MDF History



The Miami Dance Festival celebrates dance as an art form in one of the most dynamic urban centers in the U.S. – beautiful, exciting, stylish and fun loving Miami, Florida! The Festival honors dance traditions and encourages innovation, presenting a diverse palette of dance works and artists in a wide array of genres and styles. The Festival was created in 2003 by Momentum Dance Company’s Artistic Director Delma Iles with Dance Now Ensemble’s Diego Salterini and Hannah Baumgarten, in response to the severe funding cutbacks imposed by the State of Florida for the 2003-2004 season. It was envisioned as a cooperative event in which locally based groups would pool resources and work together to share marketing and production costs in order to still produce their spring seasons even though funds were strained.


The Isadora Duncan Dance Ensemble and Ballet Flamenco La Rosa immediately seized on the concept and initiated work on the Festival. Momentum obtained a community redevelopment grant from North Beach Development Corporation that secured the Festival in North Beach at the Byron Carlyle Theater and developed it further to assist North Beach in meeting its community redevelopment goals through arts and culture. The Festival was then approached by faculty members of Miami Dade College and New World School of the Arts who sought to build on the highly successful residency performed in Miami the previous season by the internationally acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company. The Graham Company also expressed extreme enthusiasm for the project and a willingness to work with the fledgling festival on keeping costs reasonable.


These elements formed the core of the Festival. It has grown tremendously since the pilot project in 2003, thus proving the strength of its concept and artistic direction. In addition to the founding companies, the Miami Dance Festival has presented nationally and internationally recognized dance artists including: the Martha Graham Company, the National Dance Company of the Bahamas, Ballet Contemporaneo de Oaxaca (Mexico), CORE Performance Group (Atlanta), the Carolyn Dorfman Company (NYC), The PGK Project (San Diego, CA), as well as innovative and community-oriented events such as Flamenco Cabaret Night, Dance on the Beach, Film Night, The Poetry Project, and an evening of Water Ballet. Florida-based companies Ballet Flamenco La Rosa, Brazz Dance Theater, Florida Dance Theatre and the Isadora Duncan Dance Company have made regular appearances and developed loyal fans. The Festival also offers master classes, lectures, panel discussions and other related activities to maintain a high level of dialogue about dance, as well as to provide a forum for community education and appreciation.


The Miami Dance Festival asserts that dance is vibrant, creative and unstoppable.  Dance is unique. You can’t buy it. You can’t own it. It exists only in the dynamic moment of action – then it is gone. There is no substitute. It is the ephemeral fleeting moment of perfection and inspiration that we all seek. Come dance with us!