The 28th annual International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) showcased the best dancers from acclaimed dance companies over 23 days beginning its first performance on Friday, Aug. 4.
The festival concludes this weekend, with a free contemporary dance on Friday at Brickell City Center and two gala events, Grand Classical Gala on Saturday evening and Festival Gala of the Stars on Sunday afternoon.
Both gala events take place at Miami Dade County Auditorium and will feature selected classical dances to be performed from eleven classical dance companies from Brazil, Bulgaria, Columbia, Italy, Japan and American dance companies from South Florida, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington (DC).
Dancers from Arts Ballet of Florida, Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami and Dimension Dance Theatre of Miami are the local dance companies to be featured at both gala events.
“Thus far, the 28th
IBFM festival has been successful in both well attended events and praise by
the audiences for the stellar performances of the dancers,” says Eriberto Jimenez,
Artistic Director of the IBFM Festival. Jimenez, a former
dancer and choreographer, became artistic director following the death of Pedro
Pablo Pena, who founded the IBFM in 1996.
At this year's festival, Jimenez added community events including a dance program at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, two outdoor performances on Euclid Circle in the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in Miami Beach, a dance marathon at the North Beach band shell in Miami Beach, an exhibit of paintings highlighting dances and dancers at the Miami Hispanic Cultural Center, a film series on dance and book readings on the subject of dance, in addition to multiple workshops for aspiring students of dance, taught by the lead dancers from the eleven companies performing at the festival.
“Promoting what dance is so crucial to the understanding of the beauty of the expression by dancers. It is so important to inspire audiences not only by the numerous dance performances, but also by authors and filmmakers, who are all important in enhancing the art of dance," says Jimenez. "The concept of community is to communicate the beauty of dance by instruction, performance and interaction. It is creative to have so many dancers, artists and authors inspired by dance to interact and learn from each other.”
In addition to the events at Miami-Dade County Auditorium and Euclid Circle in Miami Beach, dancers also performed at the Dennis C. Moss Cultural Center in Cutler Bay, Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores, Lehman Theater on the north campus of Miami Dade College and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale.
Another highlight of the festival will be the presentation of the “A Life for Dance Award” for lifetime achievement in dance to Vladimir Isaaev, for his work as a choreographer, founder and artistic director of Arts Ballet of Florida in North Miami Beach at the gala event on Saturday, Aug. 12.
“It is truly a deep honor to receive this award and to be respected by so many of my peers,” says Isaaev. “This will be a year that I will never forget for all the honors and achievements for Arts Ballet of Florida.” This year Isaaev is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Arts Ballet of Florida. He was also honored last June by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava, who presented Isaaev with a proclamation which designated June 11, 2023 as “Vladimir Isaaev Day” in Miami-Dade County.
“Through vision, hard work and determination, Vladimir Isaaev has left an indelible mark on the vibrant arts scene in South Florida. He (Isaaev) has dedicated over 60 years to sharing his talents and expertise with aspiring dancers. His stellar career serves as an outstanding showcase of unparalleled dedication and unmatched contributions to the world of ballet,” said Levine Cava on June 11 at the proclamation ceremony that took place at the Julian Littman Theater in North Miami Beach.
Past recipients of the “A Life of Dance” award include artistic director Alberto Alonso of the National Ballet of Cuba, choreographer and dancer Roland Petit from France and American ballet star Edward Villela, founder of Miami City Ballet.
Four dance companies from Bulgaria, Columbia, France and Italy made their debuts performing at the IBFM festival.
“The Varna State Opera Ballet from Bulgaria is unique through its roots in both ballet and opera. Choreographers Galina and Stefan Yordanov developed the acclaimed reputation of the company for 25 years from 1960 through 1985,” noted Jimenez.
The Bulgarian dance company will include scenes from the classical ballets Cinderella”, Don Quixote” and “Sleeping Beauty” among other classical ballets at the gala events this weekend.
The Columbian Contemporary Dance Company showcased its thirteen dancers for the first time at the festival. The Columbian dancers featured their contemporary dances, such as “Barrio-Ballet,” “Carmina Burana” and “Maria” at the contemporary dance programs at the festival. The three contemporary dance programs also included companies from Dominican Republic, France, Switzerland and the United States.
The Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, known for creating a Hispanic flair to a Russian style of ballet, had workshops and classes for inspiring dancers at the festival.
In the “IBFM Grand Finale” of two programs on Saturday, Aug. 12 and Sunday, Aug. 13, principal dancers representing each of the eleven dance companies will perform different classical ballet programs in both programs taking place at Miami-Dade County Auditorium.
The remaining three performances at the 28th International Ballet Festival of Miami are as follows: IBFM Contemporary Dancers (Program II), featuring the four dance companies from Bulgaria, Columbia, France and Italy will be performing at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11 at Brickell City Center, Garden Deck, 701 S. Miami Ave., in Miami. Admission is free.
IBFM Classical Dance will feature two gala events at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler Street in Miami, involving all the featured dance companies in a program titled “Grand Classical Gala Performance” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. Tickets range from $35-65.
The program titled “IBFM Closing Gala Finale” is at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $35-65.
For tickets and more information on the events of the International Ballet Festival of Miami, call 786-747-1877 or go to www.internationalballetfestival.org.