LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Summer Dance Diary: Week FIVE

Although MCB School’s 5-week Summer Intensive Program has ended, it appears that another student left his diary behind! Watch to see student Michael Holden wrap up the Summer Dance Diary series in this final diary entry. Hope you enjoyed the series!

2013-2014 Season Preview!

Check out our latest video to discover what exciting dance masterworks Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez has in store for Miami City Ballet’s 2013-2014 Season. What ballet(s) are you most excited to see next season?

Subscription packages and single tickets are on sale now! Visit miamicityballet.org or call 305.929.7010 for more information and tickets.

MCB Summer: Jennifer Kronenberg’s BIG APPLE Homecoming

Wrapping up our ‘MCB Summer’ series, principal dancer Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg writes about her homecoming trip to New York, where her ballet career started in a small, local dance studio in Queens.

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg

What a busy summer this has been for our family! The weeks have really flown by. This summer was extra special —  my first as a mommy — and I have so enjoyed having the extra time to spend with my beautiful baby girl Eva. What a gift! She has grown and changed so much in the last couple of months, and she happily joined us on all of our trips this summer! Carlos and I were so nervous about taking her on her first airplane ride, and worried about how she would handle the crazy schedules of our guest appearances, but she handled everything incredibly well — a little “pro” already!

Baby on board with papa Carlos Guerra!

A couple of weeks after we returned from dancing in New Orleans (along with  Renan Cerdeiro and Jennifer Lauren at New Orleans Ballet Theater) we left town again for another exciting adventure – Eva’s first visit to the Big Apple and my first homecoming performance with my old ballet school, Once Upon a Time (OUAT), in 15 years. My parents (now Grandma & Grandpa Kronenberg) eagerly awaited their granddaughter’s visit, and the chance to see me dance again at home in Queens. (I don’t get up to NYC as often as I would like, so I tried to “kill as many birds with one stone” as I could). In addition to dancing with OUAT, I participated in a mini dance convention and taught a master class at New York Performing Arts Center in Point Pleasant, NJ.  The students were terrific, and very eager to learn, which is a treat for any teacher.  I was in great company, and was so honored to be teaching alongside tremendous talents like Broadway “Tap Dog” Anthony LoCascio.

Teaching ballet class at New York Performing Arts Center

Jennifer and Carlos with Anthony LoCascio (center).

The next day, we headed out to Richmond Hill, Queens for OUAT’s performance, where I danced excerpts from Coppélia as well as The Dying Swan. How nice it was to be welcomed home with open arms! It was if I had never left. My teacher, Teresa Aubel, hasn’t changed a bit, and being back in class with her reminded me of how very much of my success I owe to her. She was always such a wonderful mentor, and she helped shape the dancer that I have become in so many ways.

Jennifer with her childhood dance teacher Teresa

Homecoming performance of Coppélia!

The performance was held in-house, in the school’s quaint black box theater, where a special surprise awaited — another one of my teachers would be contributing to the performance! Carolyn DeVore, Dean of Dance at my alma mater, Benjamin N. Cardozo H.S., came to see the show and brought her students from DeVore Dance Center to perform an incredible African piece. It was such a treat to see her again and have her meet Carlos and baby Eva.

The audience enjoyed the show tremendously, but I think Eva may have enjoyed it the most! Her expression was priceless! With a front row seat on Carlos’ lap, she was completely intrigued by the music and the dance. She opened her eyes wide, kicked her legs to the music, and even exclaimed “Mama!” with glee as I bourréed across the floor during The Dying Swan. When I wasn’t dancing, I was able to spy on her through a crack in the back drop and I couldn’t stop smiling, she was so adorable! When the African dancers came out, I was worried about how she’d react to the intensity and volume of the live drummers, but her smile just got bigger and bigger! (Since we’ve been back she has been super energetic and does this funny bouncing action with her hands in the air, fingers spread, and arms bent at the elbows. Call me crazy, but I’d swear she’s imitating the African dance)!

To end the afternoon, I engaged in an informal question and answer session with the audience, and signed copies of my book “So, You Want to be a Ballet Dancer?” , which was being sold at the entrance prior to the show and during intermission. There were some fantastic questions and topics brought into conversation, and I was so glad to have had the opportunity to meet so many young dancers in the making.

Jennifer with her two loves in Central Park.

As busy and hectic as our visit to New York was, we still had a wonderful time and Eva made it through her grand adventure with flying colors. We are all glad to be back in Miami and Carlos and I are ready and anxious to start the new season. It’s always nice to get away, but when all is said and done, there is no place like home!

MCB Summer: Lexie Overholt lends a helping hand in AFRICA!

Corps de ballet dancer Lexie Overholt writes about her eye opening, emotional journey in Africa as part of our ‘MCB Summer’ series.

Lexie Overholt

I left for Kenya and Ethiopia in mid-July for two weeks as a member of the Visiting Orphans organization. My team and I spent our first week with the children of the Fiwagoh Orphanage in Kenya. Most of the children there have lost their parents to HIV/Aids, Malaria,  or other diseases, and tribal wars. Our team helped to provide some of the parental love and care that these children so desperately need. We lived in the orphanage for an entire week, so we got to spend a lot of time with the children. We also traveled to Amazing Grace and Haven of Hope orphanages and played games, sang songs and did arts of crafts with these amazing children.

Lexie visiting with an orphan.

Lexie at an orphanage in Africa.

We are now in our second week and have arrived in Ethiopia. We are in the rural Bole Community of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is located behind their airport. We will spend time each morning with the children — playing games, doing crafts, music and dance – and then making home visits in the afternoons. We will also spend time with the women of Mission Ethiopia in the afternoons. It is the most incredible, heartwarming and eye opening experience of my life.

"A heartwarming and eye opening experience."

My leaders asked me to bring along my pointe shoes and music to treat the children in each community to dance!
-Lexie

Summer Dance Diary: Week FOUR

Student McKenna Collins writes about her fourth week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

McKenna Collins

Dear Diary,

We have just completed the fourth week of classes at Miami City Ballet (MCB) School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program and I’m feeling very accomplished and inspired!

Coming into this program as an Apprentice with Madison Ballet in Madison, Wisconsin, I was eager to begin learning from such a renowned school. After having finished the fourth week, it is clear to me as to why it is one of the best schools in the country. From the spacious facilities to the worldly teaching staff, this program has been an incredible learning and growing experience…and it’s not even over yet!

This is my first summer with Miami City Ballet as well as my first time in Miami. Coming from a state where you can drive for miles and only see fields of corn and lots of cows, it’s a very different atmosphere here in the city! From the moment I stepped into the beautiful studios just off of South Beach and met all of my wonderful teachers, I knew this would be a great summer.

The Ladies of Level III!

Having participated in various summer intensives, such as Ballet Chicago, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, I was looking forward to continuing my Balanchine training here at MCB School. We have been covering a wide range of styles from classical to neoclassical, and learning from some of the most experienced dancers in the world. But, with experience comes expectation! Week four has been the toughest of them all so far.  The teachers are really challenging us to perform at our highest level possible every day and to strive for more in every class. It’s that kind of support and encouragement that motivates me to work hard and be the best that I can be!

One of my favorite parts of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program is the amazing faculty that we have had the privilege of studying under! Each of them is so accomplished and gifted — it is humbling to be able to take class and receive corrections from them. Something that I have noticed in most of my classes here is the emphasis the teachers put not only on making each movement technically correct, but also on dancing the movements. Being in such a prestigious environment has motivated me and fueled my passion for dance even more!

McKenna working hard in the beautiful South Beach studios!

As the weeks progress, so has our repertory piece come together. It’s an honor to have Ms. Maribel Modrono as our Repertoire choreographer. She has set a beautiful neoclassical contemporary ballet piece on our level, which we are very excited to perform in just 6 days. She is so creative and passionate about what she does — it is truly inspiring to learn from her!

After a long day of rehearsals, my roommate and I love nothing more than being able to walk right out the doors and on to the beach! We spend our free time shopping on Lincoln Road, trying new foods and of course, soaking up the sun. Celebrating my birthday here was also a once in a lifetime treat.

Relaxing after HOURS of dance class!

Overall, MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program has been an eye opening journey for me that I will never forget. The friends I have made here I will cherish forever. The corrections I have received I will take back home with me and continue to perfect. I have grown as not only a dancer, but also as a young woman here this summer and had the experience of a lifetime!

Yours truly,

McKenna Collins

Summer Dance Diary: Week THREE

Another student has left their diary out! Watch MCB School’s latest video diary entry to discover all of the 5-Week Summer Intensive Program secrets.

MCB Summer: Jennifer Lauren back in the Big Easy!

Soloist Jennifer Lauren tells all about her trip to the Big Easy for her guest performance with New Orleans Ballet Theatre and more as part of our MCB Summer series!

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

Summers are always a busy time for me. My husband Blake, my dog Sophie and I always hop in the car and drive far and wide across the southern states. This summer we found ourselves in New Orleans. A place where both of our families have vacationed many times, and the location of our honeymoon.

Before we went to New Orleans, fellow MCB dancers Jennifer Kronenberg, Carlos Guerra, their beautiful baby girl Eva, Renan Cerdeiro and I traveled to Sanibel Island to work with  former New York City Ballet Principal Melinda Roy. She was so wonderful and a joy to work with!  Renan and I rehearsed George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes and Jennifer and Carlos rehearsed Balanchine’s Apollo. It was a special trip because we rehearsed at former MCB Principals Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero’s new studio — Gulfshore Ballet in Ft Myers. They are a lovely pair and were very welcoming.

The whole crew!

After a few weeks of West Side Story Suite rehearsal in Miami, we flew to the Big Easy to guest with New Orleans Ballet Theatre. It was a pleasure to work with the director Greg Schramel and his wife Marjorie Hardwick — both former dancers with MCB, as well!

Carlos, Jennifer, Renan and me

The performance was a treat for all to see. This was Jennifer Kronenberg’s first time back on the stage since her pregnancy with Eva, who is just about the most precious baby ever! Jennifer and Carlos are wonderful with her and so much fun to be around.

Me with baby Eva!

I was also excited to have my husband, my mother and my niece come to see the performance and visit in New Orleans.

My husband Blake, my mom Betty, me and my niece Jasmine.

Dancing Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes is always one of my favorite pieces to perform, especially so close to the Fourth of July! The music is so patriotic and I’m so lucky to have a partner as talented as Renan! We really had a great time dancing and exploring New Orleans.

Renan and me backstage for Stars and Stripes

After everything, my husband and I made time to celebrate our four year wedding anniversary at the same restaurant we went to on our honeymoon.

Celebrating our wedding anniversary at Commanders Palace - where it all started!

Happy (belated) 4th of July!

Summer Dance Diary: Week TWO

Student Caroline Stevens writes about her second week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

Caroline (left) with her best friend McKenna (right).

Dear Diary,

I have just completed my second week here at the Miami City Ballet School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program. It is my first summer dancing at Miami City Ballet School and I have been having a blast!

I was elated to hear that I had been accepted to this summer program, which is regarded as one of the best in the country! I auditioned at the School of American Ballet, only a bus ride away from The Rock School in Philadelphia where I have been a student for the past year (I am originally from South Carolina). After the audition class, which was taught by the company’s artistic director, Lourdes Lopez, I knew that I wanted to study here. Ms. Lopez and all of the teachers I have had so far at Miami City Ballet School are committed to making each student the best dancer they can be. Throughout the summer program, my goals are to strengthen and refine my technique and artistry, along with becoming a more well-rounded dancer. I feel very motivated and honored to be here at Miami City Ballet!

A typical day for me starts with getting ready and eating breakfast at the University of Miami dorms. We then hop on a school bus that takes us directly to the beautiful Miami City Ballet facilities. Each level has a two hour technique class in the morning, followed by an hour of pointe/variations. After our lunch break, we return to the studios and have either a jazz or modern class followed by some sort of “cool down” class (such as Pilates™, stretch & strengthen, or conditioning). I love the intensity of the program, and the variety of classes offered has made me realize how important it is to be a versatile dancer. My ultimate dream would be to become a professional dancer with the Miami City Ballet or a company in Europe.

On the first day of classes, I was extremely nervous! My first ballet class was taught by Geta Constantinescu, who I had heard only good things about. She is a very methodical teacher and really stresses the importance of adding breath to our movement (including having us make exaggerated breathing noises during combinations!). I was excited to hear that Geta would also be my repertory teacher. My level is learning excerpts from the first act of Giselle, which is one of my all-time favorite ballets! The rehearsal process has been tedious, but enjoyable at the same time! We spend a lot of time perfecting our stage craft, which includes presence, staying in line [formations], and the focus of the head and eyes. It is a lighthearted piece and I enjoy working on it!

One of my favorite teachers so far has been Mr. Olivier Pardina. In his class, Mr. Pardina takes the time to explain every detail and correction, with a special emphasis on port de bras and the use of the head. He has eyes like a hawk and can spot a mistake from across the room! One correction of his that has really stuck with me is to “always dance as though the stage is too small for you.” A lot of the time, I get so caught up with the technical aspects of a combination, that I forget to really move and emote. On top of being a very intelligent teacher, Mr. Pardina is also extremely friendly and approachable.

I have been having a lot of fun outside of the dance studio as well! On the weekends, my friends and I love walking around South Beach and shopping on Lincoln Road. This past week was the big Fourth of July Cruise, which included dinner, dancing and fireworks, while sailing around the beautiful Biscayne Bay. At one point it started pouring rain, but that didn’t stop the dancing! Everyone had a blast! It has been so cool to meet people from all over the world, too. So far I have met people from Canada, France, Brazil and Mexico. I cannot believe how fast the program is going, and I am very excited to see what the next three weeks have in store for me!

Yours truly,

Caroline Stevens

Here I am posing in a phone booth on Lincoln Road:-)

Beautiful Miami Beach!

Summer Dance Diary: Week ONE

Sneak a peek at Miami City Ballet School’s Summer Dance Diary…but, make sure you don’t get caught! Student Alexandra D’Alessandro shares her insights on her first week of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program in our first VIDEO diary entry of the series.