The “Daniel Lewis Dance Sampler” makes its annual appearance to showcase the breadth of quality professional dance in South Florida and to provide audience members a "sample" of the many choices of performances to come during the Miami dance season.
Uniting eight organizations of the dance community on a single stage, the presentations hosted by the New World School of the Arts Dance Theater on Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22 highlight established pillars of the dance community and introduce audiences to new, and perhaps, yet undiscovered voices of exciting, multi-genre dance.
The "Sampler" as it is familiarly known, is produced by Miami Dance Futures and the Florida Dance Education Organization. It is the unofficial welcome to the dance season in South Florida.
“This is the first party of the dance season,” proclaims Diego Salterini, co-director of Dance NOW! Miami (DNM). “It’s truly become a staple of the dance community. In the 'Sampler,' we are seeing all of the dance organizations together and saying ‘this is our community.’
This year’s participating organizations are Dance NOW! Miami, New World Dance Ensemble (who provide the theater), Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami, Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Arts Ballet Theater of Florida and Ballet Vero Beach. New additions this year are Zest Collective under the direction of Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Gentry Isaiah George and Miami Movement Collective founded by Brooke Logan-Valdez, Enrique Villacreses, Maya Billig and Rafael Ruiz-Del-Vizo.
New World Dance Ensemble led by Dean Mary Lisa Burns will present “Junun,” a dance and film created by award-winning contemporary choreographer Darshan Singh Bhuller. Arts Ballet Theater offers classic dance in “Shostakovich Suites” (excerpts) choreographed by ABTF Artistic Director, Vladimir Issaev. Beautiful and dynamic flamenco dance will be presented by Ballet Flamenco La Rosa in the Farruca excerpt from “Señorita Julia,” a flamenco ballet inspired by August Strindberg's “Miss Julie.”
Traveling south to join is Ballet Vero Beach, directed and founded by Adam Schnell, presenting “Divertissement Nostalgique” created by resident choreographer, Camilo A. Rodriguez. Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami under the direction of Co-Founders and Directors, Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra, present the elegant, jewel of neo-classical choreography by Helen Simoneau,“Smallest Orbit.”
The newest additions to the "Sampler" and new to the Miami dance community are Miami Movement Collective presenting “Rinne Tensei” choreographed by founding member Enrique Villacreses and “Rie Y Llora” presented by Zest Collective and choreographed by Director Gentry Isaiah George.
Salterini says, “It is absolutely imperative that we welcome new dancers and companies to the community - and celebrate new voices. The Sampler' is a great way to give them a platform.”
To culminate the performance, Dance NOW! Miami presents excerpts from the magnificent “The Waldstien Sonata” choreographed by dance icon, José Limón, and completed by Dr. Daniel Lewis. The Beethoven Piano Sonata will be played live by NWSA provost, Jeffrey Hodgson.
Dance companies are eager to participate in the "Sampler." Not only do they reach new audiences, but there is the opportunity to unite with other dance companies, to network with new people and to share the stage in rehearsal and classwork. With each organization wearing multiple hats and often working in an isolated world, this is an unprecedented opportunity.
Lewis, founding Dean of Dance of New World School of the Arts, and for whom the "Sampler" is named says, “We do try and alternate participants, not use every one every year. We’ve gotten some apologies in the past - organizations who have felt so bad that scheduling didn’t allow for their participation - they really wish they could.”
As a testament to the desire of audiences to see more dance and to the quality of south Florida dance and dancers, this year the "Sampler" performance will travel to Naples to perform at Artis–Naples on Sunday, Oct. 23. Especially after the devastation of Ian, beautiful dance will be a welcome positive energy.
Hannah Baumgarten, Co-Director of DNM says, “What we learned last year at the Duncan Theater (due to scheduling conflicts, they couldn’t return to the Palm Beach space this year) and is being proven even more strongly this year is that people in South Florida want to know what is going on in the dance community, what is being created, produced. Florida is recognizing the level and multitude of talent that is homegrown and world-class. Naples presents some of the most well-known dance organizations in the country - and they’re presenting us!”
Lewis concurs. “Dancers are staying in Miami. There is opportunity and more and more dancers are staying. It also speaks so well to Miami and the State (of Florida) that the arts are funded.”
A plus will be the “Sampler Video Dance Showcase.” After the many virtual dance presentations seen during the pandemic, dance on screen is now holding its own platform. Starting Oct. 14, as a predecessor to the live "Sampler" performances, the “Sampler Video Dance Showcase” will focus on the best of Florida's dance for the screen. The screen dance is free, and will be presenting choreographers and organizations who are not performing in the live performances.
Originally founded in 1987 by Lewis, as the “Miami Dance Sampler,” the intention was to introduce audiences to new genres of dance that might not be on their radar. Lewis would attend multiple performances with only half-full audiences. He believed that with the "Sampler" audiences would not only see companies that they knew, but would see companies that they didn’t know. Audiences would grow. And they did. The performances continued for 11 years until 1998 when Lewis’ responsibilities as Dean took priority.
The "Sampler" was inactive until 2011 when it was revived by Baumgarten and Salterini as the “Daniel Lewis Dance Sampler.” This year marks its 12th season after its reopening under the auspices of Dance Now! Miami, Miami Dance Futures, the New World School of the Arts and the Florida Dance Educator’s Organization.
It continues to introduce audiences to new forms of dance.
The12th Annual Florida Daniel Lewis Dance Sampler, New World School of the Arts, 25 NE 2nd Street, 8th floor, Miami, FL, 33132
Performances are Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8 p.m. $25 general admission, $15 students. Info and tickets at www.dancenowmiami.org/events/dlds.
Naples performance: Artis–Naples Hayes Hall, 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd, Naples, FL 34108 Sunday, October 23 at 7 p.m., $29-$59
Tickets can be purchased in advance online at www.artisnaples.org/events/12th-annual-daniel-lewis-dance-sampler, in-person during box office hours or by phone at (239) 597-1900. Information at www.dancenowmiami.org, (305) 975-8489 or email@example.com