LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

MCB Dancers Take Italy

It’s been a couple of weeks since our dancers wrapped up rehearsals with choreographer Justin Peck. Since then, they’ve all been enjoying some additional time off this summer, getting plenty of much-needed rest and relaxation. But as we’ve learned quite well, it’s rarely all play and no work for our dancers. In fact, we recently caught up with principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro, who, earlier this month, performed at the Florence Dance Festival at the National Museum of Bargello in Italy–the same museum that houses Donatello’s famous Statue of David.

The show, titled Stars of American Ballet, featured Tricia and Renan, along with principal couples from New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet.

National Museum of Bargello in Italy. Photo courtesy of Tricia Albertson & Renan Cerdeiro.

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Principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro.

“It was set up in an outside courtyard with sculptures surrounding–so beautiful,” Tricia told us. “Renan and I performed excerpts from ApolloChutes and Ladders, and Who Cares?.” After the performance, the two took some time to take in the sights of Italy, along with fellow MCB dancer Jovani Furlan. Check out these gorgeous photos.

Tricia, Jovani and Renan enjoy a gondola ride.

Tricia, Renan and Jovani pose for a photo.

Thank you to Tricia, Renan and Jovani for sharing your experience with us!

Dancers Are Back!

Our dancers have returned to the studios after their 5-week break to start learning a brand new ballet by choreographer Justin Peck. This is Justin’s second ballet for MCB, which will premiere during our final program of the 2014-2015 Season in March. His new work calls for a large cast of dancers and scenery by the popular street artist Shepard Fairey – best known for his work on the Obama Hope poster and also for his large murals adorning local streets and establishments such as the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. To capture the creation process behind his new work on our Instagram feed is corps de ballet dancer Emily Bromberg! Follow her at #EmilyMCBphotos to get an intimate look at Justin making choreographic magic!

Dancer

Emily Bromberg

Since the end of our 2013-2014 Season I have kept myself busy by guest performing in Rhode Island, Virginia and New York.  With all of these great guest performing opportunities the last two months, I am ready to start our 2014-2015 Season!

Tinker Bell

Miami City Ballet dancer Emily Bromberg as ‘Tinker Bell’ in Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Jorden Morris’s ‘Peter Pan.’ Photo by A. Cemal Ekin/keptlight.com.

I will be taking over Miami City Ballet’s Instagram feed to share some sneak peaks of Justin Peck’s new ballet, set specifically on MCB dancers! I knew I liked Justin’s work when I first saw Chutes and Ladders,’ but I knew I loved his work when I attended our ‘Open Barre’ performances this Spring. His calm demeanor and insistence on portraying a specific idea using not only the bodies of his dancers, but also the psychological and emotional tools we all carry, inspired me a great deal! I look forward to the next few weeks to watching him create a new piece that I’m sure will be a must see for all of our audiences! – Emily


SEE ALSO: 

Get to Know Choreographer Justin Peck! 

More photos by A. Cemal Ekin: keptlight.com

(Under)Water Ballet!

Not only have our dancers been getting back in shape for three weeks of rehearsals ahead with choreographer Justin Peck starting on Monday, but they have also been learning how to hold their breath! Why? For tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot with Fort Lauderdale’s new glossy, high-society magazine Venice!

Interestingly, one of our dancers has a leg up over the others! Corps de ballet dancer Chase Swatosh tells us about his life before dance as a semi-professional swimmer and diver below!

Dancer

Chase Swatosh

I began swimming when I was a baby and was on a competitive club swim team from the age of 8 to 15, when I transferred to diving on my high school dive team. In swimming, I qualified for and competed in many junior olympics swim meets (usually two per year).  One year, two of the relay teams I was on made the top 16 times in the nation — one of which was second in the nation. For the two seasons I dove, I competed in CIF (California Interscholastic Federation – state championship). The latter season I qualified for All American but didn’t quite make the cut. 

I loved both swimming and diving although they’re different. Swimming is probably the most physically challenging type of exercise I’ve ever done (besides dance) which makes it great for conditioning and cross training. It teaches you to have amazing breathing control and to be mentally disciplined to finish races strong, even when your body wants to give up. This, of course, is very applicable to dance, among other things in life as well.

Balanchine

Dubbed as Balanchine’s ‘underwater ballet,’ ‘Ballo della Regina’ appears to take place in a beautiful grotto. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Diving is a different story; it is dynamically physically demanding but not nearly as intensive as swimming or dance. Having also been something of a gymnast (mostly tumbling) diving was a natural progression for me. Flexibility and body awareness from dance and gymnastics helped me a lot in diving. It’s  probably the most fun activity I’ve ever done. 

My philosophy about cross training is that anytime you learn a new sport or activity, you are learning to use your body in a new way. I think dance — or ballet specifically — is the pinnacle of physical activities where body awareness is absolutely crucial. So anytime I learn a different way to use my body, even if it’s totally contrary to ballet technique, that information becomes extremely helpful and in some way applicable to dance. – Chase

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for some fun behind-the-scenes shots of tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot! 

SEE ALSO:
Principal dancer Patricia Delgado’s summer cross training tips!

Mr’ “B’s” Underwater Ballet – Ballo della Regina

How to Revitalize Your Ballet Body

Summer is a time for our dancers to take a break from the stage for some well-deserved relaxation and recovery. However, the work never truly ends. Even during their time off, professional dancers practice healthy habits and various activities to keep their bodies and minds conditioned for the  grueling season to come. Principal dancer Patricia Delgado shares 6 tips that help her rejuvenate during the summer months off.

Ballet Body

Patricia Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Apollo.’

Every year during the summer layoff I set different goals for myself.  When we are working during the season, almost all of my focus is devoted to performing. By the end, I feel accomplished and grateful, but also physically and emotionally drained. The layoff can be a time to explore the physical rest, recovery and cross-training aspect of our work and also a time to find inspiration elsewhere such as teaching, exploring other art forms and traveling!  

Patricia’s Tips: 

Replenish Nutritionally
The layoff is a good time to make sure our muscles heal. One way of doing that is through eating healthy foods. I have had the pleasure of being in New York City during this break and have enjoyed the many delicious ethnic restaurants NYC has to offer, especially Indian and Asian cuisines which have many healing properties in their spices! With the extra energy, I’ve been exploring new recipes, for example, cooking more meats and fish. I’ve also been baking because its very therapeutic to me.  I even took a baking course to sharpen up some of my skills at the Institute of Culinary Education.  It’s great to shift your focus and work your brain in a different way!  

Sleep
I’ve made it a point to sleep in and take naps during this layoff as well. As dancers, we are “on” all the time and expected to perform our best night after night. Sleep is one thing that sometimes gets neglected.  Catching up on sleep has really helped me feel rejuvenated physically and emotionally.

Gyrotonics®
I’ve immersed myself in Gyrotonics® this break!  I have always had a love and respect for the work especially when coming back from injuries, but I never felt like I had enough time and energy during the season to continue digging deeper and understanding the work better.  Working one on one with a trainer has been helpful to address certain habits that sneak into our movement patterns.  I have found new ways of moving that I am excited to apply this season coming up!  

(Gyrotonics? Watch Patricia’s sister Jeanette Delgado in our Gyrotonics® 101 video!)

Travel
I find exploring new cities to be extremely inspiring and invigorating.  New York City is charged with creativity and stimuli!  I saw Cabaret on Broadway for the first time and was blown away.  I even biked the Williamsburg bridge!  Just roaming the streets and exploring new neighborhoods was great fun!  I was fortunate enough to visit Charleston, SC for the opening of Shepard Fairey’s “Power and Glory” art exhibit (Shepard will be collaborating with Justin Peck for his new piece on us next season).  Hearing him explain his process and thoughts on art and life inspired me not only as an artist but as an individual living in our society.  I look forward to exploring more of his work and honored to be a part of this incredible collaboration next season.  In addition, I saw Hubbard Street perform and attended several Chamber music concerts.  I left feeling extremely inspired and wanting to explore some modern and contemporary classes as well as possibly going back to taking piano lessons.

Research
One thing that has become a staple of mine during the layoff has been researching the ballets we will be performing the following season.  I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to researching ballets.  I love learning about the history of the work and watching old videos as well as watching performances of the ballets and how they are danced today by other companies.  The Library for the Performing Arts in NYC has an incredible array of information especially on the Balanchine ballets.  You can watch original ballerinas coach ballerinas of today.  It’s incredible the amount of details that can be passed on to keep these ballets as alive as they were when Balanchine created them!  Watching New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre perform live is always great inspiration! Going to the theater when on layoff is the most fulfilling because I find myself watching as a fan and an admirer.  While in season, there is a personal focus that changes the way in which I enjoy the the theater.

Ballet Class
Of course, taking class is a must!  No matter what extracurricular activities you do, nothing replaces a ballet class!  Its like eating breakfast, NECESSARY!  It’s been great to take class with different teachers around NYC!  Keeping the mind and body awake and taking in different thoughts and ideas teachers have about ballet has been helpful and stimulating!

Catch Patricia onstage when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October! 

Summer on Instagram

Our dancers have been everywhere this summer, making guest appearances and holding various teaching gigs at dance companies and studios across the country. This weekend, we are so lucky to have corps de ballet dancer Rebecca King taking over our Instagram feed to get an inside look at what she and our other dancers are up to this summer. Follow her at #RebeccaMCBphotos and check out what she has planned for her ‘gram-worthy’ weekend in NYC below!

Dancer

Rebecca King

Right now, we are getting close to the end of our first summer layoff. These weeks off in the summer are extremely important for us. After 40-plus straight weeks of dancing 7 days a week during our season, this time to rest and recover is essential as we are able to take time to treat nagging injuries and cross-train. While we continue to work to strengthen our worn down bodies from a long season, we also find some time to travel! This weekend I will be joining fellow MCB dancers in a visit to New York City.

We haven’t all been together in quite sometime now, so we are all very excited to enjoy the city together. On Saturday night we are thrilled to be attending New York City Ballet’s performance of Justin Peck’s new ballet “Everywhere We Go.” This will be especially exciting for us as Justin will be joining us in Miami when we return to work on June 9th to start his new ballet set to premier during the 2014-2015 Season in Program IV: Points of Departure. I have only seen the Pas de Deux that Justin choreographed for MCB a couple of seasons ago, so I can’t wait to get another preview of what is to come for MCB!

I am so looking forward to enjoying time with great friends and I hope you enjoy following our adventures through Instagram! – Rebecca

 Check out this preview of Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go for New York City Ballet. 

MCB School Promotions!

In March, news broke that Miami City Ballet School students Ellen Grocki and Alex Manning had been invited to join the company. JUST IN —  two more students from MCB School are slated to join the professional ranks of the company! We are proud to announce that Raechel Sparreo and Émilien Rivoire will be joining MCB as corps de ballet members when the 2014-2015 Season opens in October. Read about each dancer’s reaction to the exciting news below!

WECOME TO MCB RAECHEL SPARREO!

Balanchine

Raechel Sparreo in MCB School’s performance of Balanchine’s ‘Serenade.’ Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

I am from Buffalo Grove, Illinois. I started ballet when I was 3 at Bataille Academy of Danse. At 11 years old, I began training at Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, Ernesto Quenedit, Victor Alexander and Maray Gutierrez. I also trained at Fox Ballet with Terry Fox. I first came to Miami City Ballet School in 2010 for the 5-Week Summer Intensive. I loved it so much that I returned the following summer. At the end of the intensive, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend Miami City Ballet School for the 2011-2012 School- Year Program. I had unforgettable experiences that year and the next, performing not only with the school, but also with the company in the Nutcracker, Giselle, and Coppélia. This year, my third year with the school, I was very fortunate to study with MCB as a student apprentice.

The day I found out I was being promoted, the other students and I had end-of-year conferences with Ms. Callaghan and our teachers. My classmates and I had similar meetings in December in which we discussed our futures and were given advice on our dancing, so I was expecting something identical. When Ms. Callaghan gave me the news, I immediately burst into tears of joy! Émilien’s meeting was actually right after mine and he was the first person I told. I then called my mom to give her the big news to which she replied “Shut up!” and cried too.  When Emilien came out of his meeting and told me that he had received the same news, we hugged and cried! I cannot wait for this coming season and to live my dream! -Raechel

WELCOME TO MCB ÉMILIEN RIVOIRE!

Dance Student

Recently promoted corps de ballet member Emilien Rivoire.

I come from Lille, a city in Northern France. I started ballet when I was 8 at the Ballet du Nord of Roubaix and the Conservatory of Lille. When I was 12, I studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School for a year. I later studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Music et de Danse de Paris until I was 16. In 2011, I attended the School of American Ballet summer intensive and was invited to stay for the year round program. I first came to Miami City Ballet School for the 2013 summer course. During the last week of the program, I was offered a position as a student apprentice with the Miami City Ballet.

My teachers told me about my contract during our end of the year meetings. At first my jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe it! After all these years of training I finally reached my goal. I was so exited I immediately called my mom to tell her the great news. I’m really proud to be part of the MCB Family! - Émilie

Read about our Company Promotions here!

Dancers’ Picks of the Season!

We have heard from corps de ballet dancer, Michael Breeden, about the ballets that he is looking forward to performing most next season. Now, principal dancer Jeanette Delgado weighs in!

dancer

Jeanette Delgado

Next season is going to be thrilling! There are some oldies (but goodies) as well as some brand new works! I am looking forward to a lot of the ballets like Richard Alston’s ‘Carmen’ and Justin Peck’s new work, as well as ‘Raymonda Variations and ‘Allegro Brillante’, which are both beautiful Balanchine ballets the company has not performed in a while.

Richard Alston

Jeanette Delgado in ‘Carmen.’ Photo by Alberto Oviedo.

‘Raymonda Variations’ was a ballet that I performed when I was pretty young in the school. I found it to be so challenging and I remember feeling extremely nervous. The ballerina has two variations and two pas de deux and it is very challenging technically. I am looking forward to reuniting with this ballet now that I have a few more years under my belt and seeing what I can learn from it and bring to the role!

Dancer

Jeanette Delgado in ‘Raymonda Variations.’ Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Steven Caras.

Completely opposite from that ballet is the thrilling challenge of a work that is being created on us! Two seasons ago, I was so fortunate to be able to work with Justin [Peck] on his ballet, ‘Chutes and Ladders. Even though that process was very quick, I learned so much from him and was stretched artistically by his creativity. Since then, I have been hoping to work with him again! This time around, it will be a larger ballet, so I’m very excited that more of the company will be able to experience this process! I was able to watch Chutes this season from the audience and was moved every time in a new way. I think his creative voice is remarkably new and so relative and tangible to our generation and time!

I hope you are all looking forward to next season! We promise to work as hard as ever on these ballets so that we can continue to share this great art form with you! — Jeanette

Discover our new season here

Dancers’ Picks of Next Season

Our 2013-2014 Season has just come to a close, but we are already gearing up for the new season ahead! Our dancers return to the studios on June 9th to begin learning next season’s ballets, starting with up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck’s new work with street artist Shepard Fairey! Below, corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden shares his excitement about the ballets he can’t wait to perform.

Dancer

Michael Breeden

As one season comes to a finish and we reflect on the transcendent moments experienced onstage, it’s impossible for us dancers to not imagine all that’s in store next year. With the 2014-2015 Season beginning in June, we don’t have to wait too long before we get our hands on the most anticipated works of the year.

For me, there are some obvious highlights. Two great Balanchine works, ‘Symphony in Three Movements’ and ‘Allegro Brillante’, are back in the repertoire for the first time since 2009. Though the two works came from one great mind, they are alike only in the fact that they are brilliant works set to genius compositions (‘Allegro’ to music by Tchaikovsky, and ‘Symphony in Three’ to music by Stravinsky). ‘Allegro’ is Balanchine’s full-out essay on classicism as captured in 12 minutes. ‘Symphony in 3′ is a massive work with kaleidoscopic formations utilizing the entire company, as the dance echoes the driving score. I’ve danced both of these works before and every time they come back, I love them more. Balanchine’s genius continually reveals itself with each performance to both dancers and audience members, and it’s an experience I never take for granted.

Balanchine

Miami City Ballet dancers in Symphony in Three Movements. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Joe Gato.

Dancer

Jeanette Delgado in Allegro Brillante. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexandre Dufaur.

Balanchine works are a company staple that I always looks forward to, but choreography tailor made for the company is less frequent. The ballet I’m looking forward to most next season is a world premiere by Justin Peck, appearing during Program IV: Points of Departure. The company has developed a passion for new choreography in the past years, with choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett making works on us. Justin’s new work promises to fulfill its dancers and audiences in the same way those great choreographers did. His ballets abound with fresh, exciting and innovative use of the corps and so many visually striking dance images that repeated viewings are practically a must. He has a musical response that actually enhances the score, rather than uses it for effect. Each step in his works unfolds naturally, with fluidity, grace and style.

Choreography

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

Full disclosure: Justin and I were suite mates at the School of American Ballet ten years ago, so it may be tempting to accuse me of bias. While I certainly enjoy his success as a friend and am happy to see him achieve so much at such a young age, I think a single viewing of one of his works is enough to know that bias has nothing to do with appreciating true talent. The wealth of knowledge and creativity that Justin has as a dance maker is just starting to be explored, and I couldn’t be more excited that the next step will be with Miami City Ballet.

Read the New York Time’s review of Justin Peck’s most recent work for New York City Ballet — Everywhere We Go. Discover the other ballets we are performing next season here and lookout for Michael onstage!

A Real Dance Mom Tells All!

Principal dancers Patricia and Jeanette Delgado are two of Miami City Ballet’s brightest stars. Born and raised in Miami, these sisters flourished as aspiring dancers at Miami City Ballet School and quickly climbed the ranks of the company. Now, the road to becoming principal dancers is certainly not easy, requiring sacrifice, patience, perseverance and a lot of hard work. So, who was behind this dancing duo to encourage and support them through it all? Their family!

In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked Patricia and Jeanette’s mother Millie Figueredo what it was like raising two sibling ballerinas. Check out her responses in our Q & A below!

Mothers Day

The Delgado Family! Patricia, Zeke, Millie and Jeanette backstage during The Nutcracker.

How did Jeanette and Patricia get started with ballet? 

Patricia was around three or four years old when after watching a classic ballet on the public TV channel, she said she wanted to do that.  I told her she had to be older to take lessons. When she was five years old, while visiting my mother, she saw some old pictures of me in my ballet class and she told my mom that she wanted to take lessons too.  My mother went ahead and found a ballet studio near our home and told me I should enroll Patricia.  I really wanted her to be older, but I was outnumbered!  Of course, when Jeanette saw what her sister was doing, she wanted to do it too!

ballerina

Patricia and Jeanette as baby ballerinas!

When did you realize that they were really talented? 

I always saw the girls enjoying themselves while dancing!  In their adolescence, they both became very focused and passionate as well as hard workers.  I did notice they loved to perform and their hearts were completely open and free when on stage.  I guess, I had to start believing their teachers and others when they praised their talent and dedication.

Balanchine

Patricia Delgado in ‘Western Symphony.’ Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Ballet can create a competitive environment as young dancers strive for leading roles, teacher’s attention, etc. Did you ever worry about the sisters getting jealous of each other? How did you prevent them from avoiding these pitfalls?

Zeke and I made a conscious effort to treat them [Patricia and Jeanette] fairly and we encouraged them to help each other.  We praised their individuality — never comparing, but rather encouraging them to develop their unique strengths and recognize their weaknesses as opportunity for growth.  Even though they shared similar interests, they also had different ones.  For example, Patricia enjoyed taking piano lessons and playing sports, while Jeanette liked taking acting and singing lessons.

Ballet takes so much discipline, sacrifice and hard work, how did you encourage the girls to continue pursuing ballet through the rough times?

I must admit that we actually maintained a more neutral position during these times because we never thought they would become professional dancers.  We recognized the tough road ahead, and thus, the decision to pursue ballet training had to be completely their own.  Although, we obviously supported their passion and encouraged them to follow their dreams, we never underestimated the difficulty of pursuing this career.

Liam Scarlett

Jeanette Delgado in Liam Scarlett’s ‘Viscera.’ Photo by Kyle Froman.

What was the best memory you have about each of your daughters regarding their ballet careers? Was there a special performance, moment or memory you have that stands out? 

There are many wonderful memories — the first time I saw them perform with a professional company, the first time I saw them perform a leading role, or the first time they received flowers onstage. But, the best was the first time I was no longer nervous to watch them perform and I could really enjoy it!

Mother's Day

Millie with Patricia.

Mom

Millie with Jeanette.

 This Sunday, create Mother’s Day memories with the gift of dance! Check out the ballets onstage next season!

Summertime on Instagram

With their summer downtime, our dancers have split from Miami and spread out all over the world! The latest dancer update comes from Joinville, Brazil, where corps de ballet dancer Jovani Furlan takes over our Instagram feed this week. Follow Jovani at #JovaniMCBphotos for a snapshot of his life back in Brazil! 

Dancer

Jovani Furlan

When I’m in Brazil, I’ll be taking class at my old ballet school, The Bolshoi Theater School in Brazil – the only affiliate of the Bolshoi Theater of Moscow. I’m also doing some physical therapy,  working out, spending a lot of time with the family, and enjoying the beaches around my state! - Jovani

Balanchine

Jovani Furlan in Balanchine’s ‘Episodes.’

Read more posts from Jovani here!

Excited about next season? Check out the ballets that we will be working on this summer, when our dancers return to the studio on June 9th!