MIAMI (CBSMiami) – From classic ballet, to live theater performances as you’ve never seen, South Florida’s performing arts industry is never short on creativity when it comes to connecting to their audiences.

Here is a preview of a few of the ever-expanding entertainment options.

In February Miami City Ballet premiered Firebird, choreographed by George Balanchine’s and Jerome Robbins, to sold out audiences.

With theaters now still closed due to the pandemic, the company is bringing the ballet straight into your home debuting a new series called Friday Night Features beginning this Friday, May 29, for free to everyone on their Facebook page.

The iconic Russian fairytale, set to Stravinsky’s spellbinding score, is a triumph for the company. It has  never been seen outside New York City since its premiere in 1949. It’s a visual delight with stunning new sets and costumes. Lourdes Lopez is MCB’s Artistic Director.

“What’s wonderful about Firebird is it’s really one of the important works from the 20th century in terms of the ballet world,” said Lopez. “It’s an important work that’s steeped in tremendous dance history.”

The gorgeous production also marks the promotion of Nathalia Arja to principal dancer with her portrayal of the mythical Firebird.

The impact of the pandemic is fueling new ways to connect with the audience on digital platforms, which includes new behind the scenes material with the dancers like Nathalia.

“She shares what she was doing, her interpretation, things that might have been going on in her mind at a certain time during a certain step,” said Lopez.

“If we hadn’t had this issue with the pandemic with COVID-19, we might not have come up with this idea really kind of opening our doors further letting our audience in to truly see what goes on behind closed doors. I think it’s an exciting adventure that we’re on,” said Lopez.

They call these live theater segments Long Distance Affair, a co-production between Miami’s Juggerknot Theatre Company  and  a New York-based theatre company, Pop-Up Theatrics.

Miami is joining five other cities, Paris, Singapore, London, Madrid, and NYC, to bring together 18 artists from around the world to tell a wide variety of ten minute stories.

June Romero is an actress in the program based in Miami.

“They began this project called Long Distance Affair back in 2011. People would arrive at a specified location and they would log onto a computer and have an experience intimately with the actors live in real-time at another part of the world, so now it’s just incredibly apropos and they brought it back with Juggerknot here in Miami,” explains Romero.

In her one-woman play staged at her place, June plays Julieta, who is hosting a live eyelash extension master class, entitled My First Ever Live Eyelash Extension Master Class. The comedy was written by local playwright Juan C. Sanchez inspired by the massive quarantine trend of online tutorials.

“And then Julieta was born and she’s a quintessential Miami girl who is trying to make it through this experience. The plays don’t allude specifically to COVID-19, the quarantine, or the orders in place. But we live in that world; we don’t live in a vacuum. Everyone can think about it in their minds, so we thought that is the storyline from Miami.”

You, as the audience member, can choose your own destination and it is also interactive.

This limited ticketed event starts at just $11, and is on now through Saturday, May 30.

“As far as where it’s happening it’s happening in your home, it’s happening wherever you want to experience the show.  You watch people from all around the globe playing for you in real-time,” said Romero.

Firebird will be available after Friday on the Miami City Ballet website through June, and there are other performances planned as well to check out. You can visit the Juggerknot Theatre Group to get tickets here: Long Distance Affair.

Lisa Petrillo

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