(Miami-Dade County, FL) --
The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will present a FREE, live theatrical performance of the popular children's classic "Peter and the Wolf," at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, 2012, at the A.D. Barnes Park Leisure Access Center, 3401 SW 72 Ave., Miami. The production will feature performers who are enrolled in the Miami-Dade Parks Disability Services program for adults with intellectual disabilities, led by resident artists Joseph Valbrun of The Playground Theatre and choreographer Ana Miranda. The activity is being sponsored by a 2012 "In Park Series" grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.
"This group enjoys performing in front of a live audience," said Gisel Prado, a Miami-Dade Parks recreation therapist who oversees this group's programming at AD Barnes Park. "Programs like this provide creative and positive opportunities for people with a disability to engage in the Arts, and help them develop life skills and self confidence from seeing what they are able to do."
The stage production is based on Sergei Prokofiev's 1936 narrated fairy tale symphony Peter and the Wolf, about a young boy named Peter living in a forest with his grandfather, who with aid of his animal friends Bird, Cat and Duck tries to outwit and capture a cunning wolf.
"To make the production a fun, learning experience for those involved, we modified the play and added a few of their favorite songs to the original musical score, such as Here Comes the Sun, Good Day Sunshine (Beatles), Moon Dance (Van Moorison), and The Wind Cries Mary (Jimmy Hendrix)," said Valbrun, a professional musician and private music instructor with the Playground Theatre in Miami Shores, who has led the music and drama component at the Leisure Access Center for the past two years.
"Dance and movement helps to bring Peter and the Wolf to life, giving the participants the ability to embody the spirit of its lively characters," said Miranda, a professional Flamenco dancer and board certified dance and movement therapist and teaching artist who specializes in inclusion strategies for individuals with disabilities. She has lent her expertise to endeavors at the Leisure Access Center since 2005. "As a form of therapy, dance and movement helps to further the individual's well being, as it is based on the supported premise that the body and mind are interconnected."
In September 2011 Valbrun and Miranda first incorporated Peter and the Wolf as a two hour a week learning component at the Leisure Access Center, presenting movement, and theatrical exercises and activities tailored to motivate adults with intellectual disabilities. As a result of this endeavor, on April 3, 2012, the Leisure Access Center was awarded a $5,000 "In Park Series" grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs to create a theatrical production for a public audience.
"I have seen amazing progress in my daughter due to the wonderful Leisure Access Center staff that teaches them how to be part of the community," said Linda Silk, whose daughter Nicolle attends the Center and is a featured actress in the Peter and the Wolf production. "My daughter uses a wheelchair, but it makes her feel whole, because she gets to be in front while performing and that makes her feel very proud of herself.
"We took the group through a process, they learned about the different personalities of the story characters, practiced running lines in their scripts, created their own stage props, and learned how to express emotions and communicate feelings through movement and sound, project their voice, and develop an awareness of scene space and timing," said Valbrun.
The Leisure Access Center at AD Barnes Parks runs full day and weekend social, recreation, and independent life skills training programs for adults with developmental disabilities, and offers Special Olympics training programs. For more information contact, Miami-Dade Parks' Gisel Prado by phone at 305-665-5319.
About the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and more than 12,825 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more. For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1, or visit Miami-Dade Parks.
To request material in accessible format, information on access for persons with disabilities, or sign language interpreter services (7 days in advance), call 305-755-7848.