Remembering MCB School Days – Patricia

Post by Patricia Delgado, MCB Principal Dancer

My memories of performing in the MCBS Student Showcase are all so wonderful.  One of the greatest things about performing when you are a student is the amount of detailed coaching that takes place.  You begin working on a ballet months before and spend every day breaking down each step with your teacher so that it becomes so much a part of your muscle memory that when you get to the stage, you can just dance your heart out and enjoy yourself. One of the main lessons I learned from all of my teachers at the School was that if you put the time and effort into every rehearsal, you can trust yourself the day of the performance and really let go.  If it weren’t for all of the skills I learned at the School, I wouldn’t have the basic tools I need to continue growing as a dancer in the Company.

When I was a student we did several mini performances/ lecture demonstrations at high school auditoriums and gyms.  We had one shot at the stage at the end of the year!   That performance became such an important focus in my life, that all of my excitement and anticipation would build up until that very moment when I was finally doing what I love!  Now, after 12 seasons with the Company and performing out on stage over 100 times a season, I find myself sometimes craving that feeling of only one show!  I believe that craving comes from the incredible memories I have from being a student!

Patricia Delgado as a student at MCBS.

One specific moment that I will never forget was working on Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux my last year at the School with Edward Villella!  It was always a nerve wrecking and exciting feeling when towards the end of the rehearsal process Edward would come in and coach us on last minute details.  I remember getting more butterflies in my stomach for those rehearsals than for the actual performance.  From the minute he stopped us to give us a correction on the very first step of the pas de deux, he was so calm and nurturing that all my nerves went away and it became all about the work and soaking up all of the valuable information he was passing on to us and  applying it to the choreography.  The way in which he expressed how important it was for us to “sing” the music with our bodies and phrase our steps immediately changed my focus.  After many rehearsals trying to perfect the lines I was trying to create and controlling my technique, he showed me for the first time the idea that there are an incredible amount of elements that are important to making a ballet come alive out on stage!  For example, when and how to connect to your partner, and how to “attack” the music, and even in a plotless ballet like Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, to ask myself what am I trying to say and communicate to the audience through these steps.  I knew from working with Edward in the School how much I wanted to dance for him and continue to learn and grow from all of his knowledge and love of the art form!

Since graduating from the School in 2001, I love attending the Showcase! I  look forward to it not only to relive the magic I remember feeling, but to see what new and inspiring young dancers continue to come out of the School!  To see such talent is always a reminder of how special and how much hard work it takes to be a dancer!

Patricia Delgado with MCB dancers in Western Symphony. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Remembering MCB School Days – Nicolas

Post by Nicolas de la Vega, Los Angeles Ballet

I trained at the MCB School from 2007 through 2009. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was my first time living away from home and my first time ever being taught by Carter Alexander and Geta Constantinescu. Their classes were not only challenging but got me to push myself in a way that I had never been pushed before. They taught me so many things, from improving technique, to musicality, and to making every movement more and more interesting. Having that and watching the very talented Miami City Ballet perform was all very inspiring! I had the privilege of dancing the lead role in George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie for the Student Showcase. I had an amazing time rehearsing this ballet and getting such great input from my teachers and even Edward Villella to help improve my performance.  After the last show I felt very accomplished and proud of myself for working as hard as I did. I was able to show both my teachers and the audience why I love to dance. Having not met Carter and Geta, I would not be where I am today. Thank you MCB School for giving me such a great experience!

Nicolas de la Vega in Western Symphony. Choreography © George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo courtesy of Nicolas de la Vega.

Remembering MCB School Days – Kara

Post by Kara White, MCB Corps de Ballet

Some of my favorite memories from the School are of the preparation for the Student Showcase. Every dancer puts so much energy and focus into the program and all that hard work pays off when you finally perform! As a MCBS student, you get the opportunity to perfect each movement and you learn something new every day to help you grow as a dancer. I personally loved performing the principal role in Square Dance during the Showcase. It is one of the greatest performing experiences and memories I have as a dancer.

Kara White and Andrei Chagas (as MCB School students) in The Four Temperaments. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Alexandre Dufaur.

Remembering MCB School Days – Jessica

Post by Jessica Shults

I look back on my MCB School days with the fondest of memories, and a huge amount of gratitude for the wonderful growth and opportunity I was allowed to experience there. I joined the School in its inaugural year. I was 11 and had just been dancing in Boston over the summer with my aunt. She was also a dancer who actually had performed on the Boston Ballet stage with Edward Villella in her youth. She told me that “Eddie Villella was opening a company school and that I had to go there”- so I did.

Jessica Shults as a MCB School student.

We were still in the MCB studios on Lincoln Road back then and I loved every moment! We would take classes with the Lincoln Road crowd staring in and then finish up the day by running over to Granny Feel Goods or the Cuban Café on the corner for eats. I have always said that the very best part of the School was being able to study alongside the Company. I would peek into the doorway everyday and watch Company rehearsals or Edward teaching class. I gained so much by just observing and I also figured out pretty fast that there wasn’t anything more that I wanted to do than dance with those incredible dancers and work for that amazing, charismatic director. When I was just 16 I auditioned for the Company. My teachers told me to go for practice so that I would be ready for the real thing the following year when I graduated. Soon after the audition I was called into Edward’s office and asked to join the Company on tour to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! I left his office trembling, went downstairs to my friends, and broke down in tears. They thought something was wrong but I was just so overwhelmed with happiness and excitement! The following year I finished my senior year dancing with the Company as an apprentice and continued on to dance for the next 10 years with those very dancers and director that I had admired so much. I am so honored to have had all the opportunities that both the School and the Company provided for me and grateful to both Edward and Linda for their commitment to building such a fine and exceptional arts organization here in Miami, my home.

Jessica Shults © Lucrecia Diaz

Jessica continues to be part of the Miami City Ballet family as a member of MCB’s Upper Room — the Company’s young professionals group.

The 2012 Student Showcase is May 18-20! Click here for more information.

Remembering MCB School Days – Jeanette

With the Miami City Ballet School Student Showcase just around the corner, some MCBS alumni are reminiscing about their days at the School. Did you train at MCBS? Share your memories with us by emailing amartinez@miamicityballet.org and you can end up on our blog!

Don’t miss the ballet stars of tomorrow at Miami City Ballet School Student Showcase – May 18-20.

Post by Jeanette Delgado, MCB Principal Dancer

I came to MCB School at 9 years old and grew up loving and learning all about ballet! I am now a principal dancer with the Company. I wouldn’t be the dancer I am today without the encouraging and nurturing environment that Edward and Linda Villella created at their school! We were part of a family, and it wasn’t until my first class back after a summer program at American Ballet Theatre that I felt nervous it would all change. I was 16 years old and I remember walking into a familiar studio and seeing lots of unfamiliar faces! It was shocking, exciting and nerve wrecking all at the same time. It was the first time a group of students from all over stayed after the summer program to study here for the year! There were some changes — but they were all good! I remember being inspired right away and feeling like I was part of the beginning of something great! Now I realize the best part of that experience was that the place I always loved and felt comfortable at, grew and became more professional without losing the friendly and supportive environment that felt so special!

Jeanette Delgado as a student at MCB School.

Jeanette Delgado as Swanilda in Coppélia. Photo © Joe Gato.

MCB reaches out to the community with free performances for children

We think everyone should be able to enjoy ballet! Therefore MCB does everything in its power to make this art form accessible to families who otherwise wouldn’t make it to the theater – hence, Ballet for Young People (BFYP). The tickets to these performances are free and provide the opportunity for children and their loved ones to attend MCB performances. This season brings two BFYP performances: Carnival of the Animals – The Swansong (performed by MCB School) and Coppélia (performed by the Company). The programs chosen for this special series are ballets that are relatable to children and families, and are an excellent introduction to ballet.

Carnival of the AnimalsThe Swansong was performed by Miami City Ballet School advanced students at Adrienne Arsht Center on Saturday, February 18. It is a story that teaches us about the importance of respecting and living in harmony with nature. The plot was carefully designed to engage young audiences using relatable characters, colorful costumes and dynamic choreography. Children in the audience were marveled by the show and the MCB School students had a wonderful time performing the piece!

This family scored great seats! Photo by Eileen Soler.

These MCB fans brought special guests with them! Photo by Eileen Soler.

Almost show time! Photo by Eileen Soler.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

MCB School's production of Carnival of the Animals - The Swansong. Photo by Gaston Cardenas.

On Saturday, March 31 at 2pm, ballet lovers of all ages will enjoy excerpts from comedic and charming Coppélia, as part of Adrienne Arsht Center’s Family Fest series. This performance is already sold out; however, the Company will also perform the full-length version on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 1 at 2 p.m.

MCB thanks the following supporters of Ballet for Young People: The Rockefeller Foundation, Peacock Foundation, Nordstrom, The Rundgren Foundation and Citizens Interested in Arts.

Saying Goodbye to Ashley and Erick

The five-week Summer Intensive Program is over and Ashley and Erick have moved on to other ventures. We miss them already! It seems like just yesterday we were halfway through the program. Before they left, we chatted with them one final time!

Halfway Through The Summer Intensive

Remember Ashley and Erick? We touched base with them recently to see how it feels to be at the halfway mark of the Summer Intensive Program. Ashley and Erick share with us what they’ve been learning and what works they’ve been rehearsing for the presentation at the end of the summer.

This is my DANCE BAG!

The Summer Intensive students spend lots of time in the studios during the program, so they have to bring tons of stuff with them in their dance bags. We’ve been so curious as to what they carry around all day that we just had to ask!

Meet Ashley and Erick – MCBS Students

The 2011 Summer Intensive Program is in full swing! The students have adapted to the schedule and their new teachers, and are feeling at home in sunny South Beach!

Meet Ashley and Erick, two of the Advanced students in the program. They will be checking back with us again through the end of the Summer Intensive to share their thoughts on their training and time here at Miami City Ballet School. Stay tuned!