NWSA 2015 Rising Stars Showcase
As it has done for nearly three decades, New World School of the Arts presented its annual Broadway-style showcase highlighting the unparalleled talent that it nurtures year after year, each and every day. With more than two hundred high school and college students, whose common passion is the arts, each of the four divisions – Dance, Music, Theater and Visual Arts – shared the most outstanding moments of the 2014-2015 performance / exhibition year. The Rising Stars Exhibition gave way to the evening’s celebrations with an exhilarating cutting-edge display of work curated by NWSA Dean of Visual Arts, Maggy Cuesta. Among the exhibited work was Anamorphic, a series of three oil paintings on canvas. Each 20”x30” piece highlighted the intentional distortion of figures, making the viewer question the intent of the artist as she took her subject through space using perception and color. Identical twin brothers offered a collaborative work entitled Adios. Comprised of 56 individual 5”x5” canvases, the high-energy spray paint piece offered movement and depth using strategic placement of each painting on the aggregate 10’x 4’ piece. Taking the observer into a subtle exploration of nature, rich in color and texture, Flora explored the beauty of vegetation through pen, marker and stickers, in a 48”x36” collage. In all, the extensive showcase offered two-dozen artworks representing the multiple disciplines taught in the visual arts division, and became a tangible testament to the diversity that is ever-present at New World School of the Arts.
The celebration continued with a VIP reception at the Olympia Theater at Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, where the second floor mezzanine became a standing-room-only fete for friends of New World School of the Arts. More than 250 NWSA supporters, elected officials, community leaders, school administrators and faculty, and art supporters gathered to praise another year of artistic achievement in anticipation for what would become another remarkable celebration of distinction.
As more than 1000 eager spectators comfortably took their seats at the historic Olympia Theater to enjoy the Rising Stars Performance showcase, the curtain rose to five elegantly dressed college music theater students, set against a cascading shimmering white backdrop, offering a captivating overture from the award-winning musical ALittle Night Music. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, accompanied by the NWSA Symphony Orchestra, this Broadway production would later conclude the 2015 showcase as a larger cast shared the stage in A Weekend in the Country, another emotive song from the musical. Presenting a musical standard, 30 high school actors took the stage in traditional Russian villager garb to flawlessly interpret Tradition, the opening song from the most beloved musical of all time, Fiddler on the Roof. Equally engaging were the dancers who captivated the soul of the audience with Asuka, a moving retrospective of singer Celia Cruz, by recognized choreographer Eduardo Vilaro. With costumes inspired by the vibrant mood and colors of the tropics, the college dancers moved fluidly from solos to full ensembles and from couples to duets as an homage to the Cuban-born salsa legend. As electrifying was SOME OLD GOOD NEW! by Kehynde Hill, one of the most sought after and respected HipHop instructors and choreographers working in Miami today. With fierce moves and an impressive fashion medley encompassing 1920s -1950s-inspired outfits, the younger high school dancers seamlessly took hold of the audience who swayed and enthusiastically thumped their feet to the rhythm of the work’s exhilarating music. The music division offered a rich repertoire highlighting the undeniable talent of its students. Under the baton of Maestro Alfred Gershfeld, the NWSA Symphony Orchestra closed the first Act with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture OP. 96, filling the hall with brassy sounds of fanfare, while the High School Choir, led by Dr. Leslie Alan Denning, impressed guests with their interpretation of Sara Teasdale’s poem I Am Not Yours, by American composer Z. Randall Stroope. Other highlights of the 2015 Rising Stars Showcase included an excerpt of Tom Shoppard’s Rock N’ Roll, directed by Stuart Meltzer and presented as a full production by the college students earlier in the year. Directed by Professor of Jazz Studies at NWSA, Jim Gasior, the High School Jazz Ensemble, offered a rousing interpretation of Concerto For Clarinet, by Artie Shaw, demonstrating his range of clarinet style.
More than a celebration of the work and dedication put forth by the students and faculty of NWSA, the evening was also an opportunity to recognize those who offer their unwavering support and inspire with their drive and relentlessness. NWSA music alumna Lulu Wang, renowned screenwriter, director and producer, received the coveted Alumnus Award. This annual award is bestowed each year during Rising Stars to a New World School of the Arts alum who has successfully contributed to his or her art form. The classically trained pianist recently wrote and directed her first narrative feature film Posthumous, which was presented in Miami during the Miami Dade College 2015 Miami International Film Festival.
New World School of the Arts proudly acknowledges Bank of America, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, University of Florida, WLRN, and Classical South Florida for their invaluable support.