You are listening to Marina Bevis perform her beautiful rendition of Bill Withers’ classic “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone.”
Martina Bevis, classical guitarist from Prague, returns to the Tennessee Williams Theatre for “Strings of Rock and Roll” on Saturday, November 21st and Sunday, November 22nd at 8:00 PM for a collaborative evening of music and dance. Bevis will depart from her conservatory-trained roots to play rock and roll classics and will be joined by members of the CoffeeMill dance community as they perform contemporary choreography to her set list.
Bevis, who is inspired primarily by classical music and twentieth century Spanish and Portuguese composers and has performed in castles and small concerts in Prague before moving to the United States, proves that artistry can move beyond personal boundaries to include a variety of styles.
“I did lots of listening and lots of research,” she says of her set list. “It is a complicated process: decide on a piece, break it down, and put it back together in a finger style. We also had to take into consideration the tempo and flow of each song and think about if it would be suitable for dance with great melody and rhythm.”
When Bevis says “we,” she is speaking of the dancers, a community of movers ages 10 to mid-forty who teach and take class at CoffeeMill Dance Studio in Key West. More than twenty performers will join Bevis on stage as they offer new choreography to classic rock hits that include Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who, Heart, Nirvana, and Queen.
“Working with a musician like Martina—choreographing to her playing— is more challenging and rewarding than to pre-recorded music,” says modern dancer and teacher Leigh Pujado. “Her guitar playing is so nuanced. The challenge is to capture those nuances with our movement and do them justice.”
Pujado is one of nine choreographers that helped develop the show with dance pieces created with three sides in mind. Spectators will be seated directly on stage surrounding the performers to provide an intimate experience that “encapsulates them within all of the technical instruments a theatrical stage offers,” says Pujado.
“It really brings the audience into the show,” she says.
This is the third time the artists have collaborated—first at a private birthday celebration followed by public performances at The Studios of Key West and Tennessee Williams Theatre.
“I enjoy working with the dancers because it is rewarding and challenging, as it is live,” says Bevis. “Sometimes we have to improvise and take cues from each other. The combination of music and dance in this way is truly a work of art.”
Violinist Larry Abramovitz will accompany Bevis on select songs, including Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, Piazzolla’s “Libertango”, and a Bach solo.
“My professor used to say, “If you can play Bach, you can play everything else”, “ says Bevis.
“Strings of Rock and Roll” will prove that he was right.
“Strings of Rock and Roll” is made possible by private donor sponsorships. Dues to special seating, tickets are limited. They can be purchased by visiting www.keystix.com or by calling the box office at (305) 295-7676.