LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

MCB Shares the Art of Costume Creation

Last Friday Miami City Ballet headed to NSU’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale to spend some time with students at the Auto Nation Academy of Art + Design Creative Summer Art Academy.

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Our Costume Designer & Director, Haydee Morales, along with Costume Artist Maria Morales, who also happens to be her sister, took a group of approximately 60 students (ages 5-18) on a creative journey of costume and wardrobe design. From inception to execution, Haydee and Maria described the many different sides of costume design, from how long it can take to create wardrobe for a ballet, to where they get their materials—even noting the Wardrobe team’s frequent trips to New York City since supplies can be hard to find locally.

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When describing her creative process, Haydee, who has been a part of the Miami City Ballet family since 1986, explained that in costume design, all an artist has to rely on is his or her mind and hands.

After the demonstration, it was time to get hands-on. The young artists got up close to various finished pieces from past MCB performances, excitedly examining several intricate costumes, headpieces and masks. Later, the kids even shared some of their own original creations made during their time at the summer art academy.

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A big thank you to Bonnie Clearwater &  NSU’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale for hosting us. We hope to visit again soon!

The Life of a Miami City Ballet Student: Gustavo Pacheco

Our 5-week Summer Intensive is quickly coming to a close. It’s hard to believe that just five weeks ago, Miami City Ballet School welcomed over 200 students—some coming from as far as Brazil, Italy and even Poland. Nerves were high for many of our first-timers during the first week, but it wasn’t long before you could see confidence building, friendships forming and, of course, a whole lot of dancing.

Over the past week, our school faculty has been evaluating student hopefuls for the opportunity to attend Miami City Ballet School’s Pre-Professional Year-Round Program. We decided to catch up Gustavo Pacheco, one of our Summer Intensive students who also attends Year-Round program, to get an insider’s look at what life is like at Miami City School.

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MCB: How long have you been attending Miami City Ballet School?
GP: I started as a student in Miami City Ballet School in September of last year.

MCB: What were your first days here like?
GP: For me, the experience was very different from what I was used to in Brazil. Besides being in a different place, the training here was different too. For example, in Brazil, I had many female teachers, so I hadn’t really had a chance to learn male technique from a male dancer. When I came to Miami City Ballet School, I began learning from male dancers, which was very helpful, but also very challenging. Here, the boys get to work on male technique every day. This wasn’t something I was used to.

MCB: What type of classes do you take at Miami City Ballet School?
GP: Now during the summer, the boys take a Men’s Technique class in the mornings. After that, everyone takes a Variations class. After lunch, we usually take classes like Jazz, Modern, Floor Barre and, for the boys, Weight Training. Then after that we have rehearsal, of course.

MCB: What is your favorite class?
GP: Out of all the classes, I think my favorite class is the Men’s Technique class. Here, I feel like I get a chance to do the most of what I love, which is classic ballet. This class makes me feel good.

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MCB: How many hours do you train?
GP: We dance from 9:30AM to 4:30PM with a one-hour lunch break, so about 6 hours a day, Monday through Saturday.

MCB: Do you have any daily rituals, either before or after dancing?
GP: Before class I usually eat something small like cereal. I don’t really like eating too much in the morning, but I’ll have something so I don’t dance on an empty stomach. Before class I also like to warm up, massaging my legs and anywhere on my body that feels tight.

After class, I usually go to the gym and ice my legs, then put them in hot water to relax them. This was recommended to me because I had an injury not too long ago. It helps prevent my muscles from staying tight, and gets me ready for the next day.

MCB: What do you like to do after class?
GP: I like to hang out with my friends, but I also love to just be in my apartment and watch TV or movies. I am sometimes too tired to go out, so getting to be home is great.

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MCB: What is your favorite part of being a student at Miami City Ballet School? What is the most challenging part?
GP: My favorite part is that I’ve been able to receive a lot of training in male technique. I think this type of training is very helpful because I eventually want to dance as a professional. At the same time, learning more male technique has also been the most challenging part because I’m learning how to do new things with my body.

MCB: What advice would you give for students just starting out at MCBS?
GP: I think that as a new student it’s important to remember to be respectful to everyone around you, both teachers and students. Your first impression is what everyone will remember about you. New students should also come here mentally and physically ready because it’s very hard work.

MCB: What are you looking most forward to this year?
GP: I am excited to be working as a student apprentice with the Miami City Ballet dancers. I just found out a few days ago that I would be taking on this role. I cannot wait to get a chance to work with the company.

MCB Dancers Take Italy

It’s been a couple of weeks since our dancers wrapped up rehearsals with choreographer Justin Peck. Since then, they’ve all been enjoying some additional time off this summer, getting plenty of much-needed rest and relaxation. But as we’ve learned quite well, it’s rarely all play and no work for our dancers. In fact, we recently caught up with principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro, who, earlier this month, performed at the Florence Dance Festival at the National Museum of Bargello in Italy–the same museum that houses Donatello’s famous Statue of David.

The show, titled Stars of American Ballet, featured Tricia and Renan, along with principal couples from New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet.

National Museum of Bargello in Italy. Photo courtesy of Tricia Albertson & Renan Cerdeiro.

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Principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro.

“It was set up in an outside courtyard with sculptures surrounding–so beautiful,” Tricia told us. “Renan and I performed excerpts from ApolloChutes and Ladders, and Who Cares?.” After the performance, the two took some time to take in the sights of Italy, along with fellow MCB dancer Jovani Furlan. Check out these gorgeous photos.

Tricia, Jovani and Renan enjoy a gondola ride.

Tricia, Renan and Jovani pose for a photo.

Thank you to Tricia, Renan and Jovani for sharing your experience with us!

Miami City Ballet Tickets on Sale Next Week!

Our 2014-2015 of season of dance is quickly approaching! That means single tickets for our full season, as well as the holiday favorite, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,  officially go on sale July 14th.

Marking our 29th season, we’re offering one of the most exciting ones yet, blending some classic ballet favorites with several company premieres, including a world premiere created specifically for MCB dancers by one of today’s most sought after choreographers, Justin Peck.

Check out the full 2014-2015 Season Preview below. 

Summer at Miami City Ballet School

Summer is in full swing at Miami City Ballet; and while our company dancers may be off for the next five weeks, our school is abuzz with activity, from summer intensives to a full lineup of community classes.

It’s All About Summer Intensive
Last week we kicked off our 5-week Summer Intensive, welcoming over 200 students. The program, which will conclude with a Summer Repertory Performance on Friday, July 25th, is designed for serious dancers ages 12-19. Students here take classes such as Ballet Technique, Pointe, Pas de Deux, Floor Barre, Jazz and others, and are taught by Miami City Ballet School faculty, Miami City Ballet artistic staff, including Ballet Masters and Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director, and Company dancers.

Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez teaching students during a Summer Intensive class.

Meanwhile, the school’s Brazilian Summer Intensive, led by Alice Arja, our international relations liaison, kicked off yesterday with 70 students in attendance for the summer.

What’s most exciting, each year select students from the summer intensive will be chosen and invited to attend Miami City Ballet School’s Pre-Professional Year-Round Program, considered to be one of the most prestigious ballet training programs in America. This program prepares advanced students for a career in dance, with a focus on technique, artistry and expanding dance styles and repertoire. More than half of the dancers on Miami City Ballet’s current roster started as students in the pre-professional division.

Dance, Fitness and Fun
You don’t have to be an aspiring professional to enjoy Miami City Ballet School. This summer, we are offering a wide variety of workshops and classes for everyone—from children to adults, first-timers to more experienced dancers—in a relaxed and welcoming environment.  Our ongoing summer schedule includes classes such as Ballet 101, Pilates, Broadway Jazz and Floor-Barre®.

Want to learn more? Visit our www.miamicityballet.org/school for class schedules and pricing. You can also find out more about our upcoming Open House here.

 

This Week at MCB—YoungArts Salon Series & Justin Peck in Studio

It’s been an exciting week at Miami City Ballet. Our dancers are wrapping up an intense few weeks in the studio rehearsing with choreographer Justin Peck, where they’ve been learning a brand-new ballet that will premiere during the final program of the 2014-2015 Season in March.

Justin and Sufjan on stage at the YoungArts Salon Series. Photo via Miami City Ballet Instagram.

Justin and Sufjan on stage at the YoungArts Salon Series. Photo via @miamicityballet on Instagram.

After getting a sneak peek into yesterday’s rehearsal, our team headed over to watch Justin speak at the YoungArts Salon Series in downtown Miami. During the discussion, titled, “The Art of Collaboration,” Justin, along with singer-songwriter and musician Sufjan Stevens, talked about their most recent partnership on the ballet, Everywhere We Go, which premiered earlier this year at New York City Ballet and featured a nine-movement orchestral score.

The discussion was an insightful look into what inspires Justin as an artist. He credits everyday life as one of his biggest muses; his love for experimenting with and mixing different art forms; and locally by the street art throughout Miami’s Wynwood and downtown neighborhoods.

In fact, the new work he’s choreographing on our dancers—Justin’s second with the Company—will showcase art design by the popular street artist Shepard Fairey – best known for his work on the Obama Hope poster and his large murals adorning local streets and establishments such as the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.

MCB Dancers in studio with Justin. Photo via @bexking on Instagram.

MCB Dancers in studio with Justin. Photo via @bexking on Instagram.

In a recent post on the MCB blog, dancer Michael Breedan notes, The company has developed a passion for new choreography in the past years, with choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett making works on us. Justin’s new work promises to fulfill its dancers and audiences in the same way those great choreographers did. His ballets abound with fresh, exciting and innovative use of the corps and so many visually striking dance images that repeated viewings are practically a must. He has a musical response that actually enhances the score, rather than uses it for effect. Each step in his works unfolds naturally, with fluidity, grace and style.”

Our dancers wrap up rehearsal with Justin today, and we must say, we can’t wait for the finished product! 

Learn more about choreographer Justin Peck here.

And make sure to follow us on Instagram for exclusive looks into rehearsal with our dancers!

 

 

Dancers Are Back!

Our dancers have returned to the studios after their 5-week break to start learning a brand new ballet by choreographer Justin Peck. This is Justin’s second ballet for MCB, which will premiere during our final program of the 2014-2015 Season in March. His new work calls for a large cast of dancers and scenery by the popular street artist Shepard Fairey – best known for his work on the Obama Hope poster and also for his large murals adorning local streets and establishments such as the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. To capture the creation process behind his new work on our Instagram feed is corps de ballet dancer Emily Bromberg! Follow her at #EmilyMCBphotos to get an intimate look at Justin making choreographic magic!

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Emily Bromberg

Since the end of our 2013-2014 Season I have kept myself busy by guest performing in Rhode Island, Virginia and New York.  With all of these great guest performing opportunities the last two months, I am ready to start our 2014-2015 Season!

Tinker Bell

Miami City Ballet dancer Emily Bromberg as ‘Tinker Bell’ in Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Jorden Morris’s ‘Peter Pan.’ Photo by A. Cemal Ekin/keptlight.com.

I will be taking over Miami City Ballet’s Instagram feed to share some sneak peaks of Justin Peck’s new ballet, set specifically on MCB dancers! I knew I liked Justin’s work when I first saw Chutes and Ladders,’ but I knew I loved his work when I attended our ‘Open Barre’ performances this Spring. His calm demeanor and insistence on portraying a specific idea using not only the bodies of his dancers, but also the psychological and emotional tools we all carry, inspired me a great deal! I look forward to the next few weeks to watching him create a new piece that I’m sure will be a must see for all of our audiences! – Emily


SEE ALSO: 

Get to Know Choreographer Justin Peck! 

More photos by A. Cemal Ekin: keptlight.com

(Under)Water Ballet!

Not only have our dancers been getting back in shape for three weeks of rehearsals ahead with choreographer Justin Peck starting on Monday, but they have also been learning how to hold their breath! Why? For tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot with Fort Lauderdale’s new glossy, high-society magazine Venice!

Interestingly, one of our dancers has a leg up over the others! Corps de ballet dancer Chase Swatosh tells us about his life before dance as a semi-professional swimmer and diver below!

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Chase Swatosh

I began swimming when I was a baby and was on a competitive club swim team from the age of 8 to 15, when I transferred to diving on my high school dive team. In swimming, I qualified for and competed in many junior olympics swim meets (usually two per year).  One year, two of the relay teams I was on made the top 16 times in the nation — one of which was second in the nation. For the two seasons I dove, I competed in CIF (California Interscholastic Federation – state championship). The latter season I qualified for All American but didn’t quite make the cut. 

I loved both swimming and diving although they’re different. Swimming is probably the most physically challenging type of exercise I’ve ever done (besides dance) which makes it great for conditioning and cross training. It teaches you to have amazing breathing control and to be mentally disciplined to finish races strong, even when your body wants to give up. This, of course, is very applicable to dance, among other things in life as well.

Balanchine

Dubbed as Balanchine’s ‘underwater ballet,’ ‘Ballo della Regina’ appears to take place in a beautiful grotto. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Diving is a different story; it is dynamically physically demanding but not nearly as intensive as swimming or dance. Having also been something of a gymnast (mostly tumbling) diving was a natural progression for me. Flexibility and body awareness from dance and gymnastics helped me a lot in diving. It’s  probably the most fun activity I’ve ever done. 

My philosophy about cross training is that anytime you learn a new sport or activity, you are learning to use your body in a new way. I think dance — or ballet specifically — is the pinnacle of physical activities where body awareness is absolutely crucial. So anytime I learn a different way to use my body, even if it’s totally contrary to ballet technique, that information becomes extremely helpful and in some way applicable to dance. – Chase

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for some fun behind-the-scenes shots of tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot! 

SEE ALSO:
Principal dancer Patricia Delgado’s summer cross training tips!

Mr’ “B’s” Underwater Ballet – Ballo della Regina

How to Revitalize Your Ballet Body

Summer is a time for our dancers to take a break from the stage for some well-deserved relaxation and recovery. However, the work never truly ends. Even during their time off, professional dancers practice healthy habits and various activities to keep their bodies and minds conditioned for the  grueling season to come. Principal dancer Patricia Delgado shares 6 tips that help her rejuvenate during the summer months off.

Ballet Body

Patricia Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Apollo.’

Every year during the summer layoff I set different goals for myself.  When we are working during the season, almost all of my focus is devoted to performing. By the end, I feel accomplished and grateful, but also physically and emotionally drained. The layoff can be a time to explore the physical rest, recovery and cross-training aspect of our work and also a time to find inspiration elsewhere such as teaching, exploring other art forms and traveling!  

Patricia’s Tips: 

Replenish Nutritionally
The layoff is a good time to make sure our muscles heal. One way of doing that is through eating healthy foods. I have had the pleasure of being in New York City during this break and have enjoyed the many delicious ethnic restaurants NYC has to offer, especially Indian and Asian cuisines which have many healing properties in their spices! With the extra energy, I’ve been exploring new recipes, for example, cooking more meats and fish. I’ve also been baking because its very therapeutic to me.  I even took a baking course to sharpen up some of my skills at the Institute of Culinary Education.  It’s great to shift your focus and work your brain in a different way!  

Sleep
I’ve made it a point to sleep in and take naps during this layoff as well. As dancers, we are “on” all the time and expected to perform our best night after night. Sleep is one thing that sometimes gets neglected.  Catching up on sleep has really helped me feel rejuvenated physically and emotionally.

Gyrotonics®
I’ve immersed myself in Gyrotonics® this break!  I have always had a love and respect for the work especially when coming back from injuries, but I never felt like I had enough time and energy during the season to continue digging deeper and understanding the work better.  Working one on one with a trainer has been helpful to address certain habits that sneak into our movement patterns.  I have found new ways of moving that I am excited to apply this season coming up!  

(Gyrotonics? Watch Patricia’s sister Jeanette Delgado in our Gyrotonics® 101 video!)

Travel
I find exploring new cities to be extremely inspiring and invigorating.  New York City is charged with creativity and stimuli!  I saw Cabaret on Broadway for the first time and was blown away.  I even biked the Williamsburg bridge!  Just roaming the streets and exploring new neighborhoods was great fun!  I was fortunate enough to visit Charleston, SC for the opening of Shepard Fairey’s “Power and Glory” art exhibit (Shepard will be collaborating with Justin Peck for his new piece on us next season).  Hearing him explain his process and thoughts on art and life inspired me not only as an artist but as an individual living in our society.  I look forward to exploring more of his work and honored to be a part of this incredible collaboration next season.  In addition, I saw Hubbard Street perform and attended several Chamber music concerts.  I left feeling extremely inspired and wanting to explore some modern and contemporary classes as well as possibly going back to taking piano lessons.

Research
One thing that has become a staple of mine during the layoff has been researching the ballets we will be performing the following season.  I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to researching ballets.  I love learning about the history of the work and watching old videos as well as watching performances of the ballets and how they are danced today by other companies.  The Library for the Performing Arts in NYC has an incredible array of information especially on the Balanchine ballets.  You can watch original ballerinas coach ballerinas of today.  It’s incredible the amount of details that can be passed on to keep these ballets as alive as they were when Balanchine created them!  Watching New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre perform live is always great inspiration! Going to the theater when on layoff is the most fulfilling because I find myself watching as a fan and an admirer.  While in season, there is a personal focus that changes the way in which I enjoy the the theater.

Ballet Class
Of course, taking class is a must!  No matter what extracurricular activities you do, nothing replaces a ballet class!  Its like eating breakfast, NECESSARY!  It’s been great to take class with different teachers around NYC!  Keeping the mind and body awake and taking in different thoughts and ideas teachers have about ballet has been helpful and stimulating!

Catch Patricia onstage when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October! 

Summer on Instagram

Our dancers have been everywhere this summer, making guest appearances and holding various teaching gigs at dance companies and studios across the country. This weekend, we are so lucky to have corps de ballet dancer Rebecca King taking over our Instagram feed to get an inside look at what she and our other dancers are up to this summer. Follow her at #RebeccaMCBphotos and check out what she has planned for her ‘gram-worthy’ weekend in NYC below!

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Rebecca King

Right now, we are getting close to the end of our first summer layoff. These weeks off in the summer are extremely important for us. After 40-plus straight weeks of dancing 7 days a week during our season, this time to rest and recover is essential as we are able to take time to treat nagging injuries and cross-train. While we continue to work to strengthen our worn down bodies from a long season, we also find some time to travel! This weekend I will be joining fellow MCB dancers in a visit to New York City.

We haven’t all been together in quite sometime now, so we are all very excited to enjoy the city together. On Saturday night we are thrilled to be attending New York City Ballet’s performance of Justin Peck’s new ballet “Everywhere We Go.” This will be especially exciting for us as Justin will be joining us in Miami when we return to work on June 9th to start his new ballet set to premier during the 2014-2015 Season in Program IV: Points of Departure. I have only seen the Pas de Deux that Justin choreographed for MCB a couple of seasons ago, so I can’t wait to get another preview of what is to come for MCB!

I am so looking forward to enjoying time with great friends and I hope you enjoy following our adventures through Instagram! – Rebecca

 Check out this preview of Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go for New York City Ballet.