Music has the power to calm your anxiety, ease your depression, reduce your stress, and so much more – including transporting you back to years ago when music hit differently. With each generation embracing the nostalgia from past soundtracks, longing and loving the sounds of different tunes, today’s choreographers have a unique opportunity to lead you into once-shared or soon-to-be-discovered spaces. Using music tracks from the past in conjunction with dance and movement, audiences can experience everything from years ago as if they were there.  Bringing nostalgia to the stage is Dance Now! Miami co-artistic director Diego Salterini with “Pop.”

Salterini is sweeping audiences away to the 1980s, a mixed and revolutionary music era that saw several genres blossom, including pop, rock, heavy metal, hip-hop, and electronic. The co-artistic director’s premiere teams up with re-stagings of company co-director Hannah Baumgarten’s “Tethered” and New World School of Arts founding dean of dance Daniel Lewis’s “Open Book.”

The last millennium’s journey toward the end of the 20th century saw some of the bright times in music and some of the most dismal times. Yet, for Salterini, this musical era was noteworthy for its rhythms and beats that vibrated the dance floors, calling on the co-director to return to times from the best. 

Salterini revealed, “I’d been toying with the idea of using popular music for my contemporary dance pieces… I usually lean towards what’s more obscure or emotionally heavy. But let’s be real, my memories of growing up are full of Madonna, Tears for Fears, and Prince.”

AD 4nXc632jkaadT JR71tkAbym1j23wlh5LHhcQK8FloG3vile6qGIIfyKU

The 1980s songsters did not leave Salterini standing, reverberating in the Italian native’s body and soul. Reflecting on his upbringing as a teenager in Rome as a young professional dancer, Salterini expressed how significant American pop music was to entertainment across the globe, “And MTV was big. So, in my piece, there are all sorts of stylized video projections.”

Reflections of an era that saw the rise of Michael Jackson, Prince, Tears for Fears, Whitney Houston, and more can be seen in Salterini’s “Pop.” Turning back to a trusted collaborator, David Jaconello, for the correct period playlist, Salterini explained, “We went back and forth reimagining these songs… until we landed on a soundtrack that takes you on a journey. People my age will love this trip down memory lane, and younger generations, I hope, will come along for the ride.”

Madonna, Grace Jones, and Billy Idol made the “Pop” production, including Mped maintaining Salterini’s mission of creating a show that “still talks about teenage angst, first love, identity, the AIDS crisis, and youth power.” Yet, while each song contributes perfectly to the structure of the narrative, Salterini still emphasizes his style, blending “contemporary with modern and ballet vocabulary,” leading the choreography not always to reflect the meaning of each song.

The ‘Pop’ performances were a vibrant celebration of the 1980s, featuring a cast of five women and four men. The show lasted nearly 40 minutes, simmered with Grace Jones’s voice, and got steamy with Madonna’s “Justify My Love,” creating a dreamy communal atmosphere that left the audience wanting more.