NSU professor awarded grant from dance choreography program

Augusto Soledade to receive $10,000 from Miami-Dade County’s Dance Miami

Augusto Soledade, M.F.A., never intended to study dance as a college student in Brazil in the 1980s, but now he is celebrating his seventh win of a $10,000 grant from the Dance Miami Choreographers Program to create a new work.

Augusto Soledade

Soledade, an Associate Professor in CAHSS’ Department of Performing and Visual Arts, had originally been a journalism major at the Federal University of Bahia. He wanted to avoid a physical education class and instead turned to dancing as a substitute.

“I fell in love with it,” he said. “I had a great passion for it and pursued it outside the university at community centers.”

After graduation, Soledade decided that journalism was not the right fit and returned to school to study dance. While in a dance program, Soledade had the opportunity to come to the U.S. and study with Garth Fagan, a Jamaican modern dance choreographer. Studying with Fagan in upstate New York helped Soledade develop his Afro-Fusion style, and at the same time he completed a master’s degree.

Soledade began teaching and in 1998 founded his own dance company, the Miami-based Augusto Soledade Brazzdance. He also taught for several years at Florida International University before joining NSU in 2011. Soledade’s company has received funding from Dance Miami six times previously.

“It incentivizes artists to create new work,” said Program Administrator Adriana Perez of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

To ensure fairness, every year the county turns to a fresh panel of national experts to decide the top entries. The 2016 panel included Brian Enos, an artistic director from St. Louis, Hope Boykin, a choreographer in New York City, and Dana Moore, a New York City dance professor.

“Miami has a rich diversity in dance, and we try to be as representative as possible of every sublet,” Perez said.

Perez said Soledade’s use of full-time dancers is becoming a thing of the past as more companies move toward contract work. For Soledade, the cash infusion helps move a production along by allowing him to keep those dancers on full-time.

“Having no award makes it harder,” he said. “It represents months of work by four to five dancers.”

In dividing his time between teaching, running a company and serving as its artistic director, Soledade made some adjustments and decided to stop performing - but he doesn’t miss dancing. Soledade teaches courses such as Dance Laboratory, Modern Dance II, Dance Composition, and World Dance.

“I enjoy teaching and choreography,” he said. “It becomes a different way of living my passion.”

Soledade is currently working on several pieces for the show, which will be staged before the end of the county’s fiscal year in September 2017.