The late Joffrey Ballet principal Edward Stierle’s 30-minute dance, Lacrymosa, touches on the topics of AIDS, death and living life with no regrets.
At age 19, Hollywood-born Stierle created the choreography depicting what his life was like when he lived with AIDS in the late 1980s. He died from the disease in 1991 at 23.
This weekend, Dance Now! of Miami will perform Lacrymosa at The Fillmore Miami Beach’s Gleason Room, including a free special show Thursday night for LGBT youth.
“His movement is very much so a story that is being told, that is undeniable about him facing death and really living out loud until his last breath” said Anthony Velazquez, who will be the principal dancer of the show — as Stierle. “The solo is very emotionally driven and very powerful, and there are some moments of sorrow and some moments of happiness. I feel like through his movement, he is teaching me how to live life fully.”
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Also company members include Dance Now! Artistic Director Diego Salterini and Allyn Ginns.
In addition to Lacrymosa on Thursday, the LGBT youth night will include a performance by Project LEAP and a presentation by HIV/AIDS agency Care Resource.
Lacrymosa, which was originally performed by the Joffrey Ballet while Stierle was still living, has never before been danced in Miami.
The idea to bring Lacrymosa to Miami, began in 2015 at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, when Salterini and Hannah Baumgarten, co-founder of Dance Now!, saw the choreography and learned about Stierle’s story and his battle with AIDS, through his friends Kim Sagami and Cameron Basden, both dancers.
According to a report from the Miami Herald in Jan. 2016, Florida leads the nation in HIV infections, with Miami-Dade and Broward being in first and second place in 2014 for every 100,000 resident.
Looking to bring added AIDS awareness to the South Florida community —and to pay homage to Stierle in his hometown — Sagami, an original Lacrymosa cast member, in March traveled from Chicago to stage the show.
“We are the only contemporary dance company ever been allowed to do [this] work, because usually only ballet companies do it,” said Salterini, who will be on stage dancing the role of Death, and believes it is the perfect time to perform the dance, given the rising numbers of youths with AIDS in South Florida. “Broward and Miami-Dade are the countries with the highest number of new infections in the country, and we felt like it was all coming together.”
Both Sagami and Basden, who is Dance Now!’s artistic advisor, told stories of Stierle and of the ballet to the Miami dancers.
“Eddie was a passionate, determined, funny, ethical, gracious young man, very driven and very full of zest and obviously very talented, to choreograph such a big ballet with so much passion and so well done,” said Basden, a founder of Based Enterprises – a nonprofit organization that promotes Dance Disability and awareness in South Florida – who was in the Joffrey Ballet at the same time Stierle was. “Had he lived longer, he probably would have been one of the great choreographers of our time.
If you go
▪ What: ‘Lacrymosa’ performed by Dance Now! Miami
▪ Where: Gleason Room, The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Convention Center Dr.
▪ When: Free private LGBTQ event on Thursday; 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
▪ How much: $35 general, $20 student and senior at the box office or door only
For more information, visit: http://www.dancenowmiami.org/