Dance Fever was recorded in London over the course of the pandemic in anticipation of the world’s reopening. It conjures up what Florence missed most in the midst of lockdown—clubs, dancing at festivals, being in the whirl of movement and togetherness—and the hope of reunions to come.
The image and concept of choreomania—a Renaissance phenomenon in which groups of people danced wildly to the point of exhaustion, collapse and death—became a focal point of inspiration. Forced off the road for the first time in more than a decade, dance offered Florence propulsion, energy and a way of looking at music more choreographically.
Starting, as ever, armed with a notebook of poems and ideas, Florence had just arrived to New York in March 2020 to begin recording when Covid-19 forced a retreat to London. Holed up at home, the songs she had begun started to transform, ultimately arriving somewhere that Florence describes as “Nick Cave at the club.”
Dance Fever is an album that sees Florence at the peak of her powers, coming into a fully realized self-knowledge, poking sly fun at her own self-created persona, playing with ideas of identity, masculinity and femininity, redemption and celebration.Dance Fever was produced by Florence, Jack Antonoff and Dave Bayley of Glass Animals.
The company will also resume its renowned training program, giving an immersive course in Bel Canto style and technique to 22 elite young singers who will serve as the understudies and chorus of the two operas. As before, the performances will be accompanied by Teatro Nuovo’s own hand-picked orchestra of period-instrument players, with its groundbreaking restoration of the performance setup used in the Bel Canto era.
“Our approach was radical but unproven when we rolled it out in 2018,” said Artistic Director Will Crutchfield in announcing the new season, “and I’m thrilled to say the results were even more exciting than we could have hoped. We have spent the whole pandemic period working together to take it to the next level, and we can’t wait to share it again with the public.”
Maometto (1820) depicts the Siege of Negroponte by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, a tale of doomed valor, forbidden love, and heroic self-sacrifice under the shadow of war. Sonnambula (1831) is a story of village life and wedding bells, whose joyous finale is postponed by the frisson of a sleepwalking bride mistaken for a ghost.
The Sonnambula cast is led by soprano Teresa Castillo as the titular sleepwalker, returning after her debut as Creusa in Medea in Corinto in Teatro Nuovo’s first season in 2018. Elvino will be sung by the Mexican tenor Enrique Guzmán in his New York debut, and returning artists Dorian McCall (bass-baritone), Meagan Sill (soprano), and Allison Gish (mezzo-soprano) will be heard as Rodolfo, Lisa, and Teresa.
Associate Artistic Director Jakob Lehmann emphasized the significance of Maometto, one of the nine serious operas composed by Rossini for the Teatro San Carlo of Naples, and the first one in Teatro Nuovo’s repertory: “We all know the pure delight of Rossini,” he said, “with his melodies, his brilliant orchestral colors, his virtuosity, his strokes of drama. And the farther you get into his mature operas, the more you stand in awe of the architecture. He pushed his blueprints to their limits—the structures grow until they reach as far as the eye can see, but they never bend or break.”
Crutchfield spoke of a complementary quality in La sonnambula: “Bellini never had to invent a musical form in his life—Rossini had done it all. So, he could take that inheritance and fill it to the brim with his unique gift, which was a kind of melody the world had never heard before. People found it hypnotic. Even supposed opposites like Verdi and Wagner were under Bellini’s spell.”
Teatro Nuovo’s orchestra, like those of Italy in the age of Bel Canto, is led jointly by a violinist and a keyboardist, without a standup conductor. In 2022, Crutchfield will serve as maestro al cembalo (keyboard director) for the Bellini opera and Lehmann as primo violino e capo d’orchestra (violinist-director) for the Rossini. They will be joined by two musical directors and co-directors, making Teatro Nuovo debuts: Australian violinist Rachael Beesley in La sonnambula and Lucy Tucker Yates, the company’s Director of Language Studies, as keyboard leader for Maometto. Biographies of these two and the singers mentioned above can be found HERE.
Audiences and critics have been quick to recognize what a difference this makes. At Teatro Nuovo’s debut in 2018, Heidi Waleson reported in The Wall Street Journal that “the effect is transformative.” The following year she returned to observe “an unusually flexible sense of pacing… remarkably different from conventional performances of these operas.” In 2019, James Jorden in The Observer called it “revelatory…the orchestra seemed to beat with a single heart.”
In 2021, Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times wrote of “a fresh, lively performance full of ideas and rich in subtleties” by performers emboldened “to start from scratch and think for themselves.” Philip Pierce, the company’s Executive Director, underlined the ensemble nature of the experience: “Last summer we faced the extreme challenges of the pandemic, with strict health protocols and a fifty-plus company living more or less in a Covid bubble—and never have I seen such discipline and esprit de corps. The joy of making music together in this group is irresistible.”
Milteri Tucker Concepción is a busy and multi-talented Afro Boricua who holds degrees in Biology, Chemistry and a master’s in Dance Education. She is an author, a mother and was casted in Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights the movie. As we approach #NYFW2021, Milteri puts on another hat, as designer.
Milteri is the founder of BOMBAZO and the artistic director of Bombazo Dance Co. The Puerto Rican-Bronx based non-profit dance organization’s focus is to educate, advocate, preserve and perform Bomba Puertorriqueña. As an author, educator and master Bomba dancer, she lectures across the United States and the world. I sat with Milteri and we spoke about Bomba, fashion and Puerto Rico.
Milteri, tell our readers, who is Milteri Tucker Concepción?
Well, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew up with a passion for dance since I was 5 years old. I recall dancing in “la Sala”(the living room) with three of the most influential women in my life: my grandmother, mother and aunt. As part of my upbringing I remember dancing, planting and assisting my elders in the kitchen. I also vividly recall shopping for fabrics with my aunt and watching my grandmother Abuela Teresa, warmly referred to as “Mama” sewing. My aunt “Titi” Maria Concepción was a designer who attended FIT and designed clothes for top actors in Puerto Rico. I was blessed to have been raised in a household full of love, and love for my culture!
As a teenager, I studied dance in La Escuela de Bellas Artes in Ponce, PR. At 17, [I] moved to NYC to pursue careers in dance and science. In 2006, I graduated with a dual major of Dance and Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Hunter College. I currently hold a masters degree in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. Today I am a renowned Bomba master dancer, choreographer, scholar, dance educator and author. [I wrote] the first bilingual Bomba children’s book, titled “Bomba Puertorriqueña” and illustrated by Boricua artist, Mia Roman.
I’ve had the privilege to perform in multiple venues across NYC and the world – from the prestigious Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, City Center, Summerstage, Pregones Theater, BAAD, The Latin Billboards Awards, dancing for Don Omar with choreography by Maria Torres O’Connor, to amazing community centers.
I am a cultural warrior (guerrera cultural) who safeguards our traditions of Bomba Puertorriquenas, via [my] 501c3 non-profit dance organization: Bombazo Dance Co, Inc and international brand of Caribbean dance skirts: Bombazo Wear-Bomba & Caribbean Dance Skirts®. I was recently featured in Lin Manuel Miranda’s movie, In The Heights, as the Bomba representation.
How was your experience filming ‘In the Heights’?
Being invited to dance Bomba for In the Heights was a surreal experience and a dream come true! It was an honor to represent our African heritage through our traditional dances. However, one of my favorite memories came after the movie premiered…. I had the opportunity to open the 2021 Virtual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, where Lin and I danced Bomba together.
What is the history of Bomba?
Bomba is Puerto Rico’s oldest musical genre, dating back to the 17th century and created by the African enslaved and free people of color from the Caribbean. This was one of the ways they communicated in our coastal sugarcane and coffee plantations. It is a secular practice, where the community gathers to sing, dance and drum.
Why did you create Bombazo Dance Company?
I founded Bombazo Dance Company to show the world that Puerto Rico has rich African ancestry, and that our traditions are very much alive. As a Bomba dance company, we communicate through dance and drumming. [This is] reflected in our traditional folk art dancers. It is also important to create a safe space to fuse Bomba with other forms of dance – such as ballet, contemporary, social dances and dances of the African and Caribbean diaspora.
What inspired you to create Bombazo dance wear?
At the same time I started Bombazo Dance Company, I was teaching Bomba classes to the community and needed skirts. Believe it or not, it was hard to find a seamstress who could make Caribbean skirts or a location to purchase them. I wanted to create skirts that fit all Caribbean dance styles, because I am that dancer. And voilà – Bombazo Wear Bomba Caribbean Skirts was born! My mother, Dr. Margarita Concepción, and I are the CEOs and we sew the [skirts] too. Our skirts are handmade, custom[ized] and tailored to each client. A part of the funds go to aid families affected by the earthquakes in Southern Puerto Rico.
How does it feel to be invited to NYFW 2021 / Harlem Fashion Week?
It is an honor to have been invited to showcase for a second time in HFM! The organizers are truly showcasing diversity within their shows and providing opportunities for designers of color to present their designs to the world. It’s important to me – as a woman of color, a Latina and AfroBoricua – [that] they understand my vision of dance as fashion. And my skirts have fashion written all over them!
Tell us about your upcoming collection “Resistencia y Libertá!” (Resistance and Freedom).
I am the creator of the Puerto Rican Bomba Flag Skirt®. A flag; its colors, represents a collective orgullo – pride for its people. Our flag was conceived and designed here in NYC. It was prohibited to fly The Puerto Rican flag in both Puerto Rico and New York at one time. Its pride is back after Hurricane Maria, [now] you see our colors in every town’s building and rinconcito (corner) in both Puerto Rico and the diaspora! Therefore, my new collection for 2021 is titled: “Resistencia y Libertá!” Where each skirt in the collection represents a social cause affecting Puerto Rico – such as the cultural resistencia by the people, No al Feminicidio, Boricua hasta en la Luna, Afroboricuaness, LGBTQ+ representation and support in the Bomba Community, ect. It is important to note that this is a brand and line designed and sewn by a Bomba dancer, a person from the community. These are skirts [are designed] with a mission. Part of the funds go to help families affected by the earthquakes in the South of Puerto Rico and organizations/community ensembles continuing the labor of safeguarding Bomba traditions in the island.
Any advice for the youth who want to connect and immerse themselves with their African roots and Culture?
Learn about all parts of you! That makes you unique and special. Speak to your elders: abuelas, abuelos, tias, tios and elders from your community. They have a lot of wisdom and years of experience you can learn from. Always connect to your culture, to your African roots! There is an African proverb I love : “Sankofa– in order to move forward you must know your past!” Know who you are, where you come from, so that you can pass the knowledge to your next generation! Ubuntu! (an African Proverb [that] means “I am because we ALL are!”)
For more information and to view images, please visit HERE.
On Wednesday night, 360 Magazine had the pleasure of viewing Teatro Nuovo‘s The Barber of Seville. While we were originally visiting Chicago on assignment, after finding out about this monumental production, we knew it couldn’t be missed. We immediately dropped what we were doing and used our Amtrak monthly pass to dash to Damrosch Park in New York City.
The opera buffa invited in guests with a whimsical atmosphere of musical merrymaking. This classic two-act opera, originally by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini, was developed into a cutting-edge interpretation by Teatro Nuovo–Italian for the new theater. The expansive stage, which included a backdrop with soft, rosy clouds, was decorated with a cast of performers donning black-tie apparel. The rostrum was well-lit and easily viewable from all angles of the venue.
The enchanted lighting cast a sultry wash of deep blue hues over all the guests in attendance. Opera enthusiasts of all ages were present for one of the first shows since lockdown. Joining us were people from all ages, races and walks of life: biracial couples, youthful gay couples, and arts aficionados who appeared to be well into their 90s. This sensual, post-pandemic moment of calm finally brought New York’s community of playwrights, musical lovers, and opera fans together yet again.
This marvelous production of The Barber of Seville has surely been long-awaited by many – a worthy cause for celebration. Still, Teatro Nuovo employed all current CDC guidelines. Similar to the seating at fashion shows, guests were organized into pods of two people. Security guards were also present at the venue to enforce these restrictions.
The orchestra was unbelievably incredible, climaxing to a crashing cadenza that captivated the entire audience. Impressively, the conductor of the show also played violin. The cast was headlined by mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig. She was joined by the Figaro of Bass, Hans Tashjian, and the Almaviva of tenor, Nicholas Simpson. The three artists are additionally accompanied by soprano Alina Tamborini as Berta, bass Daniel Fridley as Don Basilio, and baritones Scott Purcell and Kyle Oliver as Bartolo and Fiorello, respectively. All of the singers had impressive skill and exhibited raw, uninhibited talent. Their on-stage vulnerability lent for an impassioned delivery which was impactful to all who were lucky enough to hear it. Bellowing vocals swelled the venue with their prolific pipes.
The opera included an intermission, which kindly allowed for guests to relive themselves and enjoy the provided refreshments.
The classic tale of this passionate love story enraptured the audience of emotional fans. 360 Magazine had goosebumps and became teary-eyed at the sublime, awe-inspiring rendition. The vibrant energy of love made one of our team members wish that their parents were still alive to witness this event. This romantic, operatic show was reminiscent of a foreign film gone wild. Fortunately, sub-captions were included.
Teatro Nuovo’s production of The Barber of Seville was truly the performance of a lifetime. 360 Magazine can now joyously cross seeing this spectacular show off of our bucket list.
A standing ovation for Teatro Nuovo’s The Barber of Seville can be viewed HERE.
*Photo credit: Steven Pisano
Kyle Olliver (Fiorello), Teatro Nuovo chorus. Photo Credit: Steven Pisano.
Hans Tashjian (Figaro), Hannah Ludwig (Rosina), Nicholas Simpson (Almaviva). Photo credit: Steven Pisano.
Hannah Ludwig (Rosina), Nicholas Simpson (Almaviva). Photo credit: Steven Pisano.
GoTrax has recently unveiled its 2021 electric bike series. With enhanced durability and power—and the same affordability customers love and expect—GoTrax provides an even more incredible e-bike selection than ever. 360 Magazine had the opportunity to test ride GoTrax’s newest model, the GoTrax Emerge Electric Bike 26”, on the reopened, bustling streets of New York.
360Magazine took the Emerge for an exhilarating evening cruise through the Bronx and by the Lincoln Center, during which we clawed around sharp turns in Central Park with dexterous stability. If you’re in New York City, consider taking advantage of the public bike paths on summer nights.
The Emerge electric bike is a batmobile for commuters in a concrete jungle. With shock-absorbent, wear-resistant tires, this model is perfect for smooth city cruising. With the powerful 350w read-drive motor, this e-bike packs robust torque for unimpeded riding. As such, the Emerge can also handle rugged, uneven mountain terrain.
GoTrax offers electric transportation solutions that are becoming increasingly popular in today’s personal transportation-dependent society. Especially in the time of many being wary of public transportation, e-bikes provide a practical solution and sustainable alternative to traditional travel. Environmentally friendly and efficient, this bike is essential for active, ecologically conscious cyclists. With an auto hibernation function that goes into effect after 10 minutes of standby, the Emerge helps cyclists conserve energy.
All of GoTrax’s products are certified to UL safety standards, and the company understands the importance of ensured safety, ferocious performance, and high-quality design.
Available in a sleek black or vibrant teal color, the streamlined design of this e-bike has major curb appeal and competitive performance ability. The fatigue and fracture-resistant 6061 aluminum alloy frame makes for an ultra-durable bike body.
Weighing in at 53.9lbs, this vehicle is sturdy, but also easily lightweight and transportable. The vehicle’s product dimensions are 68.5” x 25.6” x 42.9”. Further, this e-bike has an IPX4 waterproof rating, so riders can travel in any weather condition.
The Emerge has a maximum payload of up to 265lbs. However, the bike’s smaller frame was designed for optimal use with smaller, shorter riders. The compact design of this e-bike makes for effortless maneuvering and cornering.
Access all your digital needs in fingertips’ reach during your ride with the e-bike’s digital LED display. With an integrated power switch, battery indicator, front headlight, and gear switch, riders have complete control behind the wheel.
GoTrax knows that customers crave convenience, so the company made sure to prioritize such on their newest commuter bike model. On the handlebars, next to the digital display, riders can also access the bell, hand brakes, throttle, and three-speed level settings effortlessly.
The Emerge bike is equipped with mighty, sturdy 26” tires. These pneumonic rubber tires have tenacious grip, which is helpful when riding on rugged or slippery surfaces. They can even endure light potholes.
Further, these heavy-duty tires are shock absorbent and wear-resistant. Compared to regular tires, they provide a faster ride with less drag.
Cruise all day in your new favorite e-bike, thanks to its 36V, 7.5aH battery capacity. Once fully charged, the Emerge can transport riders up to 26 miles using pedal assist, and 16.7 miles on pure electric mode. Riders need not wait long after their cruise to keep going, as the high-capacity battery recharges in just 4-6 hours. This quick charge provides a long-life cycle for extended bike trips or unpredictable travel situations. Conveniently, the battery is removable and comes with a built-in lock, so riders need not worry about it becoming lost or stolen. Simply use the enclosed key and lift the battery for removal.
If you’re looking for even more power, look no further than the Emerge’s 250w brushless gear motor. This powerful motor can provide speeds of up to 20mph, delivering riders to their destinations in a breeze.
Ramp up your ride with the e-bike’s convenient hand throttle brake. The Emerge packs in major brawn and power, allowing riders to effortlessly climb hills with up to 14-degree inclines.
When it’s time to take a pause, the Emerge comes with a dual disc brake and an electric, anti-lock braking system. The Shimano professional 7-speed transmission system guarantees user control while on the go. This top-of-the-line transmission system ensures a comfortable and controlled cruise. Once stopped, the e-bike’s installed kickstand ensures proper, upright storage.
With its horn and illuminating LED headlamp, the Emerge e-bike is a safe option for nighttime rides. Extra LED lights can be attached to the bike’s front and back for increased nighttime visibility.
For users looking for aid while cruising, the Emerge has an assisted bicycle mode for long travels. Assist mode allows riders to avoid zero starting, frequent braking, and aids in driving against the wind.
Other modes include pure electric mode and normal bike. Riders can adjust the vehicle to their exact specification with the three gear speeds: 1 gear (8.7mph), 2 gear (14.3mph), and 3 gear (19.8mph.)
360 Magazine recommends checking that the brake system is properly functioning before use. Be sure to review the e-bike’s safety warnings.
Ergonomics × Additional Features
Compared to other bikes in its category, such as the Swagtron EB7 commuter e-bike, the Emerge has a larger battery capacity, faster speed capability, and larger tires. Further, the Emerge is trendier than other e-bikes, with its Samsung battery sleekly camouflaged inside the bike’s body. As such, GoTrax’s newest Emerge model leaves other electric bikes in the dust. While the Emerge is similar to GoTrax’s earlier Alpha XL model, the Emerge stands out as the clear choice for smaller and shorter riders.
The Emerge Electric Bike comes modestly priced, at the cost of $699.99. Upon purchase, orders are generally processed in 24 hours and shipped out in 3-5 business days,
We’re sure you’ll love the Emerge e-bike as much as us, but if you’re not satisfied, GoTrax offers a 30-day return and 90-day warranty. Furthermore, for additional purchases, customers can add on a 2-year or 3-year warranty plan. Consider giving your new, shiny e-bike a name upon purchase.
Agile × Easy to Assemble
Note that while the bike arrives 95% assembled, customers still have to finish assembly manually or should seek assembly service. Cyclists looking for aid in constructing their e-bike should call Velofix– a mobile bike shop with many locations across the United States. For those on the East Coast, Cycle Haus is another trustworthy option for mobile e-bike repair. On the West Coast, Hoopty Bikes Mobile Bike Repair offers 24/7, mobile bike services. Once their e-bike is put together, riders are to be cruising in style wherever they journey on the GoTrax Emerge Electric Bike.
Kanye West will bring his original opera Mary to New York City’s famed David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. Directed by Vanessa Beecroft, Mary was first staged at Art Basel Miami, and follows Nebuchadnezzar, West’s first opera, which premiered last month at the Hollywood Bowl.
Mary is an original opera, based on the biblical story of the miraculous events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. The Books of Matthew and Luke recount the story of Mary, who was divinely chosen by God to bring forth the Messiah.
West’s Mary brings together elements from different worlds – including opera, fine art, modern dance, and gospel music – to create a new visual interpretation and innovative performance structure. Mary is performed by the Sunday Service collective, a ministry formed in January of 2019. With the Sunday Service collective working alongside a cast of professional opera singers, Mary represents an innovative interpretation of West’s own music, gospel standards, and traditional opera alike.