LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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!

Zoe Zien takes over Instagram!

We are getting ready for a performance filled week ahead! On Tuesday, several dancers will premiere their original works created in collaboration with New World Symphony fellows during the FREE series – Inside the Music . Then, only three days later, the entire Company heads up to Ft. Lauderdale for the opening of Don Quixote at the Broward Center. With performances spanning the Florida coastline, we are fortunate to have corps de ballet dancer Zoe Zien taking over our Instagram feed to capture it all! Follow Zoe at #ZoeMCBphotos!

Zoe Zien

Zoe Zien

We are all very excited about this week. Miami City Ballet (MCB) and New World Symphony (NWS) are coming together for a special event, cultivated by the musicians and dancers themselves.  The evening will be made up of original works created by the MCB dancers, to music performed live by the NWS Fellows. The creative process has been truly inspiring for the dancers and we are all looking forward to the show on Tuesday night! Later in the week, we open with Don Q at the Broward Center. It’s a buoyant production with over-the-top characters and bravura dancing.

-Zoe

Zoe's new works takes place on camera! Here they are at Fairchild Tropicla Gardens' with New World Symphony's videographer Bruce Pinchbeck.

Zoe’s new work takes place on camera! Here are  MCB dancers at Fairchild Tropical Gardens with New World Symphony’s videographer Bruce Pinchbeck.

Zoe snuck a shot on Instagram of our creative exchange with New World Symphony.

Zoe snuck a shot on Instagram of our creative exchange with New World Symphony.

Read more about our creative exchange with New World Symphony here and watch a sneak peek of Don Quixote!

Your Summer Intensive Questions Answered!

You sent us your questions about MCB School’s Summer Intensive…and our students have answered! Meet Carlos and Victoria — two current school-year students who are also Summer Intensive veterans!

Carlos Valdes and Victoria Huaroto

Carlos Valdes and Victoria Huaroto

Victoria:

Bring the ballet basics – any pink ballet tights, any solid color leotards, ballet slippers, pointe shoes (enough for 5 weeks in Miami’s humidity), warm-ups to wear prior to class and after.  For jazz, bring jazz shoes and any style of black bottoms whether it’s black shorts, leggings or jazz pants.  If you have a yoga mat, bring it for the stretch and strengthening and yoga classes; however, if you don’t have one, the Gyrotonics mats are available to students in the studios.  Bring hair supplies to efficiently put your hair in a secure bun.  Bring regular clothes as well as clothes for special outings on the weekends or the Fourth of July celebration.  And most importantly bring a good attitude to get as much as you can from the summer!

The dorms are at University of Miami and are very nice — each student has one other roommate.  If you know someone who is also attending the summer you can request to dorm with them when you register for the summer.  If not, you are paired with another dancer, usually your age and with a similar personality with you.  The Miami City Ballet School pairs the students very well and your roommates from summer are often friends you will keep in touch with for years to come.  The office will send an email prior to the start of the intensive (in early May) with who you are sharing a room with. That way when you arrive in Miami you already know who your roommate is!

FB question

Carlos: Right now there are 33 boys in the program and classes range between 20-25 students.

Pas de Deux classes are in my opinion the most enjoyable part of the Summer Program. The first week of the program teachers tend to experiment with different combinations to determine the general level of the class. Starting from week two, classes are set to fit the level of students and their needs as dancers. By the time you reach weeks three and four, lessons become more demanding. Normally, instead of asking for 2-3 pirouettes in a simple beginning combination, students will be pushed for more, while always preserving cleanliness and grace. I happened to be working on presses and a variety of lifts by the 4th week last summer. Teachers also stress the vital connection that must exist between dancers, when sharing the stage as partners. There is not one specific partner for each class. This allows you to deal with different dancers, which improves your experience when partnering overall.

Many events and different field trips are arranged by the school throughout the five weeks to ensure students also enjoy their summer time. For instance, it has become a tradition over the years to take students on a boat for the Fourth of July celebrations. This boat sails through the bay of the downtown Miami, as festivities take place all around the city and on board, and as fireworks explode in the sky. Chaperones ensure safety in every single activity held by the school. Students also tend to spend time at the beach during the week depending on curfew times. This is probably the most common activity among students.

Weight training classes are usually one hour long. Lessons start with an active warm-up, varying from stretching to cardio exercises, to prepare for the muscle work later on. Once students are warm, different weight-lifting exercises take place. More stretching and relaxation exercises are incorporated into the end of the class to smoothly transition to the next class or to end the day. The first week, teachers assess the physical fitness of the students. This happens to be the first week coming back from the one-to-two month break between school and summer for some students. Therefore, instructors are very careful in giving exercises for students in order to prevent injuries throughout the program. The next two weeks, classes improve and become more demanding. Nonetheless, safety is always key. The fourth week of classes, lessons focus more on recovery since this happens to be the most exhausting week of the whole program. This class can be particularly useful when learning how to manage your body in order to prevent injuries in the future.

Instagram question 2

health_fooddiary:

MCB School: For that age group, we recommend auditioning for the 5-week Summer Intensive!

naatalieelynn:

Victoria: The dress code is the traditional full length pink tights with any solid color leotard.  For shoes any ballet slippers, it doesn’t matter whether they are canvas or leather.  For the jazz class, jazz shoes are required with any black bottoms (examples are black tights, shorts, jazz pants).  For the modern classes the dancers are barefoot with any black bottoms as well.  For the other classes consisting of stretch and strengthening, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, the dancers may where any appropriate dance clothing as long as the teachers can see the form of the students. Boys must wear white ballet slippers.

alyssa_275:

Victoria: Yes, you do need to register for the two week summer intensive audition, but not in advance. You can download the registration form by clicking HERE and bring the form with you to the audition. 

Instagram question 1

jadecase_xoxo: 

Victoria: Black jazz shoes are preferred. The rest of the classes will be barefoot or ballet shoes.

kallionpointe: 

Victoria: Each day the students will have at least one class on pointe if not multiple whether it’s variations class, pointe class, or repertoire.  Depending on the level the student is placed will also determine how many classes a student has on pointe.  The higher levels will sometimes even have the center work of ballet class on pointe.  The amount of pointe shoes depends on the level of dancer and the feet of the dancer.  This past summer I brought 5 pairs of pointe shoes one pair per week, but also keep in mind the humidity of Miami during the summer this will also make a dancer go through pointe shoes faster.  I would always bring more than you think just in case. 

We are looking forward to seeing everyone this summer!

Dancer PROMOTIONS!

We are proud to announce that two dancers will be promoted next season. We send a huge congratulations to Nathalia Arja and Leanna Rinaldi!

Originally from Rio de Janeiro and a graduate of MCB School, Nathalia joined MCB as an apprentice in 2009 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2011. Three years later, and after performing lead roles in Ballo della Regina, Polyphonia, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and even the coveted Sugar Plum Fairy, among others, she will kick off the 2014-2015 Season as a Soloist! We asked Nathalia how she reacted to the exciting news. Read on to find out!

Nathalia Arja in Balanchine's 'Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.'

Nathalia Arja in Balanchine’s ‘Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.’

When I first found out I got promoted I was literally in shock. When our Company Manager told me that Lourdes [Lopez] wanted to talk to me, I would never guess it would be about a promotion. So right after Lourdes told me the news, my first thought was, ’are you sure?’ Then, my second thought was, ‘oh my God, where is my mom?’ There were just so many crazy feelings in less than five seconds! It was indescribable and I remember leaving the room sobbing, then started running around looking for my friends because I couldn’t keep the news to myself. I had to tell them right away. It was definitely one the the best days of my life for sure. I’m just so thankful. Since I heard the news, I have kept repeating to myself, ‘Oh my God, I got promoted!” I still cannot believe it.

-Natalia

 

Leanna is a Texas native who joined MCB as an apprentice at the beginning of this season, after graduating from MCB School. In just her first year with the company, she has had several opportunities to shine onstage, particularly when she was selected to perform Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat — a demanding, contemporary work that features only six dancers onstage (read about her experience performing the work here).  After just one year as an apprentice, Leanna will begin the 2014-2015 Season as an official member of the corps de ballet. Read about her reaction to the big news below:

Repetituer Kevin Irving teaching Leanna the choreography.

Leanna rehearsing Jardi Tancat with repetiteur Kevin Irving.

When Lourdes told me that I was invited to continue on in the company as a corps de ballet member, I was ecstatic. Receiving the contract in the mail was the best part. I’ve been working for this moment my whole life. All the sacrifices and hard work led to holding a contract in my hand. I couldn’t ask for anything better than getting to do what I love for a living. I’m thrilled to officially be apart of this company.  

-Leanna

Lookout for these rising stars onstage during our season finale of Don Quixote and when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October!

 

A Creative Exchange of Music and Dance

After visiting a rehearsal at Miami City Ballet studios, New World Symphony (NWS) fellows began meeting regularly with a group of our dancers to examine the relationship between sound and movement, resulting in a creative exchange between the talented young artists. Corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden explains how this organic relationship will materialize onstage in the very near future!

Michael Breeden

Michael Breeden

Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony have long been the two pillars of Miami’s arts world, attracting acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The dancers and musicians work in the same neighborhood, frequent each other’s performances, and have always expressed how wonderful it would be to work together. After decades as South Florida’s premier arts organizations, it is with great excitement that we prepare for our first full-evening performance together on March 18th — a creative exchange between the dancers of Miami City Ballet and the fellows of New World Symphony.

The two organizations agreed that New World Symphony’s free Inside the Music program would be an ideal outlet for featuring the creativity of the dancers and the musicians. Soon, a small group of artists from each organization were brainstorming on programming, the evening’s format, and the myriad other decisions that go into bringing an evening of music and dance to life. The musicians suggested works they wanted to play, dancers stepped up to choreograph, and we began to work feverishly at putting together a performance almost entirely in our spare time.

photo 2

Adriana Pierce and Leigh-Ann Esty work on a rehearsal schedule for the dancers and musicians.

Adriana Pierce and Leigh-Ann Esty work on a rehearsal schedule for the dancers and musicians.

Even though both the musicians and dancers are extremely busy with their individual seasons, an opportunity like this simply couldn’t be passed up. As the performance date approaches and the final touches come together, the excitement among the dancers is palpable. This is an event Miami arts lovers will not want to miss, as well as the beginning of a long and fruitful artistic relationship!

-Michael

NWS fellows sitting in on company class.

NWS fellows sitting in on company class.

Inside the Music on March 18 will feature nearly 30 of our dancers, seven of whom — Renan Cerdeiro, Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty, Adriana Pierce, Ariel Rose, Eric Trope and Zoe Zien — will debut original choreography created specifically for the event! More details and information on the performance here!

Don Quixote stands the test of time!

Our 2013-2014 Season has completely flown by! The Company is now preparing for its final program of the season — the full-length production of Don Quixote. This ballet dates back to 1869, when choreographer Marius Petipa created it for the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Having danced in Spain himself, Petipa’s choreography reflects the local culture by incorporating the Spanish dance idiom into the movements and bringing Cervantes’ sensual gypsies and macho bullfighters to life onstage.

Since its origination, Don Quixote has been delighting audiences all over the world. The irresistible Minkus score and lavish costumes and sets make this ballet an all-time, crowd favorite and a celebratory closing to a successful 2013-2014 Season. Get a sneak peek of the performance in the video below!

Let us know if you have seen Don Quixote before! Why do YOU think this ballet has stood the test of time?

Need tickets? CLICK HERE

Brianna Abruzzo Makes her Instagram Debut!

We have such a busy week ahead! Today, we head to Naples to perform an all-Balanchine program including Ballo della Regina, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and Episodes. Then, we turn back around and travel east to West Palm Beach for our final performances of Program III: Triple Threat at the Kravis Center. During our travels, its nice to reflect upon the journey our dancers have taken as artists, exploring the realms of singing and acting for West Side Story Suite. While it has been challenging, frustrating, and at times, just plain scary, our dancers have achieved a tremendous artistic feat.

We get an inside look at this extraordinary journey through the eyes of our dancers, when a different Company takes over our Instagram feed each week. For our final performances of Triple Threat, MCB newcomer Brianna Abruzzo will take over the feed for her first time! We can’t wait to get her fresh perspective on all of the excitement surrounding this week’s performances. Follow her at #BriannaMCBphotos.

Brianna Abruzzo

Brianna Abruzzo

Program III: Triple Threat is a thrill to perform and watch. It’s such a diverse program with so much to offer. West Side Story Suite is my favorite piece because I love to act and sing. To be able to incorporate that into my dancing is so exciting! — Brianna

Brianna with Christina Spigner.

Brianna poses with dancer Christina Spigner in their West Side Story Suite costumes.

Get to know more about Brianna in the following blog post!

Becoming a Triple Threat: DANCE

Our dancers kicked off their pointe shoes and slipped into sneakers and heels for the premiere of West Side Story Suite. Watch how they learned Jerome Robbins’ big, Broadway dance moves in our final video of the ‘Triple Threat’ series. There is only one more chance to catch West Side Story Suite during Program III: Triple Threat at the Kravis Center (Palm Beach) this weekend – Feb. 28-Mar. 2.