LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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!

Sing, Dance, Act on Instagram!

Program III: Triple Threat is finally here! Since the moment our dancers, staff, donors and audience members learned that we would be performing West Side Story Suite, we have not be able to contain our excitement. This ballet is pushing the artistic boundaries of both our dancers and audiences and we cannot wait to see what happens when the curtain rises this Valentine’s Day! Here to capture our dancers making their final preparations before the big premiere on Instagram is Principal Soloist Callie Manning. Follow her at #CallieMCBPhotos.

Callie Manning

Callie Manning

In some ways we have been preparing for West Side Story for almost an entire year —  from the photo shoot last January to the staging in June, and throughout the season, the excitement in our studios has only been building! Hopefully this week I can give everyone an inside peek at the final days before the premiere, the opening night, and the fabulous gala celebration afterwards. - Callie

Calllie and dancers posing for West Side Story Suite.

Calllie and dancers posing for West Side Story Suite.

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how the above image was created during last season’s photo shoot. 

Learn more about our West Side Story Suite premiere by checking out this preview from The Miami Herald!

Dancing what was lost

When the curtain opens on Program III: Triple Threat next week, Miami City Ballet will become one of only two dance companies and the only American company to perform the Paul Taylor solo in Balanchine’s Episodes since New York City Ballet in 1986. Peter Frame — the last dancer to have performed this role and répétiteur for the solo at MCB — referred to it as a “lost work of art.” Now, 27 years later, dancer Jovani Furlan will be one of only a handful of dancers to perform this role. Here, he tells all about this rare and exciting opportunity.

Jovani Furlan

Jovani Furlan

The solo was choreographed by George Balanchine and was first performed by Paul Taylor in 1959. Twenty-seven years later at New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor reconstructed the solo from what he remembered for then Soloist, Peter Frame, who came to Miami to set it for us. There is a lot of Martha Graham influence to the solo and it’s been very fulfilling to get to work on it.

On the first day of rehearsal Peter entered the studio and said, “there are no counts and you guys are barefoot.” From that moment, I knew that this was going to be a new and exciting challenge. It’s my very first time dancing barefoot and it feels like I have a new body. Having no layers between my foot and the floor gives me a different awareness of my movement. Luckily, I have very thick skin on my feet so I’m not suffering that much considering all of the pirouettes and drags that I have to do in the almost 8-minute-long solo. The costume also makes me feel very vulnerable. I’m dressed in a white unitard all alone on a big stage with a spotlight on me. I don’t think that I’ve ever been that exposed on stage – it’s scary but I’m so thrilled about this opportunity.  

Peter Frame performing the Paul Taylor solo. Photo by Monroe Warshaw.

Peter Frame performing the Paul Taylor solo. Photo by Monroe Warshaw.

The Anton Webern music is very intricate and sounds almost as if there is no connection between the instruments. There is a calm feeling to it at some moments, but the majority sounds very agonizing, making the dancer appear like he’s trying to scream with his body. With no counts, we have to stop and listen to the instruments closely. We have to understand, for example, that when the harp plays, we have to be doing a penché, or when the horn strikes, I have to be putting my leg down to get to the floor. There are many moments where it’s just silent, and those quiet moments are crucial for us to catch up to the following step.

Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Jovani rehearsing the solo. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Peter explained the meaning of the solo — the dancer is a bug, trapped in glass of milk wanting to get out. The poses show the struggle of the bug trying to escape, dragging its body in various shapes and forms. Parts of the solo actually make me feel as if I were stuck to the bottom of a glass glued to the milk — using my hands to move my legs.

What I like about the choreography is that it makes me lose sense of where my body parts are situated. I often find myself trying to create a symmetry that can only be achieved by losing sense of the basic positions — by trying to forget where my arms, head, legs and feet are placed. I go from grabbing my foot in high “developpé à la seconde” to dropping myself on the ground in a split second. There are several of big squats in second position where I literally have to try to drop my hips as low as I can. In the middle of the solo I find myself searching the floor for something. There’s some desperation to it, but I try not to bring too much drama into my interpretation — even though sometimes I get carried away — and let my body and the choreography speak for itself. In so many moments you have to go from a full extension of your whole body to a contraction of your stomach. This is very challenging for me because I tend to be very light and uplifted — to be grounded and make my body contract from the center of my chest is a new for me. 

Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Jovani rehearsing the solo. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

I’ve been discovering different aspects about my dancing that I didn’t know before and it’s been extremely gratifying. Our ballet master Arnold Quintane has a great sense of modern dance and it’s been very helpful working with him daily. Now we are heading towards the last two weeks of rehearsal and soon Peter Frame will be here to give more corrections so we can all look our best on opening night. I can’t wait to listen to the orchestra play the music and have the lights and everything ready to go.

Jovani working with Ballet Master Arnold Quintane.

Jovani working with Ballet Master Arnold Quintane. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Make sure to see this this “lost work of art” be brought back to the stage during Program III: Triple Threat!

WATCH a sneak peek now!

A Chance to Shine

Not many apprentices get the opportunity to perform a leading role in their first year with a professional ballet company. However, during Program II: See the Music, one of MCB’s newest members had that chance! Leanna Rinaldi writes about her experience learning and performing Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat below.

Leanna Rinaldi

Leanna Rinaldi

Having the opportunity to perform Jardí Tancat, choreographed by Nacho Duato, is an absolute honor. As an apprentice, the first few days of rehearsals were a little intimidating, being around such amazing dancers. To be quite frank, learning and executing the choreography for Jardí Tancat was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done mentally, emotionally and physically. Luckily, we had répétituer Kevin Irving patiently teaching us and showing us how each meticulous movement should be executed. The steps in Jardí Tancat are unlike what we usually do at the ballet. In most ballets we almost always have to pull ourselves up and think of being weightless, while in Jardí Tancat we have to be grounded deep into the floor and be heavy with our movements. I’ve always loved this style of dance and I had a lot of modern training when I was younger, so it was refreshing to kick off those pointe shoes and have the opportunity to dance this wonderful piece. The first time I performed it onstage was very surreal. It felt like I had a deep relationship with each dancer onstage and could feel everyone’s energy and emotion. There are no wings, so there are no distractions coming from offstage. We just have each other and the music. We were so proud of what we had accomplished together. Dancing Jardí Tancat was so exhilarating that when it came time for bows, I asked myself, “What just happened?”  It was truly an amazing experience and I feel like it has pushed me as a dancer and helped with other areas of my dancing.  Jardí Tancat  is an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my career! – Leanna

Leanna rehearsing with Shimon Ito.

Leanna rehearsing with Shimon Ito. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Leanna and the cast of Jardi Tancat.

Leanna and the cast of Jardi Tancat.

There is still time catch Leanna perform in, what the Miami New Times called, “a gem, a major addition to the company repertory… beautiful” during Program II: See the Music at the Kravis Center. Get your tickets here!

 

A New Year on Instagram

We are extending the joy of the holidays into the New Year! This weekend we head to the Broward Center for our final run of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. Corps de ballet dancer Lexie Overholt will be capturing all of the backstage action on our Instagram feed. Make sure to follow her at #LexieMCBphotos and find out why she enjoys performing this holiday classic below!

Lexie Overholt

Lexie Overholt

Nutcracker is always a fun time of year for everyone because it brings us back to our childhood. One of my favorite things about Nutcracker is the matinee shows. Many kids come to see the show for the first time, and to hear them “ooo” and “ahh” gives you the most gratifying feeling! — Lexie

There will be several ooo’s and ahhh’s filling the house of the Broward Center on Sunday, January 5, when we hold our first-ever Nutty New Year’s Family Fest! Attendees will enjoy photo ops with Nutcracker characters, face-painting, arts & crafts by Young At Art Museum, and a candy-cane contest to meet The Sugar Plum Fairy backstage, and more! This fun starts at 11:30am and is FREE with paid admission to the performance!

Lexie caught on Instagram on her birthday!

Lexie caught on Instagram on her birthday!

 

Childhood memories of the Nutcracker!

Childhood memories of the Nutcracker!

 

Holiday Magic on Instagram

The Nutcracker may have left the Arsht Center, but Marie and her Prince are just getting started on their magical journey! We now travel north to West Palm Beach for performances of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at the Kravis Center, where corps de ballet dancer Leigh-Ann Esty will be capturing the magic on Instagram. Follow her on our feed #LeighMCBphotos to make the holidays last.  Leigh-Ann shares why this beloved holiday tradition is so special to her below!

Leigh-Ann Esty

Leigh-Ann Esty

I’m so excited for the holiday season. Nutcracker means so much to me! It brings families together and really gets you in the holiday spirit. I’ve been performing in The Nutcracker since I was 7, so it’s been a huge part of my life! I love how happy it makes the audience. 

Lead Marzipan

Leigh-Ann as Lead Marzipan Shepherdess. Photo © Kyle Froman

There is still time to catch The Nutcracker at the Kravis Center (Dec. 27-30) and Broward Center (Jan. 3-5). GET TICKETS NOW!

 

Making Nutcracker Memories on Instagram

It has been said that this time of the year is the most wonderful and we can’t agree more! Tomorrow, we open George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ at the Adrienne Arsht Center, starting our our magical journey into a world of dancing snowflakes, sweets and flowers for the next three weeks, until our final performance at the Broward Center on January 5, 2014. With every holiday tradition comes brand new memories, so to capture the special backstage moments on Instagram is corps de ballet dancer Ashley Knox.

Ashley Knox

Ashley Knox

For audiences and dancers alike, The Nutcracker holds a special place in our hearts as a beloved holiday tradition. Here, Ashley tells us what makes The Nutcracker so meaningful to her:

Ever since I was a little girl I would get so excited for The Nutcracker — the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it! All of the rehearsals and the chance to perform made it such a magical time. I still get that same nostalgic feeling every Nutcracker season. 

Ashley performing in 'Marzipan'.

Ashley performing in ‘Marzipan’.

Join Ashley and the rest of our dancers on a magical journey with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.

Adrienne Arsht Center – December 19-24
Kravis Center – December 27-30
Broward Center – January 3-5

GET TICKETS NOW!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams of Sugar Plums

Dreams of Sugar Plums have been dancing in the heads of ballerinas everywhere — and for many more nights than just the night be for Christmas;-) Whether it’s the moment a little girl puts on her first pair of ballet slippers, or sees the Sugar Plum Fairy work her magic onstage, a little spark ignites, fueling aspirations of one day dancing this quintessential ballerina role.  This dream is swiftly becoming a reality for Soloists Sara Esty and Jennifer Lauren, as they make their debut performances as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.  Here, they share their excitement about performing this milestone role!

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

At eight years old, I performed as a polichinelle in my first Nutcracker and loved every minute of it! As I grew, I continued to perform in every Nutcracker and danced many different characters. The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy was always something I dreamed of dancing. It was the first principal ballerina role I had ever seen, and the only consistent role that came back each year. The first time I was cast to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy was with the Alabama Ballet. It was among the first principal roles I had danced. I was so in love with this role. The répétiteur for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Darla Hoover, gave me my own special wand. I enjoyed dancing with it for six wonderful seasons. Fast forward to today, and for the first time in six years at Miami City Ballet, I am dancing the role that I have loved since I was a wide-eyed little polichinelle! The familiarity of this role brings happy memories of all the amazing Nutcrackers I have attended and performed. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Lourdes Lopez and Kleber Rebello as my Cavalier. Lourdes has been encouraging and insightful in our rehearsals and the wealth of knowledge she has for this role inspires me. I can’t wait to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy with Miami City Ballet and create new memories with my wand!

Jennifer Lauren as the Sugar Plum Fairy with Alabama Ballet.

Jennifer Lauren as the Sugar Plum Fairy with Alabama Ballet.

Sara Esty

Sara Esty

As I write, I am watching a few of my friends in New York City ballet do the kids show of The Nutcracker. I’m in Lincoln Center and am reminded of how magical the show can be… There are so many happy children here! I can’t believe I am getting the chance to perform Sugar Plum this year. I have danced it just once before in my career (at home when I was a senior in high school), so I am very much looking forward to giving it another go with Miami City Ballet. It is one of the many coveted Balanchine roles, and to be able to have reached this goal is an amazing feeling. She is the quintessential ballerina, and queen of the land of sweets – who wouldn’t want to be her? Hopefully I will inspire the little girls around me, as the Sugar Plum Fairies did when I was growing up!

Sara Esty rehearsing the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with her Cavalier Jovani Furlan.

Sara Esty rehearsing the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with her Cavalier Jovani Furlan.

Experience the MAGIC of America’s #1 Holiday Tradition with tickets to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™!

Adrienne Arsht Center: December 19-24
Kravis Center: December 27-30
Broward Center: January 3-5

 

Welcome to Miami Jordan Matter!

Anyone recognize this photo?

Jordan Matter's 'Dancers Among Us'

Jordan Matter’s ‘Dancers Among Us’

If you know and love this image, along with several other awe-inspiring dance photos, than you have probably heard of photographer Jordan Matter and his New York Times bestseller Dancers Among Us. This week, Jordan takes his talents to the Magic City to exhibit his work at Spectrum Miami and Select Fair, both running December 4-8th in Midtown and South Beach respectively. During his visit, Jordan will also partake in two live photo shoots with Miami City Ballet dancers Renan Cerdeiro, Jovani Furlan and Emily Bromberg!

The first shoot will take place during the Opening Preview of Spectrum Miami on Wednesday, December 4, from 6-10pm (come before 8pm to make sure you catch the shoot). This will be a rare opportunity to preview Jordan’s exhibit and see how he works with the dancers to capture these extraordinary shots.

The fun continues on Thursday, December 5, when Jordan and MCB dancers hit up South Beach for a live photo shoot on Ocean Drive! Follow us on Twitter #JordanShootsMCB to find our exact location and times to come out and watch the photo shoot!

Jordan already has some experience shooting MCB dancers -- here's a shot of former MCB dancer and 'Dancing with the Stars' contestant Alex Wong!

Jordan already has some experience shooting MCB dancers — here’s a shot of former MCB dancer and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ contestant Alex Wong!

Thanksgiving with MCB!

While most of you are digging your nose deep into cookbooks and fighting the crowds at the local grocery store, we are preparing for Thanksgiving with rehearsals of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™!  This weekend, we head to Naples for our first Nutcracker performance of the season! Dancer Rebecca King will be capturing the magic of this holiday classic on our Instagram feed and shares how The Nutcracker has become an annual Thanksgiving tradition in its own right below. Follow Rebecca #RebeccaMCBphotos!

Rebecca King

Rebecca King

We have heard that in the rest of the country the seasons are changing. Yet, here in Miami, the only thing we have noticed is a slight drop in the humidity.  (We are really roughing it here in the tropics). So, for Miami City Ballet dancers, the truest indicator of the change in seasons is performing The Nutcracker in Naples.  For the past seven years that I have been with MCB, Thanksgiving and Naples have always gone hand-in-hand.  Most years we spend Thanksgiving together on the gulf coast in anticipation of the Nutcracker’s kickoff the next day. Being together for Thanksgiving is something that has become a tradition for all of us — creating wonderful memories of spending a very special holiday together as a family.

Nutcracker casting is up on the board in the studios, we are packing our theater cases, and drawing names for Secret Santa — the holidays are officially here in Miami.

MCB Thanksgiving 2012 in Naples!

MCB Thanksgiving 2012 in Naples!

Experience the magic of the The Nutcracker at any of our home venues located in South Florida! GET TICKETS NOW!
Adrienne Arsht Center: December 19-24
Kravis Center: December 27-30
Broward Center: January 3-5