LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Summer Dance Diary: Week FIVE

Although MCB School’s 5-week Summer Intensive Program has ended, it appears that another student left his diary behind! Watch to see student Michael Holden wrap up the Summer Dance Diary series in this final diary entry. Hope you enjoyed the series!

Summer Dance Diary: Week FOUR

Student McKenna Collins writes about her fourth week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

McKenna Collins

Dear Diary,

We have just completed the fourth week of classes at Miami City Ballet (MCB) School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program and I’m feeling very accomplished and inspired!

Coming into this program as an Apprentice with Madison Ballet in Madison, Wisconsin, I was eager to begin learning from such a renowned school. After having finished the fourth week, it is clear to me as to why it is one of the best schools in the country. From the spacious facilities to the worldly teaching staff, this program has been an incredible learning and growing experience…and it’s not even over yet!

This is my first summer with Miami City Ballet as well as my first time in Miami. Coming from a state where you can drive for miles and only see fields of corn and lots of cows, it’s a very different atmosphere here in the city! From the moment I stepped into the beautiful studios just off of South Beach and met all of my wonderful teachers, I knew this would be a great summer.

The Ladies of Level III!

Having participated in various summer intensives, such as Ballet Chicago, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, I was looking forward to continuing my Balanchine training here at MCB School. We have been covering a wide range of styles from classical to neoclassical, and learning from some of the most experienced dancers in the world. But, with experience comes expectation! Week four has been the toughest of them all so far.  The teachers are really challenging us to perform at our highest level possible every day and to strive for more in every class. It’s that kind of support and encouragement that motivates me to work hard and be the best that I can be!

One of my favorite parts of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program is the amazing faculty that we have had the privilege of studying under! Each of them is so accomplished and gifted — it is humbling to be able to take class and receive corrections from them. Something that I have noticed in most of my classes here is the emphasis the teachers put not only on making each movement technically correct, but also on dancing the movements. Being in such a prestigious environment has motivated me and fueled my passion for dance even more!

McKenna working hard in the beautiful South Beach studios!

As the weeks progress, so has our repertory piece come together. It’s an honor to have Ms. Maribel Modrono as our Repertoire choreographer. She has set a beautiful neoclassical contemporary ballet piece on our level, which we are very excited to perform in just 6 days. She is so creative and passionate about what she does — it is truly inspiring to learn from her!

After a long day of rehearsals, my roommate and I love nothing more than being able to walk right out the doors and on to the beach! We spend our free time shopping on Lincoln Road, trying new foods and of course, soaking up the sun. Celebrating my birthday here was also a once in a lifetime treat.

Relaxing after HOURS of dance class!

Overall, MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program has been an eye opening journey for me that I will never forget. The friends I have made here I will cherish forever. The corrections I have received I will take back home with me and continue to perfect. I have grown as not only a dancer, but also as a young woman here this summer and had the experience of a lifetime!

Yours truly,

McKenna Collins

Summer Dance Diary: Week THREE

Another student has left their diary out! Watch MCB School’s latest video diary entry to discover all of the 5-Week Summer Intensive Program secrets.

Summer Dance Diary: Week TWO

Student Caroline Stevens writes about her second week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

Caroline (left) with her best friend McKenna (right).

Dear Diary,

I have just completed my second week here at the Miami City Ballet School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program. It is my first summer dancing at Miami City Ballet School and I have been having a blast!

I was elated to hear that I had been accepted to this summer program, which is regarded as one of the best in the country! I auditioned at the School of American Ballet, only a bus ride away from The Rock School in Philadelphia where I have been a student for the past year (I am originally from South Carolina). After the audition class, which was taught by the company’s artistic director, Lourdes Lopez, I knew that I wanted to study here. Ms. Lopez and all of the teachers I have had so far at Miami City Ballet School are committed to making each student the best dancer they can be. Throughout the summer program, my goals are to strengthen and refine my technique and artistry, along with becoming a more well-rounded dancer. I feel very motivated and honored to be here at Miami City Ballet!

A typical day for me starts with getting ready and eating breakfast at the University of Miami dorms. We then hop on a school bus that takes us directly to the beautiful Miami City Ballet facilities. Each level has a two hour technique class in the morning, followed by an hour of pointe/variations. After our lunch break, we return to the studios and have either a jazz or modern class followed by some sort of “cool down” class (such as Pilates™, stretch & strengthen, or conditioning). I love the intensity of the program, and the variety of classes offered has made me realize how important it is to be a versatile dancer. My ultimate dream would be to become a professional dancer with the Miami City Ballet or a company in Europe.

On the first day of classes, I was extremely nervous! My first ballet class was taught by Geta Constantinescu, who I had heard only good things about. She is a very methodical teacher and really stresses the importance of adding breath to our movement (including having us make exaggerated breathing noises during combinations!). I was excited to hear that Geta would also be my repertory teacher. My level is learning excerpts from the first act of Giselle, which is one of my all-time favorite ballets! The rehearsal process has been tedious, but enjoyable at the same time! We spend a lot of time perfecting our stage craft, which includes presence, staying in line [formations], and the focus of the head and eyes. It is a lighthearted piece and I enjoy working on it!

One of my favorite teachers so far has been Mr. Olivier Pardina. In his class, Mr. Pardina takes the time to explain every detail and correction, with a special emphasis on port de bras and the use of the head. He has eyes like a hawk and can spot a mistake from across the room! One correction of his that has really stuck with me is to “always dance as though the stage is too small for you.” A lot of the time, I get so caught up with the technical aspects of a combination, that I forget to really move and emote. On top of being a very intelligent teacher, Mr. Pardina is also extremely friendly and approachable.

I have been having a lot of fun outside of the dance studio as well! On the weekends, my friends and I love walking around South Beach and shopping on Lincoln Road. This past week was the big Fourth of July Cruise, which included dinner, dancing and fireworks, while sailing around the beautiful Biscayne Bay. At one point it started pouring rain, but that didn’t stop the dancing! Everyone had a blast! It has been so cool to meet people from all over the world, too. So far I have met people from Canada, France, Brazil and Mexico. I cannot believe how fast the program is going, and I am very excited to see what the next three weeks have in store for me!

Yours truly,

Caroline Stevens

Here I am posing in a phone booth on Lincoln Road:-)

Beautiful Miami Beach!

Summer Dance Diary: Week ONE

Sneak a peek at Miami City Ballet School’s Summer Dance Diary…but, make sure you don’t get caught! Student Alexandra D’Alessandro shares her insights on her first week of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program in our first VIDEO diary entry of the series.

Our 5-Week Intensive Caught on Instagram

With the company out for the summer, students from across the country have flocked to our studios for MCB School’s 5-Week Summer Intensive Program. These ambitious students will train rigorously, six days per week, taking a range of dance classes including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, variations, and pas de deux, among other classes, for five weeks strait! At the end of the program, these students will showcase how their hard worked has paid off in performance on July 26. And to capture all of the action on Instagram is … Michael Holden! In addition to attending the summer program, Michael is a part of the pre-professional year-round program at MCB School. Knowing the ropes here at MCB, Michael will document these next five weeks and reveal the discipline, endurance and passion it takes to be an aspiring dancer making his or her way through one intensive ballet program! Follow Michael at #MichaelMCBphotos!

Michael with MCB School student Mayumi Enokibara posing for Paquita. Photo © Daniel Azoulay.

Fun Fact about Michael: His dream vacation is to visit to Denmark, where his grandfather is from!

Want a sneak peek of our Summer Programs? Enter the studios of MCB School in our latest video featuring an interview with MCB School Director Darleen Callaghan.

Aldeir Monteiro is here to take over our Instagram feed!

Aldeir Monteiro is extremely busy as a Miami City Ballet School Scholarship Apprentice. Yet, between daily ballet classes, rehearsals and performances with BOTH the company and school, he is finding some time to snap shots for our Instagram feed this week.  Aldeir will document his busy balancing-act between the company and school as MCB prepares for performances of Program I: Fire and Ice at the Kravis Center this weekend (Nov. 30-Dec.2).

Aldeir taking company class

Fun fact about Aldeir: Before he started to dance, he did artistic gymnastics.

The Art of and Science of Pointe Shoes

Corps dancer Rebecca King caught up with Marie Johansson, manager of Freed of London’s New York store, to discuss a pointe shoe’s perfect fit.  Each year, Marie visits Miami City Ballet’s studios for pointe shoe fittings, helping dancers select a shoe that matches their unique needs.  In addition to performing expert pointe shoe fittings, Freed of London also sponsors Miami City Ballet School’s annual audition tour for its Summer Intensive Program.  All of us at the ballet thank Freed for its generosity!

Discover the science behind the perfect fit in this video created by Rebecca King.

A Note From Ashley

Post by Ashley Zimmerman, MCB School Resident Assistant

This is a compilation of photos and laughable moments that make me smile, hope you all enjoy! It’s my way of saying thank you. : )

MCB’s Summer Intensive has filled me with a lot of joy this year. I look forward to hearing about all the adventures that are ahead of you guys. Don’t stop dancing, no matter what obstacles may try and break you down, let difficulty strengthen the quality of your artistry and build an even deeper resilience inside your bones. I love you ALL!

-Ashley Marie

Back to MCB School

Post by Vanessa Woods, MCB School Resident Assistant

It’s the hump week in Miami City Ballet’s 5-week Summer Intensive Program. The bus ride on the way to the studio this morning was eerily quiet with sleeping ballet dancers, however by mid day, there is an energy buzzing through the air. I am one of the six chaperones living at the University of Miami with the 120 students. It’s almost surreal being back here because 10 years ago I came to this very summer program as a student. Then in 2006 I came back and studied here year-round before landing my first job. I have been dancing professionally ever since, currently with the Saint Louis Ballet. In an ever-changing world, it seems not much has changed here. It still has the incredible teachers, staff and fellow dancers who all come together to make this program a unique and a valuable learning experience.  Sixteen-year-old McKenna Karnes says that getting to have classes with so many different teachers is a real highlight. The real standout teacher is Mr. Edward Villella himself whom the girls got giddy talking about. They describe him in awe, saying, “he’s not scary” and love how he dances to the music throughout class.

The 2012 RAs! (I'm the second on the left)

After powering through a semi slow-moving first two weeks, little time elapses before friendships emerge that seem life-long. At the studio, students are focused but have a real sense of camaraderie as they lounge around the hallways resting or changing shoes in between their rigorous 4-5 classes a day. When we get back to the dorms, rare do I find a student not huddled in among a group of giggling bun-heads.  Regularly, you catch a gaggle of them flocking from the dining hall to scamper off to the pool, TCBY, Starbucks or some other popular close by destination. Last Wednesday broke up the busy week with our July 4th IndepenDance cruise. Packed into a two-story boat, the students dressed to the nines parade aboard after concluding a full day of classes at the studio. Soon, there is a pile of shoes growing and sweaty dancers crowd the top level of the boat for non-stop dancing leading up to the breathtaking fireworks overlooking the water. Even with training some six hours a day, it seems the students always have a reserve of energy saved for the lucky chaperones at night.

Hanging out on Biscayne Bay

By week three, the ever-important act of icing becomes key and many dancers are seen waltzing around the dorms with bags of ice for their various ailments. After a week of hard work and limited sightseeing, the students are able to sign up for exciting weekend excursions. Last weekend we went to Lighthouse Beach at Key Biscayne and Parrot Jungle. On Saturday’s beach trip, we unloaded our busses-o-ballerina and after turning a few heads, the dancers enjoy some sun on the sand, turquoise warm waters and traditional Dominican snacks under a shady pavilion.  With the snorkeling and Spiderman in IMAX trips this weekend combined with the end of program show just weeks away, the students have much to look forward to. After ten years since doing this summer intensive, I am amazed at how quickly the adaptation process to this whole type of program takes place. With quick adjustment to dorm life, dancing all day, making new friends, having roommates and eating cafeteria food, one would think these students have been doing this for years…then you realize, with this kind of talent, many of them have.  Still, there are some adjustments no amount of experience can prepare you for. When asked what she misses most about home life, 16 year old Morgan Povinelli says with smiling conviction, “home cooked meals”.