Choreographer Spotlight: Ariel Rose
As part of MCB’s To Florida, With Love pop-up series, Ariel Rose has created not one but two dynamic new works.
We caught up with Ariel, who shares the inspiration for România, a pas de deux featuring dancers Samantha Hope Galler and Cameron Catazaro with music by Balanescu Quartet’s “The Young Conscript and the Moon,” led by noted Românian composer and violinist Alexander Balanescu.
What was the inspiration for România?
I was inspired by the history of Jewish people in România, culminating in severe antisemitism, violence, displacement, and suffering throughout the Middle Ages to the 1940s. România was one of the many lands in which the Jewish people settled after the fall of the Roman Empire. Yet, they suffered discrimination, cultural assumptions, and violence throughout history. This work is a testament to the resilience of the Românian Jewish people and their harrowing journey in those lands.
What are the differences between dancer and choreographer?
I think a dancer is like a paintbrush with a brain that has choices to make on the line and the style of their brushstroke. At the same time, the choreographer is the painter and architect who organizes the actual direction and number of brushstrokes to create structure, composition, and meaning.
The series is called To Florida, With Love. How does your home inspire your choreography? Were there specific locations/communities, people, or cultures you had in mind when you created these works?
Miami is a cultural hub. Therefore, the art depicted within it should reflect the stories of those different cultures. Cultures that others may know but may not know any of their stories. Diversity is lovely; we need to be diverse in terms of equity and opportunity and the stories we tell. In today’s day and age, everyone watches the internet for about 40% of their day (and many get their history lessons from social media and memes). We need to tell stories depicting or representing actual events that different peoples have gone through. When we look back at history and observe man’s mistakes, reactions, survival tactics, and cultural achievements, we find things we can connect and relate to that give us purpose and drive.
We gain from this is a long-lasting form of growth compared to what we “gain” in today’s world from our experiences with the ever-influential forces that media, social media, and modern-day conditioning have evolved into.
What do you hope the audience experiences when they watch your piece?
While my piece is not a direct story with a plot, it seeks to represent a married couple in a historical situation in a specific period, in a particular country. It is my hope (and always my hope) that people will want to research or read up on this period in Românian history or any history.
I feel like there is so much noise today, on the internet, on tv, on our phones, that we are so bombarded by modern trends, luxury lifestyles, and cat videos that we can spend our whole day learning absolutely nothing while being entertained. And I think that can lead to some frightening consequences down the road. I believe that as humans, we connect the most wholeheartedly by telling and listening to stories. When those stories resonate (even if it is just a particular feeling or emotion), or reveal to us how we got to this moment, why people see us a certain way, or what someone’s ancestor had to go through, and more importantly HOW they got through it, I think our eyes and minds get that much broader.
My grandmother always said, seeking, questioning, and knowledge must be a never-ending journey.
Catch Ariel’s and several other new works created by Miami City Ballet dancers, coming soon to Ft. Lauderdale’s African American Research Library and Cultural Center, Morikami Japanese Museum and Garden, and the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.
Click below for more information on dates and locations.
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Photo Satoki Habuchi and Anna Grunewald rehearsing Meiyo No Tame. Choreography by Ariel Rose. Photo courtesy of Ariel Rose.