Zoe Zien in Dance Magazine

Corps de ballet member Zoe Zien is featured in the style section of
Dance Magazine (April 2012), where she shares all her must-haves!


As Program IV begins, we can’t help but look ahead to all the exciting things the 2012-2013 season will bring. We are especially excited to announce the dancers who have been promoted for the new season!

Please join us in congratulations the following dancers!

Promoted to Principal Soloist:

Callie Manning in In The Upper Room © Choreography by Twyla Tharp. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Kleber Rebello in La Sonnambula. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.
Renan Cerdeiro in Square Dance. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Promoted to Corps de Ballet:
Chloe Freytag
Kara White
Lexie Overholt

Becoming Berthe

Post by Adriana Pierce, Corps de Ballet

Adriana Pierce and Jennifer Kronenberg in rehearsal. Photo by Ezra Hurwitz.

An artist’s comfort zone is something to be both treasured and feared. Great risks can be taken when an artist feels safe and confident. But creativity is often the most inspired, the most dangerous, the most innovative when an artist is forced to think outside of his or her world. Sometimes, those moments are the ones in which art grows the most.

I am a dancer who has whole-hearted reverence for 20th century neo-classicism and I have had very little exposure to the 19th century classical ballets. Indeed, if you had asked me a few months ago to describe Giselle, I probably would have just mumbled something about a Mad Scene and some ghosts. Or I may have shrugged and said stubbornly, “It’s old.” However, having now spent a large part of this season working on Giselle, I have come to appreciate the role that it plays in the history of the development of dance, and I am so inspired by the challenges it has presented to me.

An important aspect of the 19th century ballet masterworks is the use of pantomime- a storytelling device consisting of series of gestures which take the place of spoken conversation. Each gesture represents a word or an idea that is essential to moving the plot forward. I had only a vague understanding of pantomime until I was granted the opportunity to learn the role of Giselle’s mother, Berthe, in our production, so I have researched and worked hard to prepare myself. Within the ballet, each thought is expressed by large, sweeping gestures for which the music has been very specifically composed. Though I have a background in acting and musical theater, the language of pantomime is both freer and more limited than any expression of text I have ever encountered. In fact, when Giselle premiered in 1841, the emergence of pantomime as a narrative means was criticized for a lack of realism. Audiences had a hard time buying into the characters’ pantomime interactions, and felt that the movements alone were not sufficient enough to carry the story.

For the past few months, I have continuously asked myself: How do I produce each movement as it was aesthetically intended while still giving each gesture an honest portrayal of the thought it represents? How can I uphold the historical importance of pantomime but make my performance real, organic, and relevant to a 21st century audience? Can I make Giselle’s mother into a multi-dimensional and sincere character while staying within the confines of the ballet-pantomime style? Working to answer these questions has challenged me to explore movement as an expression of emotion in new ways. I have had to bring Berthe to life using a different set of dramatic tools than I would normally rely upon. I am learning to trust new, separate instincts in order to create a character in the world in which she belongs.

The characters of Giselle exist in a place of theatre which is entrenched in language, yet which manifests its ideas in only gestured words. Though, truthfully, conquering a dance piece from 1841 was not on my bucket list, my Giselle experience has given me an opportunity to learn about and grow closer to the complexities of theatricality and performance. Visiting works from the past does not mean a halt in progress; it reveals to us what our art form can be in the future. I am thrilled at the chance to discover and dream, and to add a little bit of myself into the ballet which has enchanted audiences for over a century.

Giselle: “The Wilis”

The Wilis have to work extra hard on their appearance before going on stage to take revenge on men in the forest and making them dance to their deaths! Act two of Giselle requires special hair and makeup, and some of the girls have just a 20-minute intermission to get it all done! Corps member Suzanne Limbrunner talked to some of the Wilis while they were getting ready for show time.

There is still one more chance to see Giselle! MCB performs the romantic classic this weekend at Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

MCB reaches out to the community with free performances for children

We think everyone should be able to enjoy ballet! Therefore MCB does everything in its power to make this art form accessible to families who otherwise wouldn’t make it to the theater – hence, Ballet for Young People (BFYP). The tickets to these performances are free and provide the opportunity for children and their loved ones to attend MCB performances. This season brings two BFYP performances: Carnival of the Animals – The Swansong (performed by MCB School) and Coppélia (performed by the Company). The programs chosen for this special series are ballets that are relatable to children and families, and are an excellent introduction to ballet.

Carnival of the AnimalsThe Swansong was performed by Miami City Ballet School advanced students at Adrienne Arsht Center on Saturday, February 18. It is a story that teaches us about the importance of respecting and living in harmony with nature. The plot was carefully designed to engage young audiences using relatable characters, colorful costumes and dynamic choreography. Children in the audience were marveled by the show and the MCB School students had a wonderful time performing the piece!

This family scored great seats! Photo by Eileen Soler.

These MCB fans brought special guests with them! Photo by Eileen Soler.

Almost show time! Photo by Eileen Soler.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

On Saturday, March 31 at 2pm, ballet lovers of all ages will enjoy excerpts from comedic and charming Coppélia, as part of Adrienne Arsht Center’s Family Fest series. This performance is already sold out; however, the Company will also perform the full-length version on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m.

MCB thanks the following supporters of Ballet for Young People: The Rockefeller Foundation, Peacock Foundation, Nordstrom, The Rundgren Foundation and Citizens Interested in Arts.

Post-Performance Rituals

Post by Nicole Stalker, Corps de Ballet

Artists of every kind depend on their instruments to create a masterpiece. Without proper care and maintenance, these instruments can lose their effectiveness. Ballet dancers’ bodies serve as the translation of our art form, and it is our responsibility as professionals to provide ourselves with the best possible care.  Many dancers depend not only on physical therapy and strengthening exercises, but also on post-performance rituals. Although many of us share similar cool down techniques, each dancer tailors a specific routine to meet their individual needs.

Personally, I have found that ice is one of the most effective treatments for a tired body. Icing after a workout alleviates inflammation and pain. An ice bucket works wonders for me after a long day of rehearsals. I fill a bucket with ice and water, and then soak my legs below the knee for ten-to-twelve minutes. Although the process is far from pleasant, I find that doing this everyday at the end of the day during a rehearsal week helps me feel less sore and achy. Another great technique for relieving painful areas is an ice massage. I use this technique twice a day when my patellar tendonitis flares up. The easiest way to do an ice massage is to freeze a small paper cup of water, peel back the paper, and rub the ice block in circles over the injured area. Ice massaging is a great way to reduce swelling and pain quickly.

Icing takes up the most time during my maintenance routine. It is hard to force yourself to sit down and ice when getting home late at night after a performance, but it is extremely important in the long run. After I ice, I usually rub an anti-inflammatory gel on sore areas and wrap them in Saran wrap. Though it sounds strange, placing plastic wrap over the anti-inflammatory gel helps it absorb into muscles more efficiently. Lastly, if I am feeling particularly run down, or have had a rough day, I take Arnica tablets before bed. Arnica tablets are a homeopathic treatment used to reduce swelling and lighten soreness.

Not only is it important to take care of your body using these treatments, it is also important to refuel. Before a performance weekend, I drink plenty of water, eat high protein foods, and sleep as much as I can. Emergen-C packets have proven themselves lifesavers during the hours before a show when I am feeling fatigued. They easily dissolve in water and are packed with electrolytes and vitamins to give you a slight energy boost. Although it takes a process of trial and error, finding the right post-performance ritual is crucial to remaining happy and healthy.