Choreographer Spotlight: Ariel Rose
To Miami, With Love is a series of pop-up performances around Miami choreographed and performed by MCB company dancers. Each headlining work is site-specific, inspired by the surrounding environment and the unique cultural tapestry of the location.
On Sunday February 28 you can catch some of our extraordinary MCB dancers at the Arsht Center, featuring headline choreography by MCB dancer Ariel Rose.
Ariel Rose has been a member of the MCB corps de ballet since 2013. He has also been a choreographer since his student days. Ariel’s work has also been performed in Canada, Colombia, and Brazil. Most recently Ariel created a new work featuring Miami City Ballet dancers at the Broward Center’s “Men Who Dance” program.
In 2015, Ariel was selected to participate in the Resident Fellows choreographic program at The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, an international institute for scholars and artists of ballet and its related arts and sciences. In 2017, one of his works won the silver medal in choreography at the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition.
In the summer of 2017, two of his ballets were performed at the Joyce Theater in NYC and at Jacobs Pillow in Becket Massachusetts by Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami. He has also collaborated on a new ballet with the New World Symphony Fellows. including an upcoming premiere in the fall of 2021 which will feature and be inspired by music by Miami-based and Latin Grammy-nominated composer Jorge Mejia.
We spoke to Ariel briefly about Miami, his choreographic process, the music and his career highlights.
What does the city of Miami represent to you?
Ariel: To me, the city of Miami represents a focal point of cultural diffusion and exchange. A place where people don’t become “Miamians” like immigrants to New York City but are able to have their cultures continue and flourish unaffected or watered down. There is a pure connection here to so much of the rest of the world.
From Canadians to Argentinians, from Mexicans to Peruvians, Miami has them all living here with their cultural heritage very much intact. There is so much artistic opportunity in this city that has yet to be tapped, the potential is limitless.
Miami to me is truly the “epicentral gate” of the Americas. A gate that absorbs so much from those who pass through it going in both directions.
What ignites your choreographic process?
Ariel: Music is always first and foremost for me. It gives me the feeling and mental visions that then translate into movement. The actual look, meaning and theme of the pieces always come later in my process.
Tell us about the music your work is set to.
Ariel: Music is and has always been my own personal religion of sorts. It gives me visions, sensations, feelings I’ve never felt before. I think my calling feels like channeling all of that into something people can connect with emotionally and take into their own lives.
My music is by guitarist Paco Peña, it echoes southern Spain’s history, vibrance and cultural mix of western European and Islamic influences. I’ve wanted to do a Latin style piece for a long time to access another side to my choreographic versatility. I also wanted to challenge myself to adapt an established dance form and create my own take on it.
Listen to the music here.
How would you describe your choreographic style?
Ariel: I don’t have a singular style, I try to be as versatile as possible to not box myself in with a label or limit my creativity or possibilities.
Is this your first time choreographing a new work?
Ariel: No, this will be my sixteenth new work.
How has creating and staging a new work with social distancing limitations in the middle of a pandemic influenced your creative process?
Ariel: The pandemic has made things frustrating in relation to partnering and people being able to touch and be close to each other in order to learn movement. Often dancers are visual creatures and even through zoom, one has to work much harder to explain movement and intentions with words instead of being able to show the steps with one’s own body. Sure socially distanced dances are possible, but that often strips so much away from what dance is really about — human connection set to music. Dancers live and breathe for connection. Dance is our vehicle for that kind of feeling. Without it, we don’t feel as alive.
What has been your career highlight so far?
Ariel: Performing with Miami City Ballet at Lincoln Center. I was privileged to perform the brevity solo from Twyla Tharp’s Sweet Fields set to monk-chanting music in a single spotlight. It was a divine experience, to say the least.
See Ariel’s new work on Sunday February 28 at 4pm at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available on the Arsht Center website here.
Choreography by Ariel Rose
Danced by Itzkan Barbosa and Ariel Rose
Music by Paco Pena*
Photo credit: Ariel Rose and Iztkan Barbosa in rehearsals for To Miami, With Love (a series of short outdoor pop-up performances). Choreography by Ariel Rose. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev