Meet the Dancers – Didier Bramaz

George Balanchine’s The NutcrackerTM. Choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust. Photo © Leigh-Ann Esty.

iPhones all around!

Meet the Dancers – Carlos Miguel Guerra

As Romeo in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet.

With my wife Jennifer Kronenberg.

Meet the Dancers – Suzanne Limbrunner

Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The NutcrackerTM. Choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.

These are my two sisters: Chela (left) and Valerie (right).

Our Thoughts on Promethean Fire

Post by Rebecca King, Corps de Ballet

In Program III, Miami City Ballet brings you the third of four company premieres, Paul Taylor’s Promethean Fire. I sat down with a few dancers to talk to them about dancing this piece for the first time.

The last Paul Taylor work that MCB performed was Company B last season. For those of you who have seen this spectacular work, you may agree with Jennifer Lauren when she describes it as “playful and lighthearted.” But she mentions that this work is much different than Promethean Fire, not only in energy, but also in style. “Promethean Fire is much more controlled with a specific technique.” This piece is rumored to be Taylor’s choreographic reaction to the tragedy of 9/11. Leigh Esty observed that this piece reflects the sediments of that day, calling it “emotional, almost even dark.”

With a different Taylor style to conquer, Ms. Lauren said, “the steps began to feel good once I became more comfortable and more familiar with the ballet. Until then, it all felt very foreign to me.” Ms. Esty added that this piece is much more “modern” than any Taylor work the company has done in recent history.

“The first movement of Promethean Fire never stops. Getting through until the end was a challenge for me at first,” says Ms. Lauren. Ms. Esty adds that she found herself having difficulties with the steps where she had to gracefully get from a standing position to the floor. “I have never had to do so much crawling around on the floor in my life!” she muses.

The dancers’ favorite moment in this work was unanimous. “The first movement is fast and chaotic,” Ms. Lauren describes, “then all of a sudden everyone slows down moving in unison.” This section is called the “back exercise” as it is similar to an exercise you work on in a modern class. Ms. Esty agrees that she likes this moment adding, “the human pile we create at the end is also a highlight for me. It is a really powerful moment.”

There is always an element that the dancers look forward to most when it comes to dancing Taylor pieces: working with Patrick Corbin. Mr. Corbin danced for Paul Taylor, now has his own company CorbinDances, and comes to Miami to set Taylor pieces on MCB.

When I asked the dancers about Patrick, everyone began to gush. “I love Patrick. I think he has a really amazing way of seeing a dancer for who they are and working with them to develop into better dancers. He just helps you love yourself as a dancer,” says Stephen Satterfield. Ms. Lauren points out his positive and calming energy. Ashely Knox agrees, saying, “He knows that this style of dance is foreign to us and does everything he can to encourage us.” Ms. Esty chimes in saying, “He is just inspiring because you can tell he loves what he does and it makes you want to love what you do.”

Patrick Corbin working with MCB.

Meet the Dancers – Jeanette Delgado

Allegro Brillante. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexandre Dufaur.

The Scotch Girl

You may have seen Leigh-Ann Esty front and center during Program III in George Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony as the “Scotch Girl” soloist. If you haven’t seen her, you won’t want to miss this diverse program which includes Paul Taylor’s Promethean Fire and Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs. And Leigh dances in all three pieces!

We recently chatted with Leigh about the experience of dancing a featured role and dancing in these three, very different works.

Meet the Dancers – Renato Penteado

Tarantella. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Joe Gato.

A Special Relationship

Dancers have often expressed how amazing it is to have live music during performances again! There’s a special relationship that develops between the dancers and the orchestra that makes a world of difference, not only for the performers but for the audience as well. It changes everything. Some of the dancers shared with us some tidbits on this special relationship.

This was all made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Knight Arts Challenge. The 2011 challenge is already underway. You too can see your ideas come to life. The Knight Arts Challenge is accepting applications from organizations or individuals! Click here to apply. Hurry, the deadline is tomorrow, March 2.