For young performing arts aficionados in Miami, there are many cultural events available to enjoy and cultivate their interests. The possibilities seem endless.
Ailey Camp Miami, is a free six-week summer day camp produced by the Adrienne Arsht Center in partnership with the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. Underserved middle school students ages 11-14 are exposed to dance training in West African drumming and dance, modern Horton technique that incorporates Native American and Afro-Caribbean elements, as well as jazz and ballet.
Jazz Roots at the Arsht Center offers a chance for high school students interested in jazz to bring their instruments and participate in live sound checks in the Knight Concert Hall. Teens get to meet major jazz musicians for Q&As and jam sessions and also receive free Jazz Roots concert tickets.
Even the Florida Grand Opera seeks to attract young audiences. At the big ArtsLaunch presented by American Airlines Sept. 8 at the Arsht Center, young people enjoyed performances from this season’s operas, including “Frida,” “La Bohème,” “Werther,” and “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
“I tried out for the children’s chorus, so I do enjoy opera singing. This was a good way for me to hear their voices live. It makes me want to sing even more,” said Bianca Benson, 10, who attended with her sister, Nina, 12.
Their mother, Sonia Benson, said she’s been encouraging her girls to be interested in the arts from the time they were little.
“We’ve been going to these events since they’ve been in diapers,” Benson said. “I’m really happy the Arsht Center is holding this for us.”
Also featured at ArtsLaunch was the Miami Downtown Development Authority Community Arts Village showcasing about 100 of Miami’s cultural organizations, including YoungArts, the Miami Book Fair, and Perez Art Museum.
“Now that the Arsht Center is widely regarded as a source for the arts in Miami, we wanted to have people know about the small businesses and organizations that build us up and make us who we are,” said Suzette Espinosa, the Arsht Center’s vice president of communication. “ArtsLaunch was created to inform people of the countless opportunities that are available to them.”
This year’s fourth-annual ArtsLaunch saw an unprecedented wave of people attend the festivities. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., the celebration consisted of mini-performances, on-stage classes, interactive workshops and many other activities.
From babies in strollers to high schoolers with ripped jeans, many young arts lovers attended this year’s ArtsLaunch.
A hotspot for children was a workshop offered by Miami City Ballet, taught by the company’s principal soloist, Callie Manning.
Manning helped kids learn ballet movements and gave them valuable learning tips in the dance form.
“They deserve to have things passed on to them and for children, it’s like you’re introducing them to a new world,” Manning said. “In the end it’s all about performing, and the experience of the arts.”
Miami City Ballet puts special emphasis on engaging the community. One program, the Ballet Bus, transports school students to see dance performances.
Many of these students can’t afford to attend regular performances and Miami City Ballet entertains them for no charge.
“We are creating something beautiful and making people feel at home. It’s not about elitism, it’s about community.” says Ana Maria Correa, the ballet’s director of community engagement.
One highlight of ArtsLaunch: students themselves got to perform.
Greater Miami Youth Symphony presented a performance of young violin and cello players. They displayed their technical prowess and confidence performing for a large live audience.
“We reach children with music, ultimately hoping to reach every child,” said Jorge Muñiz, a youth orchestra instructor. “We also teach kids with disabilities, making sure that we uphold our mission of all-inclusivity.”
Student violinist Daniel Solomon, who performed at ArtsLaunch, said he is inspired by what the youth symphony stands for.
“The symphony has greatly impacted my life. I have made new friends and I continue to learn something new every time I go there,” Daniel said.
Several fall productions will appeal to young arts enthusiasts:
- Zoetic Stage’s “Dracula,” written by Michael McKeever and directed by Stuart Meltzer, is a modern feminist twist on the classic tale, just in time for Halloween, running from Oct. 11 to 28 at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Tickets are $50. For more information, https://hrld.us/2xAWIL9.
- “Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy” 7 p.m. Nov. 4 in the Knight Concert Hall will showcase music from the popular video game franchise. Tickets $40 to $150. https://hrld.us/2OPyjs7.
- “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert” 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 24 in the Knight Concert Hall, fuses music and magic in a concert spectacular. $39 to $109. https://hrld.us/2zskomr.