Delma Iles

If grace, strength and stamina define modern dance, they are also essential character traits of the individuals who keep contemporary dance companies in motion and thriving, decade after decade. For Momentum Dance Company, one of the oldest contemporary dance companies in South Florida, founder and Artistic Director Delma Iles has provided the vision -- and the determination – that propels the company into its 20th season.

Returning from a Rotary Foundation Fellowship in Paris in 1982, Iles and former soloists  Karen Peterson and Nan Imbesi from the disbanded Fusion Dance Company founded Momentum Dance. “The company was founded out of artistic necessity. Each of us wanted to stay in South Florida and we needed a venue in which to work,” said Iles.

She holds an M.F.A. Degree in Dance from New York University and a B.A. in Teaching of Dance from Virginia Intermont College. She has danced with the Cincinnati Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Atlanta Ballet. In New York she worked with Rachel Lampert and Dancers and Stuart Hodes as well as choreographer Steve Goldbas and theatre director Mark Roth.

In Miami, Iles has been a soloist with Fusion Dance Company and Guest Artist with Ballet Concerto, the Greater Miami Opera, the Gold Coast Opera, and the Miami Chamber Symphony. She studied in Paris with Yves Casati and Alexandre Nourkil on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship and was awarded Florida Arts Fellowships for choreography in 1987 and 1992, as well as New Forms Florida Grant in 1993 and 1998. In addition to creating more than forty works for Momentum, she has choreographed two Off-Broadway shows, several works for the Greater Miami Opera, work for the Florida Shakespeare Festival, and three programs for WPBT Channel 2.

Iles’ Sand Dance was included in a documentary film on the arts in Florida commissioned by the Florida Arts Council, her choreography for the Coconut Grove Children’s Theater’s production of The Me Nobody Knows won an Emmy Award in 1983; and she has created works for the Dance Umbrella of Miami, Metro-Dade Art in Public Places, Miami Dance Theatre, the Tallahassee Civic Ballet, Ballet Pensacola, the Bristol Concert Ballet Company (Bristol, VA.), and Ballet Concerto among others.

She currently heads the Dance Program at Miami-Dade College, Wolfson Campus. With extensive experience in dance education, Iles has designed five specific Momentum Dance Company educational programs for youngsters in grades 1-12: Looking at Dance, Dance and Animals, Dance and Sports, Dance and Poetry, and Dance and Visual Arts. Her works for children are influenced by the natural environment, sports, animals, literature, and visual art. Among her innovative dance works for children are: Power Hitter, Peter and the Wolf, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood, Mark Twain’s Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Duet for Dancer and Electric Car American Suite, and Everybody Wants to be a Cat.

Iles is inspired by many types of music, including jazz, classical, folk, experimental, environmental sounds, Japanese, and Bluegrass in her programs and  validates their appropriateness for dance.

She has created dance works for youth programs by the Greater Miami Opera, the Miami Chamber Symphony, Metro-Dade Art in Public Places, the Children's Cultural Coalition, the Florida Shakespeare Festival, the Coconut Grove Children’s Theater, and the Center for the Fine Arts (now called the Miami Art Museum).

Her experience and repertoire is extensive after more than thirty years of theatre performances, master classes, workshops, and lecture demonstrations in Dade County Public Schools, Broward County Schools, private schools in South Florida, libraries, museums, art galleries, and other public facilities.

And always, Iles provides the vision and the direction – indeed, the momentum- to Momentum Dance Company and its 35 years of achievement to become South Florida’s premiere contemporary dance company. So on with the dance…