June 2015, Volume 19, Number 3

Cultural Spotlight


Blending Poetry and Dance

The grace of Indian dance and rhythms of Afro-Caribbean poetry recently united when The Center for Writing and Literature at MDC collaborated with Ranjana Warier for a creative endeavor celebrating Miami’s ever-changing, diverse cultural makeup.

An internationally acclaimed Indian dancer and choreographer, Warier is the winner of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge, which funds ideas that bring South Florida together through the arts. Warier, who serves as artistic director of Rhythms School of Dance, a training center for Indian performing arts in Fort Lauderdale, worked with Adrian Castro to create the work titled Indian Dance/Afro-Caribbean Poetics: A New American Performance Collaboration. Castro is a poet, performer and interdisciplinary artist who was born in Miami and is of Caribbean heritage.

Multiple Platforms for Art

The Center facilitated all aspects of this “only in South Florida” project, including two live performances showcasing the intricacies of ancient Indian art forms while exploring themes found in the work of a poet whose artistic focus is rooted in Afro-Caribbean culture.

The Center also produced a website to enhance understanding of the project, including the cultures and artistic choices of the artists, how two different cultural expressions found commonalities, and how South Florida, home to people from all over the world, can serve as an example of coexistence and an America where all can live together in harmony.

During a conversation with students from New World School of the Arts at MDC, the creative process was explored, shedding light on how artistic choices were worked out between the dancer and poet. The project, which began in February, culminated in the late spring with performances in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties in a joyful celebration of National Poetry Month.

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