Dimensions Dance Intimate and Impactful Salon Series

Addressing Subjects of Equity and Inclusion Through Dance


"Touch Me" (Photo by Simon Soong)

Cameron Basden, Dance Writer

Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami's "lab" performances have most often been to workshop new choreography and explore new voices and movement in preparation for the larger theater.

In 2017, the series showcased new choreography by Miami City Ballet soloist, Arial Rose in “Esferas” a work that later into main stage performances. Resident choreographer and 2021 "Dance Miami Choreographers" prize awardee, Yanis Eric Pikieris, presented “Genus” in 2019 along with Randolph Ward presenting “What Makes a Man,” exploring male femininity and homophobia, featuring a duet between dancers Natanael Leal and Kevin Hernandez. The salon “lab series” has always been provocative.

DDTM is presenting thought-provoking new works in three performances at The Lab Center of The Moss Theater on Friday, March 3, Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5.

"It’s time. It’s been a couple of years now since the pandemic and we want to experiment a little bit -- it’s what our vision for this series initially was. Not everyone will be a perfect fit, but that’s OK. That’s the point," says DDTM Co-Artistic Director Jennifer Kronenberg.

The present Lab Series is taking audiences on a new journey. It's a journey that uses dance as a vehicle to not only showcase exquisite movement, but to challenge and provoke conversation, thought and even perhaps, life-altering choices.

“Yes,” Kronenberg says, ”this Lab Series is definitely about finding new choreographers and new voices and giving them a space to create work on the DDTM dancers, but the overall theme is equity and inclusion.”

Will Ervin Jr. (Photo by Nhyira K)


Will Ervin Jr. (Photo by Nhyira K)

Being awarded a Funding Arts Network “AWARE” grant, which is "A Work Addressing and Rethinking Equity" prompted Kronenburg and husband and Co-Artistic Director Carlos Guerra to contact NYC-based dancer/choreographer William Ervin. They had been waiting to work with him until the right project came along.

Young, queer, Black, New Jerseyian (as he describes himself), Ervin explains that it was through dance he could communicate and be understood for the first time.

As a quiet child, Ervin says, “Dance saved me. I could speak and not have to speak. It was the catalyst to communication skills that I didn’t have at the time.”

He loved to dance and had consistently been praised for his creativity and ability. As he matured, his voice and the way he could speak through dance became more developed and prevalent.

So the time was now for Ervin and DDTM to partner. Conversations commenced about the vision of a larger, impactful piece encompassing equity and inclusion.

“Our initial thought was that we could do something presentational, a performance piece,” Kronenberg says, “but that really went against the whole point of what we were trying to do - to have an impact. So how could we make it a deeper experience and affect more people?”

“How can we make a statement toward equity in the dance world as it reflects the regular world, life?” she asks out loud.


"Genus" by Yanis Eric Pikieris (Photo by Simon Soong)

Ervin had already started workshopping material for a piece called “Possible.” He wanted to rethink the music and the movement, but to Kronenburg, the inspiration behind the piece is what stood out to her.

“What would happen if we all allowed ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone and try new things? If we did that for ourselves, maybe we would see the possibilities out there and the different roads that we could take - not just the road that has been put in front of us.”

After a few months into the project, Ervin met musician, Albert Marques, who made an album called “Freedom First” in partnership with Keith LaMar. When Ervin became involved with an organization called “Justice for Keith LaMar” the focus of his new creation for DDTM took a turn.

LaMar is currently a death row inmate in the Ohio State Penitentiary.

Ervin says, “Two things clicked for me when I spoke with him. One, when you’re faced with a very finite time period, what do you do with the time that’s left? And two, that resonated even more, was that he had such joy. Joy comes from the inside and can’t be taken away.”

There is a huge, social justice element with the entire LaMar subject, but DDTM, was interested in a different aspect.

“The miraculous thing is,” Kronenberg says. “This man, who is on death row, has managed to completely re-invent himself, his entire life. He’s started two non-profits, he teaches, he has written a book of poems, he’s collaborated on a jazz album - and now he’s somewhat participating in this new work.”

The larger project became “Possible: Imagination is the Root of Change” and includes workshops, classes, discussions, and a performance. The performance piece alone is called “Possible.”


"What Makes a Man," Randolph Ward (Photo by Simon Soong)

Kronenberg says, “If you can carve out a way to live, and make yourself present and make yourself heard, and make yourself have an equitable life - no matter what the world has dictated for you, this was exactly what all of our discussions had been about.”

It has been only two weeks since the DDTM dancers started working with Ervin. It has been an interesting journey. The subject matter is heavy. Even though DDTM doesn’t get involved in the civil rights and socio-political issues that exist, there is still the weight of all the contradictory opinions that remain a peripheral presence in the rehearsal process.

The movement in “Possible” is also challenging. Ervin grew up doing street dance (popping, locking, vogue, house…) and started ballet and modern in college. His movement is an amalgamation of all these dance forms.

Yanis Eric Pikieris, a DDTM dancer and resident choreographer says, “It’s really different from what we’re used to and definitely suits some dancers better than others. But all the dancers are totally committed and giving their all.”

Kronenberg says that the dancers will definitely be impacted by the experience of undertaking this new movement.

Through “Possible,” Ervin says that he ultimately wants to open conversations.

“If just one person walks away from this performance with more empathy, more understanding, perhaps seeing things in a new light,” he says, “well, that’s what I hope.”

“At the end of the day,” she says. “We’re telling the story of a human being. How do you re-invent your life yourself and not depend on others to do it for you.”

Beatriz Garcia in rehearsal.


Beatriz Garcia in rehearsal.

Another new work on the program is by Cuban female choreographer, Beatriz García, called “En Camino.” The piece is inspired by the migration of bird swallows.

After extensive research on the journey each year of the swallow, Garcia found it truly amazing how the journey of the swallow parallels human immigration, and the search for something more, something better. The abstract work is a comment on resilience, determination, and adaptation. Garcia has based her choreography on three questions: Where did I come from? Who am I now? and Where am I going? She highlights the importance of never forgetting where you came from and your cultural identity.

The work speaks to inclusivity, acceptance, and embracing diversity while moving ahead to what the future holds in store.

The performances are opening with Gerald Arpino’s iconic solo, “Touch Me” to gospel music of Reverend James Cleveland and The Charles Fold Singers.

Kronenberg says, “I think ‘Touch Me’ sets the stage, sets the ambiance. It’s so established. When Arpino did “Touch Me,” it was different from everything else - and he wasn’t afraid. I think that’s what this whole conversation is. Let’s not be afraid. Let’s not put ourselves in a little box.”

Dimensions Dance Salon Program, The Moss Center, 10950 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, Saturday, March 4 and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5. $40, $60*, $10 student tickets available. Call (786) 573-5300 or go to

*$60 Saturday show only /Reception following performance.

Also, Contemporary Masterclass taught by William Ervin at The Moss Center Dance Studio from 11 a,m. to 12:30 p.m., Sunday, March 5. Dancers 18 and up, Intermediate to Advanced. RSVP required on The Moss Center website.

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