The Art of Choreology

During the past month, Jane Bourne has been in the studios staging John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. Jane teaches in a different way than our dancers are accustomed to…she teaches the ballet through choreology. Choreology (developed by Joan and Rudolf Benesh and also known as Benesh Movement Notation) is a system of dance notations. Choreologists like Jane use notations that have a five line stave that reads from left to right with bar lines to mark the passage of time (like in music). The five lines coincide with the head, shoulders, waist, knees and floor (from top to bottom) of the dancer. Other signs are used to notate the dimension and quality of the movement.

Jane studied dance notation at the Benesh Institute of Choreology. She has worked with ballet companies all over the world including The National Ballet of Canada, National Ballet of China, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, and Houston Ballet, among many others.

These are some examples of dance notations. It really does look like sheet music!

En Garde!

En Garde: a French warning, “On [your] guard.” A term in fencing adopted from the French warning (according to Wikipedia.org). It’s also the first thing fight coach Christian Sordelet taught our male dancers when he arrived. Christian, a former Junior Olympic fencer, recently visited us in sunny Miami Beach to coach the fight scenes in Romeo and Juliet! It’s amazing what the dancers learned from him in just one week.

Christian talked to us about working with the dancers and why he grew up in a house full of swords and fake blood! Plus, Kris got a stage fencing lesson from him!

The Road to City Center – 2 weeks down

Post by Sara Esty, Corps de Ballet

August 13, 2010

Hi all! We have just completed our second week back to work, and boy has it been tough. Between trying to learn all of Romeo and Juliet, and keeping up with The Golden Section for City Center, it seems as though everyone is exhausted! Nothing like a weekend to cure that though. Nonetheless, rehearsals are going well and I can feel the excitement for our New York trip growing!

New Faces

This is such an exciting moment to become a part of MCB. Many new dancers have joined the Company just in time to celebrate our 25th anniversary! Make sure you look for these new faces this season:

Reyneris Reyes, Principal Dancer
Emily Bromberg, Corps de Ballet
Adriana Piercy, Corps de Ballet
Alex Davison, Company Apprentice
Suzette Logue, Company Apprentice
Chase Swatosh, Company Apprentice
Andrei Chagas, School Apprentice
Joshua Brown, School Apprentice
Chloe Freytag, School Apprentice
Christina Spigner, School Apprentice
Kara White, School Apprentice

There are also some familiar faces who have returned to MCB:
Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez, Principal Dancer
Yann Trividic, Principal Dancer
Suzanne Limbrunner, Corps de Ballet

Photo: Several new dancers gather for a photo op -- Back row: Chase Swatosh, Joshua Brown, Alex Davison, Renan Cerdeiro (not new, but he jumped in the photo!), Emily Bromberg, Chloe Freytag, Suzette Logue, Adriana Piercy; Front row: Andrei Chagas, Kara White, Christina Spigner

The Road to City Center

MCB has been invited to New York City Center to make our debut in the 2010 Fall for Dance festival. The Company returns to City Center after a critically acclaimed, triumphant debut in 2009. The dancers will perform Twyla Tharp’s energetic “The Golden Section” on September 28th and 29th. Fall for Dance, running September 28th – October 9th, 2010, will showcase 20 dance companies and choreographers from across the United States and around the world.

Corps de ballet member Sara Esty will be one of the dancers traveling to New York for the debut. She will be keeping a digital diary on MCB Blog as we follow her on the road to City Center! Her first few entries touch on the early stages of rehearsals.

MCB’s Road to City Center – by Sara Esty

I have always loved dancing and performing Twyla Tharp’s pieces. From In the Upper Room, to Push Comes to Shove, she is constantly challenging her dancers’ brains and pushing their boundaries. That is what I find so fascinating about it: it feels impossible when you first learn it, but by the time you get around to performing it, it feels almost natural to you. When I first learned “The Golden Section”, I thought to myself “Seriously? I’ll never be able to do this.” Not only did I surprise myself, but it is now one of my favorite things to perform. Dancing her works is such a gratifying and self fulfilling experience, one that I wish every dancer could experience and feel. Because honestly, you have got to feel it to believe the power of it.

June 7, 2010
The first day back to work is always a bittersweet one. This particular layoff was exactly what everyone needed: short but sweet, 4 nice weeks of rest and relaxation. I walked into the studios feeling refreshed and ready for whatever might be up on that bulletin board. There was a memo from company manager Abram Best that caught my attention…It explained to us that we would be taking Twyla Tharp’s “The Golden Section” to NYC this September and would be performing it in New York City Center’s Fall for Dance festival. How exciting!! To be included in such a large festival is definitely an accomplishment for our company. Crista Villella (our ballet mistress who primarily handles all of Twyla’s works here) had been in touch with Twyla, who showed much interest in being included to make the piece its best. Crista sent DVDs to Twyla of our performances of the piece, and she in turn offered her corrections and advice. So the cast got to work, taking her criticisms and applying her knowledge. I could feel the energy growing from everyone; just knowing Twyla wanted to help and be a part of it was enough motivation for everybody!

June 17, 2010
Today is our first progression filming of Golden Section to send to Twyla. I know everyone is a little nervous, and I can feel the tension in the room. I am freaking out just a little bit! Even though most of us got to work with Twyla a few years ago on her world premiere of “Nightspot” (choreographed on MCB), she is still such a big deal to all of us. We want to do her piece justice, and to make her proud of her work. Here goes nothing!

June 24, 2010
Phew!! Twyla was pleased with our progress. She sent an email to Crista, who read it aloud to us. “Good job, Crista. Already so much better.” Thank goodness…she went on and broke down the piece for specifics. It was so interesting to hear her take on things, and exactly what she wants from certain parts. This is already such an incredible experience; I have always admired her and her philosophies of dance. Elaine Kudo (who used to be one of Twyla’s dancers) is here setting another one of her pieces on us for the upcoming 2010-2011 season (Baker’s Dozen), and has offered to help with the corrections.

Stay tuned!

(Photo by Leigh-Ann Esty)

MCB School’s little bright stars

Miami City Ballet School runs year round – we never stop! Friday will mark the end of the two-week summer program (a program for dancers who are still too young for our five-week intensive program). A presentation will take place on that day to showcase what these little bright stars have learned over the past couple weeks. Rafi Maldonado, the head of our jazz department, recently chatted with us about the program and the kids.

Our summer in one sentence

The dancers have officially been back for one week! Now that the summer layoff is over, some of them share a one-liner about their time off.

“I cleared my mind.” –Bradley Dunlap

“I helped set Swan Lake on the Summer Program’s Advanced Two dancers.” –Rebecca King

“I traveled to NYC, Canada, and lastly Los Angeles where I went to go see/support former MCB dancer, Alex Wong, on So You Think You Can Dance!” –Cindy Huang

“I married my best friend.” –Callie Manning

“I taught for the MCB Summer Intensive.” –Jennifer Kronenberg

“I taught at the Miami City Ballet School Summer Intensive and rested in Miami with family and friends!” –Patricia Delgado

“I spent time with my family up north and celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday!” –Ashley Knox

“This summer I ate tons of lobster and enjoyed being home in Maine with my family!” –Sara Esty

“I began studying to get a Florida real estate license.” –Carlos Guerra

“This summer I ‘staycationed’ here in Miami and taught inspiring little ballerinas at the MCB summer course!” –Jeanette Delgado

“I celebrated my one year anniversary with my husband this summer!” – Jennifer Lauren

“I spent my summer becoming familiarized with the subway lines running in and out of Brooklyn.” –Zoe Zien

“This summer I danced in Miami and Seattle, and went home to Southern California to visit my family.” – Chase Swatosh

“I went to Italy and Switzerland and had the best food and wine!!” –Tricia Albertson

“This summer I became the ambassador for the non-profit organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now, and organized a walkathon for October 2, 2010 on South Pointe Park! Come out and walk to raise awareness and put an end to child sex trafficking!” –Amanda Weingarten

“I went to Europe… and Dollywood!” –Michael Breeden

“This summer I spent my layoff with my wonderful family and friends at home in St. Petersburg, FL.” -Nicole Stalker

“Over the summer, I followed a deer into the woods and found a rare white deer to photograph as well!!! It was AWESOME!” –Leigh-Ann Esty

Sisters, and principal dancers, Patricia and Jeanette Delgado vacation together in Acapulco!

Hear all about it

You’ve seen the August/September issue of Pointe Magazine…now hear straight from cover girl (and principal dancer) Patricia Delgado what it was like to shoot it! Find out who chose the costumes, how she prepared for the shoot and what part of her feature story made her emotional.