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Miami Art Museum After Hours
by Celeste Fraser Delgado Knight Arts, Miami, 19 August 2010.

MAM is out to dispel the myth that culture goes on hiatus during the summer in Miami. Tonight the museum will showcase experimental sound and movement with “Walking Spell” from Psychic Youth Inc. (a collaboration between dancer/choreographer Ana Mendez and sound sculptor Federico Nessi). Meanwhile dancer/choreographer Carlota Pradera will be weaving her way from a spooky installation by Amalia Caputo of Talking Head Transmitters into a serene sound installation by Gustavo Matamoros. Somewhere in there THT’s art radio team (Caputo along with Odalis Valdivieso and Eugenia Vargas) will be interviewing Pradera and fellow contemporary choreographer/dancers Heather Maloney and Priscilla Marrero. It won’t be light beach fare, but it should be exhilarating.

Carlota Pradera performs tonight at MAM. Knight Arts spoke to Pradera about her new work.

What motivated your new work?
I’ve been thinking and working with the violence in every human body that comes through psychological reactions we have had since we were kids.

Why violence?
I’m investigating my performance choices. Violence is so natural to me, as a dancer. I’m trying to question it and I’m trying to answer it. Where is it coming from? Is it because of my relationship with my dad, which was really hard and physically violent. Or is it just natural in me?

Violence is a part of human nature. I teach a lot and I see children who are disturbed and disconnected from other humans sometimes.

So what does that mean in terms of movement?
It’s a structured improvisation. It’s a work that travels from point A to B. I start in the THT installation room, which looks like a mental hospital. It has sound panels on the wall and I’m going to use them to rebound and commit acts of violence. Then I will move along a path through the audience to where Gustavo Matamoros has his installation. His installation is very calm and soothing. I’m going to be looking for the calmness and bring the calm back to my emotion and my mind. It’s a transformation.

New Work Miami After Hours takes place tonight, Thursday, August 19, from 6pm-9pm at the Miami Art Museum, 101 West Flagler Street, Miami, 33130; 305 375 1705; www.miamiartmuseum.org. Tickets cost $15 for non-members; $5 for members.
Heather Maloney’s Vertical Sprawl Packs Power
Knight Arts, by Celeste Fraser Delgado; May 24, 2010.

Sometimes it’s nice to see your surroundings through new eyes. Last Friday at Inkub8, I had the pleasure of sitting next to a Miami native who has been away from home for a while. When I met Krista Miranda last summer in Zagreb, Croatia at the Performance Studies International conference, she asked me if there was much of a contemporary dance scene in Miami. Heather Maloney’s Vertical Sprawl is the best answer I could give her. After the show, I was delighted to rediscover in Miranda’s reaction aspects of Maloney’s work I’ve come to take for granted.

Our guest marveled at Maloney’s movement vocabulary; the spiraling limbs that close in on themselves, then shoot into space; the stillness alternating with sudden bursts of activity. She was amazed by the dancers’ strength, and the unusual way Maloney calls on that strength in her partnering. Maloney, Joanne Barrett, Carlota Pradera, and John Beauregard took turns stroking each other on the floor and lifting each other overhead. The sequences between Pradera and Beauregard were particularly remarkable, as the duo traded places in Beauregard’s wheelchair and the male dancer made such powerful use of his arms and torso to push his partner and propel the lower part of his body that is was often hard to remember that he is paraplegic. Indeed, all of the dancers seemed to summon supernatural strength from their limbs.

Watching Maloney over the years, these marvels have developed little by little – a parallel development in a way to the sinister devolution of the planet on which her work comments. When changes are so gradual, it is sometimes easy to miss their power. But the consequences, for good or ill, will find you in the end.