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Hiplet Brings in a Mix of Ballet and Hip-hop to South Florida



When you think of ballet, classical music like Mozart or Beethoven probably come to mind, but what happens when you throw in some hip-hop? You get something called Hiplet. A performance of the cool new dance style will chassé its way into the MIA this Friday.

The last thing you’d expect to see at a ballet show is a lot of sass, or see any hip-hop moves, but Hiplet is no ordinary ballet.

Alexandria Franklin: “Hiplet is a fusion of ballet with other styles of dance, so Homer created the name Hiplet, so it’s a combination of hip-hop and ballet, but we also combine jazz, African dancing, Latin dancing, and we’re doing everything on pointe.”

You heard that right! The moves of hip-hop mixed with soft and graceful ballet done in pointe shoes.

Nia Parker: “Homer really wanted to find a way to make ballet more accessible for younger generations, because kids, especially in the ’90s, were wrapped in hip-hop.”

Homer Bryant: “I would mix it up and play with classical music sometimes, or Beyonce sometimes, or Bach, or Led Zepplin. Just mixing it up so they have a feel for ‘OK, my body can do this,’ but always focusing on the classical ballet technique.”

Hiplet includes the grace and technical elements of ballet but adds some of your favorite dance moves.

Nia Parker: “We incorporated voguing elements, we’ve incorporated locking elements, as well as popping.”

Remember voguing? Those were the days.

The show is presented by Culture Shock Miami at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. It’s a push to engage young audiences with different forms of art.

Christina Tassy-Beauvoir: “Culture Shock Miami is the audience development program of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. This is a performance that is two years in the making. We were set to present them in 2020, shortly before the pandemic hit, and we’re really excited to bring it back.”

Carolina Pupo-Mayo: “We’re having Hiplet perform here at the auditorium, because we thought it would be a wonderful idea to have ballet and hip-hop come together in a very exciting and exuberant show, and it’s a great way to introduce ballet to an audience that normally wouldn’t be able to see it.”

Guests are encouraged to have fun and be a part of the show.

Homer Bryant: “We want you to sing along, we want you to clap, we want you to have a good time. It’s entertainment, and we entertain you at the same time, so come, relax, sit back and enjoy.”

Hiplet will pirouette its way into town on Friday.

For more information, click here.



Art Lovers Can See the Light at ‘Ignite Broward’ in Fort Lauderdale



Art lovers are seeing the light in Fort Lauderdale, and those lights are pretty hard to miss because these artistic images aren’t inside a museum. They’re glowing on the sides of buildings and lighting up the night.

Broward County wants to have an “art to art” conversation about this year’s Fort Lauderdale Art and Design Week.

Andrew Martineau: “It’s essentially a week created to create a platform to showcase all of the incredible arts and cultural opportunities that are available here in Broward County.”

And there’s a lot of art to show you. In fact, they can’t wait to ignite your inner art fire with their latest interactive, immersive exhibits.

Phillip Dunlap: “‘Ignite’ is an exhibition that features artists from around the world and artists working in that medium of art technology.”

Artists like Edison Peñafiel who’s from South Florida. His work is being shown at Mad Arts.

Eddie Peñafiel: “’Maremagnvm’ brings this idea of the great sea of the Mediterranean, so it’s basically having a conversation between the Mediterranean sea and the Atlantic and the migration situation that happens in both areas.”

But that’s not the only place to catch all these beautiful works.

Phillip Dunlap: “Last year, we did some piloting of projecting art onto buildings in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. What you’re gonna see now is the next iteration of ‘Ignite,’ which is the three indoor installations we have here at Mad Arts, and then the three installations in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, and then an artist collective out of Europe called Glowing Bulbs is doing two of the art installations in Esplanade Park.”

With so much art, and so little time, head to the 954 where “Ignite” promises you’ll have a blast.

Phillip Dunlap: “The installations this year are a bit more immersive, they’re a bit more interactive, so what you’re gonna see is more experiential based.”

“Ignite Broward” kicks off Jan. 26.

For more information, click here.

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Syfy Series ‘Resident Alien’ Season 2 Premieres Wednesday



When you come to a new town, sometimes it’s hard to fit in.

It’s even harder when you’re a gross, scaly green monster.

Alan Tudyk stars in the new season of “Resident Alien.”

This season two preview is out of this world.

Tudyk is back as an intergalactic invader in the new season of “Resident Alien.”

If you missed the first season, there’s a reason why the alien is on earth.

Yeah, it’s a real bummer.

Alan Tudyk: “Harry is on planet Earth because, the humans are destroying it. Well, it’s not being taken care of, I think that’s all he said. It’s not being taken care of, and it’s in danger. His people on his planet need to destroy the human race so that it can be taken care of. He definitely decides to abandon his mission because he has found a connection with a human.”

Meredith Garretson: “It’s so exciting that we got season two, because it’s not over, and now it’s about Harry the alien not only, um, sticking around but learning an even deeper meaning of humanity.”

Corey Reynolds: “This is the best job I’ve had in my entire career. I started singing and dancing at a theme park at 16, and I’m 47 now, and this is the best job I’ve ever had.”

Catch the season 2 premiere of “Resident Alien” Wednesday on Syfy.

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Ancient Arab Temple Art Reveals Hybrid Camels



(CNN) — Evidence of ancient hybrid camels has been uncovered by archaeologists who were working to restore a temple in northern Iraq damaged by ISIS.

The Temple of Allat, which dates to the second century AD, is located in the city of Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once a sprawling metropolis, it served as the capital of the Kingdom of Hatra. The remains of the ancient city were heavily vandalized by religious extremists between 2015 and 2017. Before that, the temple had also suffered decades of neglect.

During restoration after the recent damage, researchers spied something unexpected in a frieze above a door of the Temple of Allat. The horizontal stone piece of artwork appeared to show hybrid camels that resulted from crossing two different breeds.

The depiction of these camels has helped researchers gain a better understanding of ancient Hatra, which was a small neighboring kingdom of the Roman and Parthian empires — though those neighbors were often more hostile than friendly.

The artwork also adds to the growing evidence that researchers have of when and where camel hybrids were bred. Previously, researchers believed different types of camels were crossbred primarily in expansive empires. This latest finding shows the practice was more widespread.

“The image appears to express a precise message — the direct involvement of the king in camel herding, management and hybridization practices,” said Massimo Vidale, an associate professor at the Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy.

Breeding hybrids of a sacred animal

The artwork was added to the temple during a renovation conducted by King Sanatruq I and his son, Abdsamiya in 168 AD, the researchers believe. It was during this time that the royals rededicated the temple to the goddess Allat, in addition to erecting nearly life-size statues of themselves.

Previous research on the stone frieze suggested that it depicted eight dromedaries, with two Bactrian camels in the middle.

Dromedaries are Arabian camels that sport one hump. These swift animals are ideal for riding or even racing. In contrast, Bactrian camels are native to Central Asia and have two humps. These hardy pack animals can withstand high altitudes, cold temperatures and even drought.

When Vidale and his colleagues took a closer look at the artwork, they noticed that the faces and fur of the two so-called Bactrian camels actually looked more like a cross between a Bactrian camel and dromedary.

And rather than a sizable space between the two humps, there was just a slight indentation — a trait that has been observed in hybrids of these camel breeds.

People have been breeding camels since the first century AD, according to the oldest hybrid camel animal skeletons recovered from the Roman and Parthian empires.

This husbandry practice went into effect thousands of years ago because it leads to stronger and more resilient animals. Hybrid camels could carry double the load of dromedaries and more than double what a Bactrian camel could support.

Despite its diminutive size when compared with the surrounding empires, the kingdom of Hatra was still able to import distant Bactrian camels from the steppes of Central Asia and breed camels as a show of power.

Political power flex

Camels were likely considered to be a sacred animal to Allat, and other sculptures and friezes within the temple show the goddess riding the animals sidesaddle.

The elaborate temple would have been seen by both religious visitors and the members of trade caravans. It might have even hosted markets.

“The construction of the Temple of Allat seems to be a bold move by King Sanatruq I, importing Allat — one of the most important pre-Islamic Arab deities,” Vidale said.

Creating and owning the best camels was also a political move because it created a direct association between the king and a sacred animal — and distinguished the kingdom from relying on its powerful neighbors.

“By appealing to Arab groups, the king made a serious step in the process of detaching Hatra from the shadow of the Parthian empire,” Vidale said.

The king might have even had a monopoly on the breeding of these special camels, as well as an interest “in the management of the long-distance caravans of an ancient Silk Road that could expand the trade interests that made Hatra so rich,” the researchers wrote in the study. “The camels of the king, after all, are always the best.”

A study detailing the findings published Tuesday in the journal Antiquity.


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