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If necessity is the mother of invention, then constraints are the no-nonsense caretakers of creativity. The truth is, whether you’re an artist or not, we’ve all had to get creative over the past year. We’ve been required to reconfigure most parts of our lives, often having to fit a square peg into a round hole and other times just making due the best we can. And for better or worse, the massive disruption of the pandemic has prompted serious self-reflection, from re-prioritizing what matters most to reminders of what’s actually important to us.
Consider one of the principle conceits of the performing arts: There is a particular electricity in the air when a performer is on stage in front of a rapt audience. It can be an actor delivering a moving soliloquy, a dancer lost in the precision of their movements, a musician following the intuition of their instrument and improvising, or even a DJ sorting out the next song that’ll make a crowd lose their minds. Whatever the medium, there’s nothing quite like the interplay between an artist and the people watching them at work. It’s a sensation unlike any other, and it’s something that’s sadly been missing from most of our lives over the last year.
The pandemic has forced us to wonder what happens to that electricity when audiences can’t be together in the same place. Can this magic be conjured remotely? We’re all pros at navigating Zoom by now, but the jury is still out on the creative potential of digital tools and video services like it: Can they create connections and elicit emotional reactions that run deeper than staring at ourselves in a little box on the corner of our screens?
We launched Knight New Work 2020 last year in an effort to answer such questions. This open call sought ideas from Miami artists to create new works that reimagine how the performing arts are created and experienced during the pandemic and into the future of our brave new world.
During “A Night of New Work,” we’ll celebrate the innovation and creativity of the 18 Knight New Work 2020 winners. We’ll also chat with prominent Miami artists Pioneer Winter, Portia Dunkley, and Carmen Pelaez about the future of the performing arts in South Florida and beyond. And we’ll get to see the world premiere of cinematic excerpts from new works by Teo Castellanos, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami and Seraphic Fire, commissioned as part of the Knight New Work 2018 program.
Join the watch party, chat with the artists, and most importantly, enjoy the show.