The Nutcracker may have left the Arsht Center, but Marie and her Prince are just getting started on their magical journey! We now travel north to West Palm Beach for performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at the Kravis Center, where corps de ballet dancer Leigh-Ann Esty will be capturing the magic on Instagram. Follow her on our feed #LeighMCBphotos to make the holidays last. Leigh-Ann shares why this beloved holiday tradition is so special to her below!
I’m so excited for the holiday season. Nutcracker means so much to me! It brings families together and really gets you in the holiday spirit. I’ve been performing in The Nutcracker since I was 7, so it’s been a huge part of my life! I love how happy it makes the audience.
It has been said that this time of the year is the most wonderful and we can’t agree more! Tomorrow, we open George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™at the Adrienne Arsht Center, starting our our magical journey into a world of dancing snowflakes, sweets and flowers for the next three weeks, until our final performance at the Broward Center on January 5, 2014. With every holiday tradition comes brand new memories, so to capture the special backstage moments on Instagram is corps de ballet dancer Ashley Knox.
For audiences and dancers alike, The Nutcracker holds a special place in our hearts as a beloved holiday tradition. Here, Ashley tells us what makes The Nutcracker so meaningful to her:
Ever since I was a little girl I would get so excited for The Nutcracker — the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it! All of the rehearsals and the chance to perform made it such a magical time. I still get that same nostalgic feeling every Nutcracker season.
Dreams of Sugar Plums have been dancing in the heads of ballerinas everywhere — and for many more nights than just the night be for Christmas;-) Whether it’s the moment a little girl puts on her first pair of ballet slippers, or sees the Sugar Plum Fairy work her magic onstage, a little spark ignites, fueling aspirations of one day dancing this quintessential ballerina role. This dream is swiftly becoming a reality for Soloists Sara Esty and Jennifer Lauren, as they make their debut performances as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. Here, they share their excitement about performing this milestone role!
At eight years old, I performed as a polichinelle in my first Nutcracker and loved every minute of it! As I grew, I continued to perform in every Nutcracker and danced many different characters. The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy was always something I dreamed of dancing. It was the first principal ballerina role I had ever seen, and the only consistent role that came back each year. The first time I was cast to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy was with the Alabama Ballet. It was among the first principal roles I had danced. I was so in love with this role. The répétiteur for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Darla Hoover, gave me my own special wand. I enjoyed dancing with it for six wonderful seasons. Fast forward to today, and for the first time in six years at Miami City Ballet, I am dancing the role that I have loved since I was a wide-eyed little polichinelle! The familiarity of this role brings happy memories of all the amazing Nutcrackers I have attended and performed. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Lourdes Lopez and Kleber Rebello as my Cavalier. Lourdes has been encouraging and insightful in our rehearsals and the wealth of knowledge she has for this role inspires me. I can’t wait to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy with Miami City Ballet and create new memories with my wand!
Jennifer Lauren as the Sugar Plum Fairy with Alabama Ballet.
As I write, I am watching a few of my friends in New York City ballet do the kids show of The Nutcracker. I’m in Lincoln Center and am reminded of how magical the show can be… There are so many happy children here! I can’t believe I am getting the chance to perform Sugar Plum this year. I have danced it just once before in my career (at home when I was a senior in high school), so I am very much looking forward to giving it another go with Miami City Ballet. It is one of the many coveted Balanchine roles, and to be able to have reached this goal is an amazing feeling. She is the quintessential ballerina, and queen of the land of sweets – who wouldn’t want to be her? Hopefully I will inspire the little girls around me, as the Sugar Plum Fairies did when I was growing up!
Sara Esty rehearsing the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with her Cavalier Jovani Furlan.
If you know and love this image, along with several other awe-inspiring dance photos, than you have probably heard of photographer Jordan Matter and his New York Times bestseller Dancers Among Us. This week, Jordan takes his talents to the Magic City to exhibit his work at Spectrum Miami and Select Fair, both running December 4-8th in Midtown and South Beach respectively. During his visit, Jordan will also partake in two live photo shoots with Miami City Ballet dancers Renan Cerdeiro, Jovani Furlan and Emily Bromberg!
The first shoot will take place during the Opening Preview of Spectrum Miami on Wednesday, December 4, from 6-10pm (come before 8pm to make sure you catch the shoot). This will be a rare opportunity to preview Jordan’s exhibit and see how he works with the dancers to capture these extraordinary shots.
The fun continues on Thursday, December 5, when Jordan and MCB dancers hit up South Beach for a live photo shoot on Ocean Drive! Follow us on Twitter #JordanShootsMCB to find our exact location and times to come out and watch the photo shoot!
Jordan already has some experience shooting MCB dancers — here’s a shot of former MCB dancer and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ contestant Alex Wong!