Almost everything I know about dance is in this column. Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Nijinsky, Nureyev, Baryshnikov, Alexander Godunov, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Savion Glover, Hines, Hines and Dad, Gregory Hines, Martha Graham, Pina Bausch, George Balanchine, Joan Myers Brown, Alvin Ailey, Bob Fosse, Twyla Tharp, Katharine Dunham, Philadanco, MC Hammer, Paula Abdul, the Funky Broadway, the Swim, the Frug, the Twist, the Monkey, the Freddy, the Electric Slide, square dance, Riverdance, the polka, Calypso, Can-Can, Conga, Cumbia, Waltz, Watusi, Tango, Hokey Pokey, the Stroll, Bachata, Fandango, Rueda, Salsa, Samba, Flamenco, Macarena, Cupid Shuffle, Mississippi Slide, Boogaloo, Bon Odori, Hora, Charleston, Disco, Popping, Locking, Breaking, Foxtrot and Mambo.
There was a scene in Cinema Paradiso — arguably one of film’s greatest moments — during which all the kisses which were cut from the movies by the Catholic censors of the period are subsequently spliced together into a few extraordinary minutes. Can you remember That’s Entertainment? I wish I were a filmmaker; I would do more of the same with dance.
Today’s nostalgic lyrics are courtesy Gamble and Huff’s Intruder hit. I remember when I used to see you jumping rope, jumping rope, up and down, baby. American Bandstand. Dance Fever with Deney Terrio. Soul Train with Don Cornelius. Footloose. Dirty Dancing. Saturday Night Fever. Mad Hot Ballroom. Flashdance. Strictly Ballroom. Black Swan. Billy Elliot. Check out the Rueda de Casino from the Sabor Cubano Company in Santiago de Cuba on the Internet!
All this augurs two auspicious dance events on the Miami calendar during early November. The Ballet Nacional de España, Spain’s national flamenco wizards, perform from Nov. 6-9 at the Ziff Ballet Opera House. Three years ago, the BNE sold out here, so tickets are flying around like Alfonso Ribeiro’s feet in The Tap Dance Kid. This company is treated like a national cultural treasure by Spain and has the resources necessary to help it win awards globally. Imagine support for the Arts in the United States sponsored by a thoughtful, respected, intelligent government. Soft diplomacy – ballets, not bullets – exported worldwide. Brilliant idea.
Event number two is TU Dance at the great, somewhat smaller place with the horrible acronym I shall mention no more. The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, SMDCAC, which from now on, will be called the Cake – CAC – until someone comes up with something better. TU, founded and directed by St. Paul prodigy Toni Pierce-Sands and Miami husband Uri Sands — both cutting their teeth with Alvin Ailey — come south from the Twin Cities, famous for the Vikings, Prince and Garrison Keillor. Call it half of a homecoming.
TU will cut it on the main stage at the South-Dade Cake on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. and it should be another party down south. Should you enjoy, you can quickly enroll at New World where the Sands’ and TU will be in residency in late January.
Given human beings and our centuries of gamboling, skipping, leaping, cavorting, shaking, baking, wiggling and twirling, it’s easy to imagine that dance will always – forgive me – move us. Knowing Miami, with its limitless affection for beats, rhythm, ballet, hip-hop, salsa and tango, it’s easy to expect the Spanish National Ballet and TU to be exceptional.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org.