The Peter London Global Dance Company is easily one of the most important companies of which you’ve never heard. Founded in 2011 and based in Miami, this movement was established to pay tribute to the rich, diverse heritage of dance traditions native to this region. It was also established to marry dancers and choreographers who might not traditionally find a place in the dance world to local and international stages and audiences.
Although they’ve had sold out performances throughout South Florida (most recently at Adrienne Arsht), my first Peter London experience was in an intimate space at the Coral Gables Museum a couple of weeks ago. Everyone that night was abuzz about the premier of London’s “Women for Women Dances”: a series of solo pieces choreographed and performed by the women of his company to the music of women composers whose works were often not produced because of the zeitgeist of their respective historical moments.
Our excitement was well-founded. Sydney Rabin’s riveting interpretation of Omou Sangare’s “Mogoya” was redolent of traditional dances from West Africa and the Caribbean. Iwalani Martin’s energetic and liberating embodiment of Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C Major titled “Overcame” left us pondering while Chelsea Reeve’s “A Man’s World” set to Undine Moore Smith made us wish for a raised stage. Alejandra Martinez’s “Break the Wall” set to Louis Farrenc Symphony No. 1 (1842) was perhaps the more thought-provoking piece as her ascent and descent of her chair was at once overtly sexual and yet tortured. Kashia Kancey rounded out the series well with Nina Simone’s “Black Bird,” tying choreography expressive of the restraint and ultimate deliverance of the female spirit and form, which preceded hers, together.
With “Women for Women Dances,” London gives the women of his company, and their audience, an incredible gift: an affirmative opportunity to reclaim their spirits and their bodies through the power of dance. Further, as an Artistic Director, London’s decision evidences his deep understanding of the need for us to mobilize and unite in this fraught moment of women’s and LGBTQ rights.
In case you were wondering, you have not missed your chance to experience the “Women for Women” series. On October 24, Peter London and his company will perform this riveting presentation as part of Pérez Art Museum’s Women’s Forum. For more information about the company and their upcoming performances visit http://www.plgdc.org