In Greek mythology, Icarus sought to touch the sun with the help of waxen wings constructed by his father.
Dance Now! Miami will feature choreographer Gerald Arpino’s retelling of the archetypical tale in its closing program, May 11 – 13 in Lake Worth, Fort Lauderdale and Aventura.
“The Relativity of Icarus” is an athletic male duet from 1974 that uses the story to express the tortured relationship between sons and fathers, with homoerotic overtones that were controversial for its time. It was reconstructed and restaged by Cameron Basden, a former Joffrey Ballet dancer and repetiteur for the Arpino Foundation. The piece, powerful and rarely seen, will be presented with the original score by Gerhard Samuel.
“It hadn’t been done anywhere for 30 to 40 years,” explained Dance Now! co-artistic director Diego Salterini. “It was at risk of being forgotten. It’s important to keep the history of dance alive.”
Salterini, who founded the company in 2000 with Hannah Baumgarten, noted there was very little surviving documentation, poor videotapes of performances and only one living dancer who originally performed the work.
“There is a sense of urgency,” he noted.
Salterini’s original work “Tribe” will also be repeated on the program.
“It’s a piece of contemporary dance without a real narrative, but a concept: there are moments when you are in rut, not sure where to go, and then a community sees you and helps you shed the boundaries that you impose on yourself,” said Salterini.
While audiences may infer additional meanings from the dance, he added, “On the surface, it’s about finding that place where you belong – that can sustain you when you are weak or seeking a path to follow. I imagined the piece coming out of COVID, when we were all returning to society and figuring out ways to connect with others.”
The program concludes with “Gli Altri” (“The Others”), choreographed by Salterini and Baumgarten. This conceptual work marries filmmaker Federico Fellini’s cinematic imagery with confessional storytelling to create unique symbolism, Salterini said.
A gender fluid cast of characters create a magical safe space on stage where life, death, joy, despair, love and loss are entwined in the work's non-linear narrative. The performance features music based on the iconic sounds of Nino Rota (“The Godfather”), reimagined by long-time Dance Now! composer Davidson Jaconello.
“Hannah and I are always traveling together, in airports,” Salterini described. “We were always surrounded by very interesting people and we would imagine their stories, their motivations … it invites people to look twice at the strangers they encounter.”
Salterini and Baumgarten will take the work to Italy this summer for its European premiere, a collaboration with Opus Ballet in Florence.
Dance Now! Miami presents Program III on May 11 at the Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth; May 12 at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale; and May 13 at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center in Aventura. Tickets are $50 and $20 student tickets are also available. For more information, go to DanceNowMiami.org.