Here we are, celebrating the finalists of our annual Piano Slam poetry writing competition in a genre bending performance that brings together Miami's poetic youth with the dancers of Augusto Soledad's Brazzdance troupe, the incredible piano chops of Bobby Mitchell and Ashley Hribar and the beats of DJ Brimstone 127. BritWeek, with the support of The British Council, brings dub-poet Roger Robinson to be part of the ensemble. Directed by Teo Castellanos. Expect a great show. Expect to be moved.
Piano Slam is my personal favorite program the Dranoff produces. Why? When Teo Castellanos addressed the finalists in their first performance workshop, he challenged them "to turn off the controller in your heads and listen to the brain in your stomach. This is a safe place for you to get out of your comfort zone. Be daring. Tell us your story. We want to hear you". What a wonderful lesson to impart, and to receive!
Every year, more students tell us their stories. In a world where numbers count, this is in fact the only thing that we really need the most: "understand each other, respect each other in grace. Piano Slam lets participants express in liberty what our deepest wishes and thoughts are. I reach their heart, they reach mine." (Maarten Van Veen)
To date, Piano Slam has given 120 students a big stage to share their voices directly with audiences. But in reality, the numbers are in the thousands, because this year alone, over 2000 students have bared their hearts and minds and written poems to be read and shared.
This year's theme is migration and currents. It is so powerful to hear these young voices speak about immigration, about environmental impact, about prejudice, about science, about growth.
I hope you can be there to let them reach your heart.
President, Dranoff Board