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Dance Explores Nature of Homelessness

Alexey Taran's Tribe Deeply Rooted, Personal

Rebekah Lana Lengel

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Choreographer Alexey Taran’s inspiration for his latest dance/theater work, Tribe, is deeply rooted and very personal. Commissioned and presented by Miami-Dade County Auditorium for April 2 through 5, Tribe is an exploration of homelessness.

Born in Cuba and trained in ballet with Havana's National School of Art, Taran relocated to Venezuela in 1992. One night, he and his roommate and fellow dancer returned to their rooming house and found themselves locked out with nowhere to turn but the streets. “It's something that can happen to anybody,” Taren reflects somberly. “You can lose everything in a single day. It was very tough for us. When we had to sleep, we always took turns. It was very hard.” Taran’s story, thankfully, had a happy ending: after several months on the streets and living out of a car, he joined a dance company and was offered a place to live with a fellow company member.

When the Guggenheim Fellow relocated to Miami with partner and Bistoury Physical Theater co-founder Carla Forte in 2007, he noted a dual reality about his new home. “It wasn’t only the beautiful things: the beautiful beach, there beautiful face on the city, but there is another city too,” he says about his recognition of the homeless on Miami. “Sometimes it’s very frustrating, because you see these people sitting in front of the bank, or sleeping in front of very fancy stores. [In Tribe] we try to bring life to these people, because sometimes they are invisible.

Homelessness, he says, has no boundaries. “Having no home, no where to live, it doesn’t discriminate on race, gender identity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation. We are trying to make an homage to these people lives -- show they are human beings with feelings.”

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Tribe marks the first time Taran is stepping off the stage and wearing only the hats of choreographer and director, an opportunity he says is a welcome change. Featuring a cast of five, including partner Forte, dancers Liony Garcia and Rudi Goblen, and a guest musician, Tribe is a fully immersive performance experience. Audience members enter the theater to a video installation by Forte, herself an award winning filmmaker, as well as a musical installation by Gustavo Matamoros, both of which, paired with the performance, aim to heighten the awareness of what its like to live with no sanctuary.

Known for creating dance that is very physical, with bold, articulated movements, Taran crafted a precise movement vocabulary with Tribe that was both intense and specific. “We are basing a lot of movements on the gestures and images of homelessness,” he explains. “We’ve been investigating the way that they sleep, the way that they sit, gestures of people talking with themselves. We try to use all this physicality in our bodies. It’s very strong, the piece is very physical. “We explored a lot of gestures, trying to create a new language and emotion through movement.”

 Rebekah Lana Lengel is a writer/critic for www.artburstmiami.com.

Bistoury Physical Theater presents Tribe at the On.Stage Black Box Theater, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 West Flagler St., Miami; Thursday, April 2, Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4 4 at 9 p.m., Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m; tickets at door $20; 305-547-5414.
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