- Faith & Family
Trinidad native Peter London first started dancing at the age of six, eventually mastering traditions of sacred and secular dance of western Africa, Europe, Afro-Caribbean and contemporary, just to name a few. Currently a professor of dance at Miami Dade College and the New World School of the Arts, London marked another milestone last Sunday with the premier showcase of his new dance company, the Peter London Global Dance Theater (PLGDT). It’s been a dream of his for more years than he can count.
“Students, graduates and their parents have been urging me to do this for over 28 years,” he said.
“I guess I was finally willing to take the risk and make a leap of faith. I know it might not be viewed as a smart move given today’s economy but I consulted with my higher power and am letting the spirit take us forward.”
London has assembled an outstanding group of company dancers and apprentices, the majority of whom are from the South Florida area. In fact, his group is unique in that it seeks to provide opportunities for dancers and choreographers who have ties to Miami and other neighboring cities.
“I designed it specifically so that aspiring and professional dancers would have a place where they could create new work, perform or serve as lecturers here in our community,” he said. “My commitment is to make this a first class dance company — to make this a place where you can find dance at the highest level globally.”
London, a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company is known for his intricately-choreographed pieces and for his ability to mold young dancers. One of his protégées hails from Liberty City and has gone on to international prominence: Robert Battle, current artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
“As a former student I can say without doubt, that [Peter London] is a great teacher, coach and mentor,” Battle said. “He is truly a great asset and treasure to the world of dance.”
London’s dancers are young, [17- to 26-years-old], talented and eager to find their own place in the world of professional dance. Their performance on Sunday was inspiring, energetic and illustrative of the serious work ethic that London has followed since he first began to dance.
“Our dancers have worked hard and shown their commitment to this new company time and time again,” he said. “None of them are paid yet and there are no contracts but that will change in the future. What won’t change is the fact that the members of this group are determined to make dance their career. That’s what this new project is all about.”
PLGDT is an artist-in-residence at the Little Haiti Cultural Center and the venue for Sunday’s performance. They are among a select group of finalists that are been considered for a 2012 Knight Arts Challenge grant. For more information go to www.peterlondonglobaldance.org.
By D. Kevin McNeir