Miami Beach Dance Festival Celebrates 2nd Season with Stellar Companies

Miami – Miami Beach Dance Festival opens its second vibrant season with a dynamic range of six dance companies hand selected by the Festival’s Founders and Producers: Delma Iles, Hannah Baumgarten, and Diego Salterini on March 24th through April 2, 2006.

The producers’ programming philosophy has been to feature both the established “unstoppable” troupes, as well as the emerging dance companies – many based in the creative area of Miami and Miami Beach. Another major aim is to present national and international guest artists.

This year, from Los Angeles, the Festival introduces the major debut of the renowned Lula Washington Dance Theatre; widely considered one of the finest African American dance companies in the world — now in their 25th season.

The Lula Washington Dance Theatre – Lula Washington (Co-Founder/Artistic Director) of the Lula Washington Dance Theatre. She uses choreography to explore social issues from an Afro-centric and humanistic perspectives. Her works have focused on female circumcision in African societies, homelessness, gang violence, drug dealing, the 9/11 tragedy, and police brutality.

For the Miami Beach Dance Festival the Lula Washington Dance Theatre will present to our audiences a piece called Those Who Live And Die For Us>. This work was inspired by the soldiers fighting in the Iraqi war. It neither supports nor condemns the war, but, instead celebrates the stamina, training, commitment and dedication that our soldiers have for their country.

Most recently, Lula Washington and her daughter, Tamica have choreographed a work entitled Thanks And Praises. Appropriate for Women’s History month, this work explores how mother’s and daughters pass the baton of life’s experiences from one generation of African American women nurture the next generation of African American women. Lula Washington, the oldest of eight children, Lula grew up in the Nickerson Gardens Housing Projects in Watts. She enrolled in Harbor Junior College where she fell in love with modern dance after a teacher took her to see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Lula switched her major from nursing to dance and applied to the UCLA dance program. She was denied admission because teachers at UCLA felt it was too late for Lula to START dance training at her point in life. She was 22, married, and a young mother. But Lula appealed her rejection and was admitted to UCLA. She went on to earn a Masters degree in dance from UCLA; and to become one of the most successful graduates of the UCLA Dance Program. Lula now heads one of the most acclaimed dance companies and schools in California.

Lula won the inaugural Minerva Award, given by California First Lady Maria Shriver for women who make a significant contribution to families. She has also won the “Educator of the Year Award from the American Association of Dance on Film”; the “Woman of the Year Award” from the California State Legislature; the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Professional Artists In Schools Association” and scores of other accolades. Lula danced in the Academy Awards and the films “Funny Lady” and “Sgt. Pepper”. She choreographed the “Little Mermaid Movie” and scores of dance works which have earned her a reputation as an artist with a unique choreographic voice. Her dance company has performed at major theaters around the United States, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Dance Descriptions for Miami Beach Dance Festivals

“Thanks and Praises”
Choreographed By: Tamica Washington-Miller

This uplifting jazz piece, choreographed by Tamica Washington-Miller, is a work of art replete with lifts, spins, floor work, and high energy dancing. Tamica is associate director of the dance company, and Lula’s daughter. This is her first work for the dance company to be included in touring repertory.

“I’ve Known Rivers”
Choreographed By: Donald McKayle

Choreographed by Donald McKayle, this dynamic solo is set to Langston Hughes poem, “The Negro Speaks of River.” The soloist uses fluid movements, beautiful leg extensions, and staccato jazz foot work, to illustrate the depth, maturity, and presence of African-American Culture all over the world. The piece truly conveys African-Americans as a permanent fixture within the earth—much like a river. The work will be performed in Miami by Ramon Thielen, a former principal dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem. Ramon has been dancing with Lula Washington Dance Theatre for the last year, since DTH’s company suspended operations.

“For Those Who Live and Die For Us”
Choreographed By: Lula Washington

A heartfelt tribute to those fighting for our country, this thought-provoking piece uses energetic floor work coupled with synchronized athletic movements, to highlight the stamina, strength, agility, dedication and commitment needed to serve as soldiers. The piece does not take a side either way on the war in Iraq, but, instead, salutes the willingness to serve and the physical prowess to survive in an unglamorous, deathly war.

“Women In The Streets”
Choreographed By: Lula Washington

Four women who have suffered abuse, rejection and defeat in life, band together to give each other renewed strength and hope. Together, they rise again and approach life anew with a new positive attitude.

Excerpts From: “The Movement”
Choreographed By: Lula Washington

“The Movement,” takes audience members on a captivating journey through the Civil Rights Movement of the nineteen-sixties. The suite incorporates modern dance, tap dancing, and monologues to focus on Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Corretta Scott King.

The Byron Carlyle Theater, is located at 500- 71st Street, Miami Beach. For information and ticketing call 305-858-7002 or visit them online at

Exit mobile version