LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Discover ‘First Ventures’ with Lourdes Lopez

Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez shares the meaning behind First Ventures and why the first program of our 2013-2014 Season is not to be missed!

Begin your journey with Miami City Ballet by joining us for Program I: First Ventures!

Adrienne Arsht Center: Oct. 18-20
Broward Center: Oct. 25-27
Kravis Center: Nov. 15-17

Passing It On

Legendary Balanchine ballerina, Merrill Ashley, recently visited Miami City Ballet to teach our dancers the ballet that propelled her into stardom.  For 10 days, she worked with the company on Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina – a work that he created on Ms. Ashley, herself. Principal dancer Tricia Albertson trained intensely with Merrill Ashely during her visit and shares her experience working with this Balanchine great here on our Blog!

Tricia Albertson

Merrill Ashley was the most virtuosic, technically precise ballerina of her time, if not ever.  George Balanchine was inspired to choreograph Ballo della Regina on Merrill, and created steps to highlight her strengths: precise, razor sharp, lightning-fast footwork, musicality, and hops on pointe.  Merrill was not an amazing technician by chance; she worked and analyzed every moment and every step to become that dancer.  To have Ballo della Regina passed on to me by Merrill Ashley has been both an amazing and frightening highlight of my career.

Merrill Ashley in Ballo della Regina.

Merrill Ashley in Ballo della Regina.

Merrill pushed herself to the limit as a dancer and asked that of all of us.  Working with her, I did not just learn the steps of Ballo della Regina, I learned precisely how to approach each step to make it sparkle.  Now, the challenge is to get myself to actually do it!  Merrill doesn’t let anyone cut a single corner, and being the perfectionist that I am, I was grateful to be pushed beyond what I thought my body could do (though, I will admit that I did get frustrated. I tend to want to get things right immediately, and that simply wasn’t possible).

Merrill Ashley coaches principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado.

Merrill Ashley coaches principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado.

Ballo is Merrill’s.  She loves this ballet, takes pride in this ballet, and has passed that pride down to us.  In a rehearsal, Merrill said that Ballo was a diamond of a ballet, but without the details and precision, it doesn’t sparkle. Those details make it brilliant.  Now that she has left (until she returns on opening night), I will have time to process and work on what she taught me and also to make it my own.  Perhaps there is no one that can make Ballo della Regina shine as Merrill did, but I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to try.

See Tricia Albertson perform this special role during Program I: First Ventures!

Adrienne Arsht Center: Oct. 18-20

Broward Center: Oct. 25-27

Kravis Center: Nov. 15-17

Photo credits:
Headshot © Gio Alma.
Merrill Ashley in Ballo della Regina. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Martha Swope.

Meet Our New Dancers!

You have now met dancers Brianna, Ariel, Sarah, Christina, Nieser, Eric and Damian. Our last new dancer, but certainly not the least, joins the MCB family as a company apprentice. Meet the final new face of the bunch — Leanna Rinaldi!

Leanna Rinaldi

MCB: Where are you from?

Leanna: Frisco, Texas.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Leanna: Miami City Ballet School.

Leanna performing Balanchine's 'Allegro Brillante' during the 2013 MCB School Student Workshop Performance.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Leanna: A day without stress.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Leanna: Joining Miami City Ballet!

Leanna rehearsing Balanchine's 'Serenade' with the company.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Leanna: To travel the world!

MCB: Indulgence?

Leanna: Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream and The Bachelorette.

MCB: Inspiration?

Leanna: Music and the dancers I have the privilege to dance with!

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Leanna: My faith in Jesus Christ, my family, friends and ice cream.

Leanna with her brother and dogs.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Leanna: Being called upon last minute to perform Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances with MCB.

MCB: Dream role?

Leanna: Anita in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, Principal in Balanchine’s Who Cares? and Duo Concertant.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Leanna: It is such a warm and welcoming environment and all the dancers inspire me to work hard every day! And it doesn’t hurt that it’s on the beach.

See Leanna along with our other new dancers make their debut during Program I: First Ventures!

Meet our New Dancers!

We have only two more new dancers to introduce to everyone! This next new dancer joins the “MCB Family” and also an immediate family member — his uncle, principal dancer Reyneris Reyes. We are pleased to introduce you to corps de ballet dancer Nieser Zambrana!

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Where are you from?

Nieser: Pinar del Rio, Cuba.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Nieser: Raul Sanchez Arts School, with Alejo Carpentier and The National School of the Arts in Havana.

MCB: What companies did you dance with before coming to MCB?

Nieser: National Ballet of Cuba and Orlando Ballet.

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Nieser: My birthday.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Nieser: The day I was coached by the greatest ballet master, Mikhail Baryshnikov.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Nieser: To live in the desert.

MCB: Indulgence?

Nieser: Dance.

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Inspiration?

Nieser: To see my uncle’s performances.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Nieser: My mom.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Nieser: My first ballet competition when I was 13 years old.

MCB: Dream role?

Nieser: Giselle.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Nieser: Because it’s a big company, great dancers, and I love the city.

Nieser Zambrana

See Nieser onstage during Program I: First Ventures!

Meet our new dancers!

You may have seen this new dancer onstage last season when she was an apprentice with the company. Now, as a member of the corps de ballet, you will be seeing much more of her! Meet Christina Spigner!

Christina Spigner

MCB: Where are you from?

Christina: Paradise Valley, Arizona

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Christina: Miami City Ballet School

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Christina: Doing something adventurous, exploring someplace new, and experiencing new and interesting cuisine with the people I love.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Christina: The moment I was asked to rehearse and perform with Miami City Ballet.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Christina: Opening up a pre-professional dance school that would not only teach ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary, but  would also incorporate an educational component. The curriculum would include kinesiology, anatomy, nutrition, and cross training/body awareness methods, including Feldenkrais and Pilates, and body maintenance classes. This would be my dream to develop healthy and happy dancers who are knowledgeable about their instrument, how to take care of it, and be able to use that knowledge to enhance their technique.

Christina Spigner performing a stunning leap during a MCB School photo shoot.

MCB: Indulgence?

Christina: Anything chocolatey! I have a bit of a sweet tooth!

MCB: Inspiration?

Christina: Danny Tidwell ( soloist with Norway’s National ballet ) and Miami City Ballet’s own Patricia and Jeannette Delgado.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Christina: My family , friends, dancing,and my favorite store Whole Foods.

Having a Dog Gone Good time;-)

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Christina: Every year the company plays Secret Santa and part of the fun  is to reveal who your Secret Santa is in a creative or interesting way. So in MCB’s last performance of The Nutcracker, I was dancing my final ‘Waltz of the Flowers’, and during the part where the flowers  kneel  in a box formation the dancer across from me looked at me and mouthed ” I am your Secret Santa!” I almost screamed out loud — I was so surprised and excited to find out who she finally  was . She put a note in my dressing room saying she would meet me in the ‘land of the sweets’ and boy did she!

MCB: Dream role?

Christina: Kitri from Don Quixote, and my dream ballet to perform in would be In The Upper Room. In The Upper Room is one of my all time favorites and the instant I saw it performed, I dreamed of being  apart of that dynamic and powerful work someday.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

When I first came here as a student I peered into the studio where the company rehearsed and fell in love. I loved the diversity of the dancers, the diversity of  the repertoire  in a Balanchine based company, and was also drawn to the company’s energy and dynamism.

Christina Spigner flies through the air in a MCB School photo shoot.

Lookout for Christina onstage this season when the 2013-2014 Season opens on October 18 at the Arsht Center with Program I: First Ventures.