tree, dancemaker Tara Lee depicts Gods lured down from the heavens by their fascination with human life, only to find themselves propelled by desire, curiosity and other uncontrollable feelings. A hit at Dimensions 2016 debut performance, the piece returns for the first and, likely, last time.

Ben Needham-Wood’s Apollo & Daphne was inspired by his fascination with a famous Roman sculpture depicting the myth of the Sun God’s mad attraction to a beautiful nymph determined to remain independent. Both are driven by Cupid (Eros); and when Apollo pursues Daphne, her River God father transforms her into a laurel tree. This strange and, in many ways, disturbing tale reminds us how different the morality and world of the ancient Greeks was from our own. This will be the first public performance of Apollo & Daphne, with a live violinist and pianist playing the Arvo Pärt score.

Also on tap is Japanese-Brazilian choreographer Ivonice Satie’s Shogun, a male duet revealing the intense relationship between master and disciple. Shogun was an audience favorite for former Miami ballet troupe Maximum Dance, whose co-founder Yanis Pikieris has become a Dimensions supporter and collaborator.

His son Yanis-Eric Pikieris, a company dancer and fledgling choreographer, expands that Miami ballet connection in Genus, a piece for Dimensions inspired by spiritual identity and evolution. After Pikieris’s intriguing pas de deux If last season, and an exciting preview of Genus at the Lab Theater Series last March, I’m looking forward to seeing what this talented young artist will do in his first major ballet.

Gods, passion, spirituality and ballet. Come hear about it all at 6:30pm Saturday in the Dance Rehearsal Studio at the SMDCAC; or tap in via Facebook Live on our Facebook page. And please stay for our post-performance conversation in the Main Stage Theater immediately after the show. Who knows? The gods could be listening.


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