By BROOKE HENDERSON
Special to South Florida Times
MIAMI —Thanks to a joint effort from the Miami-Dade County Public School System and the Department of Cultural Affairs of Miami-Dade County, high school and college students have productions from 90 different organizations to choose from as their first step into live art.
In the 2014-2015 season, Culture Shock Miami will present seven different disciplines of dance, music and theater, as well as spectacles of sight and sound at the South Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211th St. in Cutler Bay. This program, for arts lovers ages 13-22, is founded on the premise that immersing the youth in cultural experiences now refines the audience members of the future.
This year’s program started Oct. 11, with The Intergalactic Nemesis: Target Earth. That performance took the audience on a mad dash from Scotland to Tunis to the Robot Planet, all to save humanity from a sludge monster invasion.
Another one of a kind performance will make its way to the Main Stage on Jan. 23. With a little Irish luck, the Step Crew will weave an atmosphere straight from the Iron Age by combining three extraordinary styles of dance: Irish Step, traditional tap dancing, and Ottawa Valley step dancing. This act boasts three world-class fiddlers complete with a five piece Celtic band and vocalist.
Then, Culture Shock is going to Memphis — the Memphis Ballet. Guests will witness this groundbreaking, nationally sought- after company perform some of their annually produced original work on April 25. Classic ballet is revived and recharged as these dancers celebrate the human form. Made possible through the support of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ (NEFA) National Dance Project Presentation, performances will include Devil’s Fruit by Julia Adam, Party of the Year by Matthew Neenan, and In Dreams by Trey Mclntyre.
The music doesn’t stop there. On Nov. 15, Noche Flamenca will show South Florida just why it is Spain’s most successful touring company. Under the direction of Martín Santangelo, these dancers demonstrate the transcendent emotional power of flamenco with integrity. The complex art of flamenco dance is respected in each of its facets, and the audience will feel the consideration.
Shakespeare’s not dead — not when TheImprovised Shakespeare Company is still around. Feb. 14th will be a day to remember as actors create a totally improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right on the stage. Characters are born and slain each performance as these highly skilled actors weave never heard before dialogue into a story as the audience watches with baited breathe.
Precariousmaneuvers. Gravity defying displays of grace. Impossible contortions. The Peking Acrobats are for their pageantry and high energy but also their astonishing technicality and skill. These masters of agility and grace will redefine human possibility on Feb. 21, accompanied by traditional Chinese instruments and high-tech special effects.
The world of Mummenschanz is silent, allowing the ordinary to appear extraordinary. Objects with the help of light and shadow become a representation of the human condition in an amazingly sensory experience. The audience will be surprised into laughs and awed by the culturally transcendent visual spectacle. In one night, a multiple of stories will be told in a single one. At 3 p.m. on Feb. 28 and March 1, silence will become its own language.
The best tickets can be found through CultureShockMiami.com. All productions will be held at South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay. Admission is $5; in addition, two-for-$5 and free passes to cultural hotspots, landmarks, and museums are also available. These include The Wolfsonian, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Miami Children’s Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Bass Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art.