Here & Now is Miami Light Project’s signature program, where chosen artists the opportunity to create and develop new work by providing them with time, space and a budget. These three items are, oftentimes, the most difficult for creators to apprehend. In 2018, celebrating 20 years of Here & Now, four artists were chosen. The artists have free reign to create, and are encouraged to venture into untapped territory, to push the envelope, and to bring to fruition what their imagination and consciousness might visualize. At the premier performance in The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, their work ranged from creating multi-disciplinary “mini-worlds,” social commentary, a women’s role in performance and a movement inspired short story in a post apocalyptic environment.
The opening piece (after a little program confusion about the order of the show) was by Kat Hernandez. Her piece, “Illuminate” started slowly with each of the four dancers sitting with no movement in corners of the stage for, what seemed like, an eternity. They finally stood and walked towards the center. There, they had a subtle conversation, one by one. It may have been more interesting to have the audience entering the theater during this part and to notice what was happening rather than being placed there to watch and see. There seemed to be an internal understanding by the foursome alone.
Once the dancers started moving, the message of communication and a subtle vulnerability within each character was much clearer and accessible. Creating a post apocalyptic environment was almost unnecessary. Hernandez has a clean vocabulary and moves people smoothly in an easy on the eye manner. Identities became obvious and intimate connections were established throughout.
Adele Myers, in the second piece, carried a serious message of the plight of women with a little tongue-and-cheek humor. The extensive relationship between three female dancers (“Girls!Girls! Girls!”) and the audience was an entire theatrical show performed in a short amount of time with costume and personality changes, audience participation, voice and movement. Myers does what she says. Her dancers are specific and are not subtle. If something is big, it is very big and visa versa. Myers is very particular that in performance, people move for a reason and her work exemplified this. A kissing chorus made by the audience, the duck, duck, goose humorously done by a female cop, or the final solo leading to a silhouette of all three that was reminiscent of the “Mod Squad” provided a range of emotions and some laughs but, ultimately, gave a second glimpse at the challenging role that women play in our society.
“The Nothing” created and performed by Diana Lorenzo was visually stirring. A plethora of hanging, fluttering cloths (or silks), an aisle of ice amidst projected interviews and comments about death, the after life, and relationships with God provided an austere black and white setting for the angst ridden, sometimes harsh movement that Lorenzo delivered. She was both on the ground and in the air as an aerialist on the silks. The wonderful thing about aerial movement is that the fabric is lovely even as it stands alone. Lorenzo’s work was theatrical and dramatic with some of the most impactful and memorable comments made during the projections.
The final engaging work was created by Shamar Wayne Watt, and included his two brothers and his mother in “Gully Spring: Di Exhortation.” The program said, “this was an alternate revolution: a radical self-spiritual revolution that is opposed to, but not separate from a social and political one.”
Shadowed behind a curtain, Watt was in constant conversation. A boxing ring like stage contained the three characters: his mother, every mother, the basketball player and the hip hop artist. Struggle and fight were seen and heard in Watt’s banter. The constant beat of a tambourine against the rantings of Watt as he circled and circled a hanging microphone had a ceremonial quality to it. The air was thick with heat. Watt is a powerful mover. He is larger than life and his body reflected his words. Thick, powerful, intense. "Get on the boat, get on the boat" he raved before switching to switched to "get off the boat." There was too much gossip. Do something, make change. In Watt’s piece, using so little, he made big statements, had strong impact and emotions were charged.
Here & Now provides a great opportunity for artists to create, to be commissioned and to make their choreographic and social voices expansive and heard.
Find out more about Here & Now at http://www.miamilightproject.com/