Choreographer Spotlight: Harrison Monaco
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 at 4pm you can catch some of our extraordinary MCB dancers at the Arsht Center, featuring headline choreography by MCB dancer Harrison Monaco.
Harrison Monaco joined Miami City Ballet as a corps de ballet dancer in 2017. We spoke to Harrison briefly about what inspires him to create and the challenges of creating during a pandemic.
What inspires you to create?
Harrison: For this particular process, the pandemic really has been a source of inspiration. In the beginning, we all weren’t sure what would happen to the art form if we weren’t able to perform. We tried to brainstorm what we could do to help, and a few of us volunteered to choreograph. I am so glad that this idea has evolved into these pop-up performances, where we are able to give back to the community, despite these circumstances!
Tell us about the music your work is set to.
Harrison: Music plays a huge part in my choreographic process. At the beginning of this project, I had asked a friend to connect me with some local Miami musicians, and immediately loved the music that I heard by PALO!
Is this your first time choreographing a new work?
Harrison: No, I had the opportunity to choreograph for a charity benefit called “Shut Up and Dance” several times when I was a member of Pennsylvania Ballet. I also have choreographed contemporary works for students to perform at the Youth American Grand Prix.
How has creating and staging a new work with social distancing limitations in the middle of a pandemic influenced your creative process?
Harrison: It has been an interesting challenge. My dancers have been very generous in donating their time to help put this piece together, even during our busy outdoor run of The Nutcracker. I started out by coming up with some steps on my own, recording them on my iPhone, and then translating them into group movement when I had all of my dancers together.
See Harrisons’ 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 Harrison Monaco
Danced by Adrienne Carter, Julia Cinquemani, Madison McDonough and Helen Ruiz
Music by PALO!*
*Lengua Larga gopalo.com Written by Leslie Cartaya & Steve Roitstein
Photo credit: MCB dancers Adrienne Carter, Julia Cinquemani, Madison McDonagh, Helen Ruiz in rehearsal for Lengua Larga. Choreography by Harrison Monaco. Photo by Adam Trautenberg.