Adele Myers is in the second year of a two-year residency at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. Already well established in the Northeast, no stranger to touring nationally with her all female ensemble, and jumping head on into spearheading or initiating projects, she has become a mainstay voice in dance, performance art, and theater in the Miami circuit.
Her hallmarks are of physical and robust choreography with a touch of theatrics and humor, among other dynamics.
On Friday, Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 12, Adele Myers and Dancers will be presented in an evening of three repertory works at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center inside its intimate Lab Theater. One of the pieces, choreographed by Myers, features the Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company (SCDC).
A preview in the September performances titled “The Pink Parade” and inspired from personal experience will be the opening section from the full evening work, T.W.I.S.T. (These Women in Space and Time) which will be shown in the spring.
Myers says, “I was interested in the exploration of how, as women, we move through the world in relation to time and space. How do we navigate it? How do we fill it? How do we show up for one another?”
She was making huge arm gestures when we spoke in an effort to map out the space, her hands never still.
“There’s a lot of empowerment and disempowerment in the arts because we’re always being so polite. We give away our space and time so much. Over COVID,” she continues, “the louder theme became about female solidarity in a beautiful, fragrant way.”
Inspired by the Women’s March in Miami, getting off the metro mover and seeing a sea of pink "pussy hats" worn by men, women, multi-generations, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial people, Myers contemplated "how do we carry this solidarity, this feeling, home?"
“When you feel so deflated and have no energy left, to keep pushing against a current, how do you call upon that battery, that energy, to help you re-inflate, to proceed.”
It was a challenging time to create throughout the quarantine. Dancers would often join Zoom meetings being exhausted or carrying something that was a real obstacle that day, she confides. Myers adapted the philosophy of "wherever you are, dance from there with whatever you’re bringing into the space. Don’t force what you don’t have. Let whatever that obstacle is actually choreograph you today.”
Through this process, and taking a new approach, Myers took a look at herself, knowing she couldn’t create work the way she wanted to. She decided to sit back, not worry or stress and to allow the pandemic, that everyone was in such a panic about, to help her in the process of choreography.
She was not interested in creating work through zoom. Her work is completely based on a physical chemistry, so she had to find a productive and creative way to inspire and to innovate the dancers.
She said to them, "We know what we can’t do. But what we can do is yet to be invented." With open minds and open hearts, the rehearsals started with conversation and research. She would give prompts, expectations, and directions and a few weeks later, she would receive emails from her dancers with their findings. In gathering, again by zoom, and watching vimeos, the group would discuss the movement and unique individual discoveries and eventually choreography started to take shape. This became the jumping off point for choreography once the dancers were able to safely gather in a rehearsal room.
There were some wonderful discoveries made out of necessity.
“Sometimes working with what you have around you, inspires something else - in lights, in space.” Myers says.
The second piece on the program is a duet called “Is That All There Is?” created and initially performed by Myers herself with another dancer. The duet has been performed in many cities on tour and was the catalyst that put AMD on the map. It includes much audience interaction and tugs at your heart strings.
Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company is joining AMD to present ‘Victory Dance” choreographed by Myers.
“The premise in “Victory Dance” is about the sweet and sour experience of winning,”Myers says. “You work so hard, and then you win, and then you’re alone.”
While the piece had been performed before, Myers spent the past summer working with the dancers in SCDC to re-explore and to re-choreograph certain elements. The dancers in SCDC have worked with Myers before and understand her demands and expectations.
“Subtlety is not my forté,” laughed Myers. “I really like athleticism. I like bold physicality with the subtlety being the theatricality. So I would say, “Victory Dance” and“Is That All There Is?” are more dance-theater with a touch of humor, and interestingly, “The Pink Parade” is pure movement.”
Myers company dancers are a dynamite mixture of ‘athletes of the heart’ who Myers has worked with. They are Alondra Balbuena, Kayla Castellon, Maria Burt, Loren Davidson, Kashia Kancey, Cristina Moya-Palacios and Danielle Davis acting as dancer and rehearsal assistant.
Costumes for “The Pink Parade” are created by Miami fashion designer, Pangea Kali Virga. Myers was very particular that the costume design was a collaboration with designer and dancer. Virga worked closely to bring an aesthetic theatricality unique to each performer.
YoungArts alumnus and Miami Native Aeon De La Cruz has created a score that is also in total collaboration with the dancers. Lighting designs by Kathy Couch, who flies in regularly from Massachusetts, is an invaluable collaborator and provides another eye in the choreographic process.
Myers says she has reaped benefits that go beyond having rehearsal space and performance commissions. She and SMDCAC director, Eric Fliss have met monthly, especially during the quarantine months, to have deep and personal conversations about working together, staying in touch, each offering their different perspectives and developing an artist/presenter relationship that has impacted and enhanced the development of the choreography.
Often wearing numerous hats in her collaborations, Myers additionally has initiated a program called Miami Dance Makers that is running concurrently with the September AMD performances. In a desire to fill a need in the dance community, this innovative project provides time, space, collaboration and thoughtful feedback to dance makers, the first group of which are students from New World School of the Arts. The project is developing the next generation of dance makers.
“We are doing all we can in college, and it still isn’t enough time.” Myers says. “It’s a six month project, but eventually, I’d like to push it to be a full year bridge. There are a lot of things happening I see and we just need more time.”
Myers got very philosophical for a moment and said, “What we do is so hard already. I think turning obstacles into possibilities and letting obstacles and challenges ignite innovative thinking. Well, that’s where I take it.”
She continued, “I think, in this performance, the audience will leave with their hearts being touched, their eyes being filled with dynamic physicality and design, some laughter and poignant punches and maybe some chills —the good kind."
Adele Myers and Dancers
Sept 10, 11, 8:30pm. Sept 12, 3:30pm
South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center,10950 SW 211 St. Cutler Bay, FL. 33189
Box Office: (786) 573-5300
Miami Dance Makers
For information about performances and showings visit: www.adelemyersanddancers.com/community-engagement