LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

You have now heard from dancers Ariel Rose and Nathalia Arja about their favorite moments of the 2013-2014 Season, so to wrap up our series is principal dancer Tricia Albertson!

Dancer

Tricia Albertson

At this point in my career as a dancer, I look to be pushed outside of my comfort zone to discover as much as possible about myself and my art. This season, I was given many chances to do just that! Here are some of the highlights for me.

Jardí Tancat‘ was a highlight because it was a completely different style of dance from anything I’ve ever performed. It was barefoot, weighty and grounded, yet embraced an emotional abandon unlike anything I had ever experienced. Beyond that, there was something so raw about this piece — something that made me feel an intense bond and connection with the people with whom I danced.

Nacho Duato

Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro in Nacho Duato’s ‘Jardi Tancat’

Working with Justin Peck on ‘Chutes and Ladders’ was another highlight of my season. There is something so wonderful about working with the actual choreographer of a piece, especially one who has such a specific vision. Beyond the steps, Justin works with visuals for us to try to create with our bodies, which makes me think outside of what my body is doing. I found myself pushing my body in ways I didn’t know I could and thinking about movement as creating an illusion, a vision, not just a technical expression.

Justin Peck

Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado in Justin Peck’s ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

When I heard we were doing ‘West Side Story Suite my first thought was, “How can I get myself into that ballet?!” ‘West Side Story’ is my favorite musical of all time. Mostly, I loved watching the men of MCB transform into Sharks and Jets and break out their tough sides. I love to be a part of productions that make people transform. I love to be in rehearsal and see that transformation happen gradually. I suspected that ‘West Side Story Suite’ would be one of those works that would really bring the company together, and it did — it was a true team effort.

Jerome Robbins

Miami City Ballet dancers in Jerome Robbins’ ‘West Side Story Suite.”

Polyphonia‘ was my greatest personal challenge and a major highlight of my season. That role was nothing like anything I had ever confronted before. It forced me to grow up a little, to get over certain insecurities and to embrace a part of me that until then I thought I should try to hide.

Christopher Wheeldon

Tricia Albertson and Reyneris Reyes in Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘Polyphonia.’

But really, the highlight of my season and every season for that matter was sharing the stage with so many wonderful artists. As I get older I cherish these bonds more and more. – Tricia

We hope enjoyed hearing from our dancers about their favorite moments of the season! Lookout for a chance to share your top moments of the 2013-2014 Season coming soon…

Find out the ballets we are bringing to the stage next season by clicking here!

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

Our final performance of Don Quixote last weekend was the perfect closing to another fantastic season of dance. Now that you have heard dancer Ariel Rose’s top moments of the 2013-2014 Season, we continue to reflect on this momentous year with our next post from recently promoted Soloist Nathalia Arja.

Dancer

Nathalia Arja

This season was extremely challenging for me. Not only was I given many difficult parts, but to also learn, rehearse and maintain them all at the same time throughout the season proved to be a marathon of stamina. There were many times that I felt as if my body had no more to give. It was in these moments that it was often difficult to muster up the strength from inside to run another ballet or do a second performance in a day.

Ratmansky

Nathalia Arja in Alexei Ratmansky’s ‘Symphonic Dances’

Looking back at this season, I feel like I have grown and matured through the challenges I have had to face. I feel very privileged to have worked on all these ballets and with the repetiteurs who staged them. Despite each ballet being very unique, I loved dancing every one of them.

Balanchine

Nathalia Arja and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Ballo della Regina’

I am really looking forward to next season. Despite being promoted to soloist this year, nothing for me will change. The process and journey of learning, exploring and becoming a better dancer and a more developed artist never ends and although this season may have been a large step for me, at the end of the day it is still just another stepping stone on the career path of a ballet dancer. - Nathalia

Join Nathalia and the rest of our dancers on next season’s journey ! More information on the ballets being performed here!

Summer Time on Instagram

We have officially completed our 2013-2014 Season of dance and now it’s time to unwind and relax. So what do our dancers do in their free time? Find out by following them on our Instagram feed!

dancer

Patricia Delgado

Our first Instagram guest of the summer is principal dancer Patricia Delgado! Patricia has already made her way up to the Big Apple to join up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck at the Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of his documentary Ballet 422. Ballet 422 goes behind-the-scenes of the choreographic process for his work for New York City Ballet, Paz de la Jolla. (Watch a sneak peek of the documentary here). Patricia will make sure you catch all of the action at the festival and help you get to know this exceptionally talented, young choreographer, who will be creating a new work for us next season! To see what NYC has in store for Patricia, follow her at #PatriciaMCBphotos!

Choreography

Justin Peck works with dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado on his ballet ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

Ballet

Miami City Ballet dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado in ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

Read about the fun our dancers had last summer! Click here.

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

With the opening of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center tomorrow, comes the closing of another season of extraordinary dance. Each ballet has created a unique experience on our journey to learn more about this rich, multifaceted art form. From the grounded, lyrical movements of Jardí Tancat to the geometric, sharp choreography of Polyphonia; from the alluring dance in the moonlight of Balanchine’s Serenade, to his atonal, yet unexpectedly harmonious Episodes; and from the ‘West Side Story’ we fell in love with years ago, to a story we are still discovering with Symphonic Dances — this season has pushed the boundaries of our audiences and dancers, alike.

As the season quickly comes to a close, dancers Ariel RoseTricia Albertson and Nathalia Arja will share their favorite moments of 2013-2014 and what this year has meant to them. First up, is this week’s Instagram guest and corps de ballet dancer Ariel Rose.

Dancer

Ariel Rose

This season has been quite a memorable one  for me. It was certainly a year in which many things came together both on and off the stage. I believe that this season has been one of tremendous growth, and despite it being my first year in Miami, it feels like more than a year’s work has been accomplished. Joining a new company is always difficult. If one is a little insecure and slightly extra anxious like I am, it can be even more difficult to make a first impression that reflects one’s true identity. There is always a slight need to prove yourself, despite past professional experience. 

To be honest, starting with ‘Polyphonia’ was a bit of a heart attack. Not only is it not a ‘corps de ballet’ work, but it is a very complex piece by none other than Christopher Wheeldon — one of the most well known choreographers in the world, who actually ended up coming in person to oversee a rehearsal or two right before Program I: First Ventures opened! I believe that this experience pushed the dancers (especially the younger, less experienced ones like myself) to grow and mature in terms of our confidence, style and artistry.

Christopher Wheeldon

MCB dancers in ‘Polyphonia.’

I believe another highlight of this season was Nacho Duato’s ‘Jardí Tancat’.  Despite this piece’s earthly and grounded beauty in its presentation, the process of learning and embodying that manner of dancing was another experience that put us dancers in a somewhat uncomfortable place. There were often struggles in terms of strength, stamina, coordination and achieving the right style and ‘look,’ not to mention all the while maintaining our more classical repertoire. I think our struggles as a ‘clan’ of sorts during this process united us more intimately, which in turn gave everyone the support they needed to get through it successfully. Perhaps the irony of this effect was that it bled onto the stage in our portrayal of farmers in the fields of Catalonia, struggling wearily together under the scorching sun, yet never once giving up because of this supportive network we created between one another.

Jardi Tancat

Ariel Rose and Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg in Jardi Tancat

Program III: Triple Threat was incredibly rich in history. Balanchine’s Episodes is a landmark of sorts. It is a work that perhaps although misshapen, archaic and somewhat absent of lyrical sense, makes one pay even more attention to detail and visual imagery. I believe that this program, along with the company’a premiere of West Side Story Suite took us through ballets that our artistic staff and the répétiteurs had very close ties with. I felt that the repertoire on this particular program was very explicitly passed down to us dancers and that despite our achievement in performing these works, we were all mentally enlightened as well.

West Side Story

MCB dancers in West Side Story Suite

Now at the end of the season, Don Quixote feels more celebratory than anything else. Despite people’s varying opinions on the classic ballet itself, it is a somewhat fitting close to this season as we all stand on stage together during the act three wedding pas de deux, watching Basilio and Kitri accomplish the dynamic and difficult choreography. It is moments like these, standing and admiring onstage, that I feel connected. I feel part of something larger than myself. I don’t feel like it’s about my individual ballet career. I feel that we are accomplishing something together. As our director and leader Lourdes Lopez has expressed many times throughout this season, these programs have truly culminated in a journey, not just allegorically but in reality as well. A lot has been accomplished this year —  not just terms of great performances, but also in personal growth and development. I believe what is even more exciting for the audience than seeing great performances is seeing the artists themselves evolve and develop from one season or program to the next. From a personal standpoint, I could not feel more privileged or honored to have been invited to become part of this organization and contribute my small part to the journey it has embarked on. All I can say is “to be continued”. 

Watch Ariel and the rest of our amazing dancers onstage during Don Quixote this weekend at the Arsht Center. More info and tickets here!

Like Ariel and Lourdes Lopez said, each season is a journey. By joining Miami City Ballet for each distinct program, a new artistic experience is created, enriching lives in unique ways. Check out what we have planned for 2014-2015 journey here!

 

Season Finale on Instagram!

This weekend’s  performance of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center marks the closing of another extraordinary season of dance. With its irresistible Minkus score, lavish costumes and sets, and host of colorful characters, Don Quixote is the perfect season finale. Corps de ballet dancer Ariel Rose will make sure that you catch of the excitement behind-the-scenes as our final Instagram guest of the 2013-2014 Season. Follow him at #ArielMCBphotos!

Ariel shares his enthusiasm for this all-time popular work below!

Ariel Rose

Ariel Rose

Don Quixote was one of the very first ballets I ever saw performed. As a young boy I saw Jose Manuel [Carreño] perform Basilio with the American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. I remember being so enthralled by Espada and his army of toreadors. They were all so suave, powerful and masculine with a Latin flair. I wanted so badly to feel the sense of power and honor from dancing like that. Years later, not only have I been given the opportunity to dance the same ballet, but I am also now wearing the exact same costumes (from American Ballet Theatre) that I saw onstage as a kid. Talk about living and becoming one’s own dream! I now can only wonder if perhaps (as life is very cyclical), that maybe there’s a young boy out there in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach or Miami who is looking up at us men onstage and wanting to be and emulate us!  -Ariel

Ariel's costume.

Marcelo Gomes, David Hallberg and Jared Matthews — famous dancers with American Ballet Theatre — wore the same costumes worn by Ariel in our production of Don Quixote.

Don Quixote

Ariel rehearsing for his Toreador role.

Don’t miss your final chance to see us this season! Get your tickets to Don Quixote here.

 

Makeup Magic with Don Quixote!

We snuck our cameras behind-the-scenes of Don Quixote to get an exclusive look at the intricate and lengthy makeup process involved in bringing these colorful characters to life onstage. Makeup artist Carol Raskin and assistant makeup artist Lisa Horwitz  spent over two hours transforming six dancers into Amour (aka Cupid), Dulcinea (Don Quixote’s dream girl), Gamache (the rich nobleman), Sancho Panza (Don Quixote’s right-hand man), Lorenzo (Kitri’s father), and Don Quixote, himself! These characters’ beauty secrets require way more than your standard lipstick and mascara!

Watch dancers Andrei Chagas and Carlos Guerra undergo their transformation to become our favorite dynamic duo — Sancho Panza and the man for which the ballet was named, Don Quixote!

MCB School apprentice Gabby Epstep getting dolled up for Dulcinea.

MCB School apprentice Gabby Epstep getting dolled up for Dulcinea.

Christie Sciturro as Queen of the Dryads

Christie Sciturro as ‘Queen of the Dryads’, Gabby Estep as ‘Dulcinea’, Tricia Albertson as ‘Amour’, and Mary Carmen Catoya as ‘Kitri’ (dancers left to right). Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

Jeremy Cox as 'Gamache'. Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

Jeremy Cox as ‘Gamache’. Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

Learn about the lavish costumes in Don Quixote as well by clicking here!

There is still time to catch our season finale of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center April 11-13. Don’t miss your last chance to see us this season. Get your tickets here

A Ballet Homecoming

Gerard Ebitz joined Miami City Ballet as an original member of the Company in 1986. Twenty seven years later, he has returned to the MCB family as a teacher at MCB School. We asked Gerard about his ballet homecoming and what exciting endeavors he is partaking in at MCB School.

Gerry teaching MCB School students choreography for his new work.

Gerard working with MCB School students.

MCB: When did you first join Miami City Ballet and how long did you dance here? 

Gerard: I was a founding member of Miami City Ballet and I performed with the company for the first two years.

MCB: Is there a favorite performance memory you have from MCB?

Gerard: I have several fond memories from those years. Not only did I get to revisit roles that I had danced with the Zurich Opera Ballet, such a the leads in Allegro Brilliant and Valse Fantasie, but I was also given the opportunity to dance other wonderful Balanchine Ballets that included the principal roles in the Donizetti Variations and Square Dance. Perhaps, one of the most rewarding moments for me with Miami City Ballet was to portray the role of the Father in Prodigal Son with Yanis Pikeris as the son and Kay Preston as the Siren. Having spent eight years in New York City Ballet, I had always admired the powerful simplicity that Shaun O’Brien brought to the role of the Father and it was a great challenge to try and capture his interpretation. Having seen the ballet from the early 70’s, I believe, Yanis was one of the greatest Sons to have ever have danced this role.  

Gerard in Prodigal Son, Miami City Ballet, 1986

Gerard in Prodigal Son, Miami City Ballet, 1986

MCB: After MCB, where else did you dance? How many years were you away from MCB before returning? 

Gerard: After leaving Miami City Ballet, I worked with Ballet Randolph, a local modern dance company, under the direction of Randolph Parrott. Not only was I given the opportunity to work with an amazing group of talented dancers, Randy also gave me a wonderful opportunity to explore my own ideas in choreography. Due to his illness, I eventually became the director of Ballet Randolph in addition to teaching and choreographing at the New World School of the Arts. So twenty–five years after leaving Miami City Ballet, I have crossed the bay and returned!

MCB: How does it feel to be back at Miami City Ballet?

Gerard: It is an honor to be working for Lourdes Lopez and Darleen Callaghan, two women who I greatly admire, and no doubt will take this company and this school to the next level. When I left MCB, we were working in a two studio store front on Lincoln Road and now, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears of numerous, dancers, administrators, and patrons over all these many years, this company and school are primed to take the dance world by storm. To train the next generation of dancers here at Miami City Ballet and at the New World School of the Arts, is both incredibly rewarding and bittersweet. To observe the progress of a dancer, is by far more interesting than watching a young dancer who is complacent with solid technique. If a dancer is open to correction and willing to leave their comfort zone, then you know good things will happen. I also know that it is so much harder for them to find employment than it was for my generation. The competition is so much greater and the jobs are less abundant.

Gerard teaching MCB School students choreography for his new ballet.

Gerard teaching MCB School students choreography for his new ballet.

MCB: Right now you are creating an original work on MCB School students. What is the piece about? How have the students inspired you? 

Gerard: The piece is called Sunshine State, with music by John Adams and costume design by Haydee Morales. I am a huge fan of the music of John Adams. His music always seems to take me somewhere. Since we live in Florida, I gave each section of the piece, a working title of a road or artery in South Florida. The piece is abstract but with human elements. The sections are called: Bayshore, Tamiami, Ocean, Flagler, and I-95. The students have been truly wonderful in this process, with varied schedules, of performances, auditions and academics. Most have come to each rehearsal, clearly processing work from a previous rehearsal and willing to teach their alternates information that was missed. Tools that will serve them well in their professional life. I always want the dancers to be part of the creative process. I enjoy when different casts bring something different to the same role. This was hard for some of them who wanted to be told exactly what to do. Others jumped at the opportunity to problem solve and take chances, these will be the ones who will be our next generation of choreographers.

MCB: Where and when will the students be performing your work? 

Gerard: We will be presenting a preview/excerpt at the Gusman Theater on April 3rd as guests of the National High School Dance Festival. The full work will have two performances on the Pre-Professional Division Concert here at Miami City Ballet on May 2 and 3rd.

Gypsies take over Instagram!

This week we are preparing for our final performance of the 2013-2014 Season at the Kravis Center! Our dancers have fully transformed into macho bullfighters, street dancers and sensual gypsies for our full-length production of Don Quixote. In fact, a lead Gypsy lady will be taking over our Instagram feed to cover all of the action in this popular, delightfully Spanish work. Follow principal dancer Patricia Delgado at #PatriciaMCBphotos.

Patricia Delgado

Patricia Delgado

What I love most about performing Don Quixote is immersing myself in whichever character I’m playing and really committing myself whole heartedly to my role and her entire environment! The Spanish roots of this ballet fill the dancing with strength and passion that are so fun to explore on stage. 
-Patricia

Patricia Delgado backstage in her Gypsy costume.

Patricia Delgado backstage in her Gypsy costume.

See her onstage this weekend at the Kravis Center. Get tickets here!

Moving on up!

With Company promotions announced last week, we are thrilled to welcome two Miami City Ballet School (MCB School) students who have been invited to join Miami City Ballet for our 2014-2015 Season. We extend a big congratulations to students Ellen Grocki and Alex Manning for becoming official members of the Company! Learn about these dancers and their reactions to the exciting news below!

WELCOME TO MCB ELLEN GROCKI!

Ellen Grocki

Ellen Grocki in the 2013 MCB School Student Workshop performance.

I’m a small town girl from good old Damascus, Maryland and started ballet when I was three years old. I trained under Florence Gardner for six years in Damascus, and then under Patricia Berrend at Berrend Dance Center in Olney, Maryland for seven years. In the summer of 2012, at age 16, I attended the Miami City Ballet School Summer Intensive. It is so funny to think back to the first time I danced in these studios, and how nervous and inexperienced I was. That summer truly made an impact on me, and I was ecstatic when I was offered an invitation to stay at MCB School for the winter term. Somehow, my mom let me go, and I had an incredible year with the school. I had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker with the company that year, and that was when I really fell in love with Miami City Ballet. Being in those rehearsals and getting the chance to dance onstage alongside such exquisite dancers made it clear to me that I wanted nothing more than to be a part of this Company. Currently, this is my second year at MCB School and my first year as a Student Apprentice with the Company.

The day I was promoted was a normal Thursday, like any other. I was getting ready for class at the studios when I was told that our school director Ms. Callaghan wanted to speak to me. I walked into her office, completely oblivious to what was about to happen, and the first thing she said was, “Ellen, I have good news.” Now, for the past two years, every day before dance class, I would say to myself, “You are the newest member of Miami City Ballet,” to try to encourage myself to keep working harder. Then in that moment, when Ms. Callaghan finally said those words out loud, it didn’t seem real. I skipped all the way down the hallway to the last studio surrounded by windows and just danced and jumped around by myself. I called my family and we were all crying. Then I hopped right back into modern class, knowing that I was one step closer to achieving my dreams. Everyone in the company has made me feel so incredibly welcome as a new member of the corps de ballet. I cannot wait for all that the upcoming season holds, and I am so excited to be a part of it. 
-Ellen

WELCOME TO MCB ALEX MANNING!

Alex Manning performing 'Sleeping Beauty' at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Alex Manning performing ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

I am from State College, Pennsylvania. I first trained at a small school there called the Ballet Theatre of Central Pennsylvania. When I was 13, I went to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts for my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school. Then, I moved to a small apartment in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with my mom and sister to attend the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. While at CPYB, I also studied privately with Laszlo Berdo and Leslie Hench. Last year, I auditioned for Miami City Ballet and was offered a Student Apprenticeship with MCB School. This was my first and only year here at MCB School.

Last Friday, I had a meeting scheduled with Ms. Callaghan, the school director, before class in the morning. I remember not sleeping for the whole night, and in the back of my mind I was not feeling very positive. I kept seeing talented male dancers come in to audition and thought I was just too inexperienced to be hired this year. But when I walked in to see Ms. Callaghan, she sat me down and immediately told me, “Congratulations! Ms. Lopez would like to offer you a contract.” I didn’t even know what to say. I was so shocked! I immediately hugged Ms. Callaghan and almost started crying in her arms. Then I asked, “Is that all?” And she laughed and told me “that’s it!” So I ran out to call my friends, parents and teachers. I was so thankful that all of those years of hard work with those special people helping me along the way had paid off. And I’m so proud that this all happened here at Miami City Ballet!
-Alex

Audience members will have the opportunity to see Ellen and Alex perform with both the Company and MCB School before our 2013-2014 Season comes to an end. Catch them during MCB School’s Student Choreography Showcase on April 26th and the Miami City Ballet Ensemble performances on May 2-3 — both at in-house studio theater in Miami Beach. Or, see them on the mainstage during our season finale of Don Quixote and when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October!

Check out the Company promotions here!

 

A trip to the costume shop for Don Quixote!

The lavish, detailed costumes of Don Quixote are one of this classic ballet’s distinguishing factors. The ballet is filled with a variety of costumes including a traditional matador’s “suit of lights,” named for its rhinestones, beads and gold or silver thread, and his swirling capes to fight off the bulls. What makes these costumes so unique is that they evoke the culture and feeling of Spain — where Marius Petipa danced as an impoverished young man. For #TutuTuesday, we are taking a look at the beautiful tutus in Don Quixote that reflect the utmost elegance of a prima ballerina, but embrace the passion and flair that characterizes the rich, culture of Spain.

Mary Carmen Catoya as Kitri.

Mary Carmen Catoya as Kitri.

As most ballet companies do when performing a full-scale production with multiple sets and costumes, we rented our Don Quixote costumes from American Ballet Theatre. They were designed by famous costume and scenic designer Santo Loquasto. These costumes have been worn by some of the world’s most famous ballerinas including Gillian Murphy, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Cynthia Harvey and even Gelsey Kirkland!

Can you see some of the names?

Can you see the names of the ballerinas?

When the costumes arrived at our studios, our wardrobe team fit them to our dancers and stitched them accordingly so they fit perfectly. The seamstresses also touched up any missing beads or embellishments to ensure that the costumes looked perfect for the stage!

Seamstress XXX works on the lead dream scene ballerina's tutu.

Seamstress Ana Maria Romero works on the lead dream scene ballerina’s tutu.

The beautiful details of Kitri's bodice.

The beautiful details of Kitri’s bodice.

Seamstress Amelia works on another tutu.

Seamstress Amelia Paille works on another tutu.

After an entire month of hard work spread among four seamstresses, one cutter, one draper and one costume artist, these extraordinary costumes are not only complimenting the art form taking place onstage, but are also true works of art themselves.

Costume Arist Maria Morales adds extra plastic to the sides of the fans to ensure that they are strong enough for performing.

Costume Arist Maria Morales adds extra plastic to the sides of the fans to ensure that they are strong enough for performing.

Miami City Ballet extends a special thanks to Eugenia and Robert P. Strauss for their generous support of costumes for the original production of Don Quixote.

Make sure to see these beautiful works of art brought to life onstage during our final program of the season Don Quixote!