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CAHSS professor puts on show funded by arts grant

Augusto Soledade has won Miami-Dade County grant multiple times

Last May, CAHSS Associate Professor Augusto Soledade staged “Shade,” a dance performance funded with a $10,000 grant from a Miami-Dade County arts program.

In 2016, Soledade won the grant from the county’s Dance Miami Choreographers Program - his seventh time receiving a grant from the program. Soledade said he had been trying to get “Shade” off the ground for the last two years.

“In the 2016-17 season I had to make the decision to either produce it or drop it,” he said. “My choice was to gather all the possible resources made available to Augusto Soledade Brazzdance through various grants to make it happen.”

The performance, which had no narrative, focused on selfies and voguing, a ballroom dance style that originated in Harlem and gained mainstream exposure through Madonna’s 1990 single “Vogue.”

Shade Shade

“Voguing is about creating an environment where a self-claimed celebrity status is acceptable and desired,” he said. “I felt the current technology through smartphones ignited the selfie craze within social media, which, for me, allows for the same environment where a self-claimed celebrity status is also accepted and desired.”

Soledade’s dance company used six dancers for the performance, but he also turned to two of his colleagues in CAHSS’ Department of Performing and Visual Arts for assistance. Soledade asked Assistant Professors Jessica Muñiz-Collado and Kandy Lopez, both M.F.A., to create the score and backdrop, respectively. Soledade said that seeing Muñiz-Collado’s past work convinced him that she could bring his show to life.

The catch: She had one week to compose the score for the 46-minute show.

“This was an interesting project because the music was created after the choreography was done,” she said. “It's usually the other way around.”

Shade Shade

Lopez had three weeks to create the backdrop, which Soledade wanted to help frame the dancers in the foreground.

“He was looking for a backdrop with different identities blending together culturally,” Lopez said.

In addition to the shortened design time, Lopez had to work around two doors in the background.

“It was fun and challenging,” she said.

The performance ran from May 24-25 at Miami Beach’s The Gleason Room. Muñiz-Collado said she was remastering the music for a future release of the soundtrack.

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