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!
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!
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
Last week, répétiteur and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet TheatreKevin Irving visited our studios to teach our dancers Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat. This profoundly Spanish, soulful work challenged our dancers to move differently, breaking free from their typical ballet vocabulary. Dancer Chase Swatosh describes his experience learning Duato’s unique choreography below!
Rehearsing Jardí Tancat and trying to learn Nacho Duato’s distinctive movement vocabulary was an awesome experience. I feel like every time I learn a new dance style, a new technique, or a new physical activity I gain a deeper knowledge about my own physicality and the amazing multitude of ways in which our bodies can move. There were many challenges for me in learning this new style of movement that is so different from classical technique. The movement in Jardí Tancat is characterized by parallel positions, a low center of gravity, fluidity, and gestures of sowing seeds, harvesting, and yearning for raindrops (Jardí Tancat means “enclosed garden” in Catalan). The movement has a heaviness to it, requiring the dancers to stay low to the ground and use the momentum of their body weight and head to link steps together, instead of maintaining an upright center the whole time. This can be disorienting to the dancer in certain moments, but perfectly necessary in order to achieve the right movement quality that creates the atmosphere of Jardí Tancat. We were fortunate to have the ins and outs of this piece taught to us patiently and articulately by répétiteur Kevin Irving. He was a pleasure to work with and really gave us a sense of the spirit of Jardí Tancat and the purpose behind the movement. I can’t wait to perform this piece and share it with our audience as part of an incredible Program II. I hope that you will get as much out of it as I do!
Chase getting partnering tips from Kevin Irving
Renan Cerdeiro and Jeanette Delgado in Jardi Tancat.
We are back in performance mode this week, as we prepare for our Season Opening at the Kravis Center this weekend! First Ventures has been the perfect way to start the new season. From George Balanchine’s Serenade — the first ballet he created in America — to Christopher Wheeldon’s “edgy and electrifying Polyphonia“, as described by the Miami Herald, and Balanchine’s joyful, virtuoso Ballo della Regina, each ballet inspires a sense of excitement and anticipation for the rest of the season. To create lasting memories and capture our final performances of Program I: First Ventures on Instagram is corps de ballet dancer Suzette Logue!
We asked Suzette what ballets she is most excited to perform this weekend. Here’s what she said!
‘Ballo Della Regina’ and ‘Serenade’ are two of my favorite ballets to perform. There is such great energy in Ballo and Serenade has a soft but commanding presence that captures you from the moment the curtain goes up!
Look for Suzette onstage this weekend!
Suzette and Adrianne Carter having a ‘merde’ moment before ‘Serenade’ backstage.
For a sneak peek at the ballets we are performing this weekend, check out the following blog posts!
The night we have been waiting for is finally here and we not only have one, but TWO stories from Principal dancer Patricia Delgado to wrap up the Opening Night countdown. We hope that you have enjoyed the series and that tonight, when the curtain rises on Program I: First Ventures, you and our dancers will make new memories together through a shared experience in the beauty of the ballet.
I have two very special opening night memories that I will never forget! The first one was during one of my first years in the company. It is one of my favorite All Balanchine Programs – Ballo de la Regina, Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Stars and Stripes. Ballo de la Regina and Stravinsky Violin Concerto were company premieres, which always adds an extra sense of excitement to the evening. However, what made it so special for me was having the opportunity to dance one of my first solos in Ballo de la Regina and receivingmy first bouquet of flowers on stage. I wasn’t expecting it! The surprise gave me so much energy to get back out on stage for Stravinsky Violin Concerto and then finish off in Stars and Stripes. Here I am that night when I got home from the theater still so happy and excited about it!
Patricia with her first bouquet of Opening Night flowers.
The other memory is from a couple of years ago when we brought back George Balanchine’s Who Cares? and I had the opportunity to dance one of my dream roles. I had grown up watching my favorite dancers perform this part, especially Jennifer Kronenberg, and it always seemed so glamorous and untouchable! I remember feeling so nervous before the curtain went up even after months of rehearsals! But once I got out on stage and the music and energy of opening night filled me, it was an incredibly fulfilling and unforgettable experience!
With T minus FOUR DAYS until the opening of our 2013-2014 Season, we are continuing our countdown with even more amazing Opening Night stories from our dancers! You are in for a treat with our next story from corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden! GET YOUR SEAT TODAY!
Opening night is the moment all of the work and passion we’ve put into the ballets finally gets a chance to breathe. We’ve agonized over trouble steps, rehearsed religiously and gone over the counts endless times. The reason we put ourselves through such grueling work is for the moment when the curtain rises on opening night. The cold air rushes in and the orchestra sounds its first notes. We are no longer people in a studio, but dancers making art, immersing ourselves in the music and contributing to something greater than ourselves.
My most memorable opening night remains the first night we performed in Paris. We were on the brink of an unprecedented tour, with the most demanding repertoire and performing schedule we had ever had. We had no idea what the Parisian audience would think of us, being that they were used to watching a completely different balletic ideal and aesthetic. Yet, all of these seeming challenges merely made the determination all the greater, and then, the success all the more satisfying.
Michael at the historic Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.
The ballets we performed were in our bones and we showed the Parisians every detail, every thought and care we had added to them over the years. They responded with the most rapturous reception we had ever received. Symphony in Three Movements shocked them with its full-out energy and shifting formations, and they applauded after every movement of Square Dance as if it was its own mini-ballet, deserving of a loud and full applause. The magic of opening night was never so apparent as it was in Paris, but each opening night provides its own pleasures and surprises, and this year’s opening night will prove no exception.
Michael with Zoe Zien after Symphony in Three Movements
Why did Balanchine choreograph a girl falling to the floor in Serenade? And, why did he call this entrancing work “a dance in the moonlight?” Find out the answers to these questions and more in our new INSIGHTS video series! In our first video, corps de ballet dancers Leigh-Ann Esty and Zoe Zien divulge the secrets behind this mesmerizing and iconic ballet. Make sure to see it performed lived during Program I: First Ventures!
Our next Opening Night Stories comes from corps de ballet dancer Lexie Overholt, who will also be taking over Miami City Ballet’s Instagram feed this week! Make sure to follow all of the action from now until Saturday, when the company performs a preview of George Balanchine’s Serenade at Fairchild Tropical Gardens during their Bird Festival. The 2:30pm performance is FREE with paid admission to the gardens. We hope you can make it, but if you can’t, follow Lexie at #LexieMCBphotos on Instagram! Also, catch Serenade during Program I: First Ventures. And now for Lexie’s incredible story from opening night!
My most memorable opening night was also my scariest. My junior year of high school, our studio’s Spring Show was a “mixed bill” of sorts and the variation I performed was Kitri from Don Quixote. Kitri’s solo in the first act has always been my favorite, one I have dreamed of performing. The time was finally here. The music started, the curtain rose, and within the first eight counts, in the middle of a pirouette, I was down. I tried to get up again, but could not.
Lexie performing Kitri in Don Quixote AFTER her fall!
The crew lowered the curtain and I looked down to see that my left knee cap had dislocated. I was in a lot of pain, but I knew I had to dance this role. My best friend Megan helped me gently move my knee cap back into place and we wrapped it tightly. In the mean time, the show continued until I told them I was ready. My director hesitated but agreed to let me go. I got back on that stage and performed with sheer adrenaline and tears in my eyes, but I did it! I felt like I performed better than I ever had. When the curtain went down, I went directly to my orthopedic doctor and found I had severely stretched my MCL and dislocated my knee cap, with bone bruises surrounding my knee. But I had performed my dream role, and I had never felt more exhilaration. It is still the best opening night for me.
A very important guest is paying MCB a visit! He happens to be the artistic genius behind one of the ballets that is making its company premiere during Program I: First Ventures. You guessed it! The mastermind behind Polyphonia – Christopher Wheeldon!
Christopher Wheeldon via timeout.com
Polyphonia was Christopher Wheeldon’s first ballet that he choreographed after retiring from a successful dance career with New York City Ballet to become the company’s first-ever Artist in Residence. Keeping in line with our theme of “firsts” for First Ventures, Polyphonia was also Wheeldon’s first breakthrough work, propelling him into the choreographic spotlight. Wheeldon has now choreographed countless ballets for companies across the country and around the world, including The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet, New York City Ballet and several others. He also co-founded the New York-based dance company Morphoses with our very own Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez in 2007. Currently he is the Artistic Associate at The Royal Ballet. Critics have deemed Wheeldon as one of the principle, 21st century choreographers actively defining the future of ballet — and we CAN’T WAIT to see what that looks like!
While only time will tell what the future of ballet looks like, we are so fortunate to have Wheeldon here for two days to work with our dancers and witness this progression take place. Capturing it all on Instagram is Rebecca King!
We asked Rebecca to share her excitement about having Wheeldon in our studios to work on Polyphonia and here is what she had to say:
Having Christopher Wheeldon in studio with us this week is an absolute honor. We began rehearsing ‘Polyphonia’ in August and have been working on it regularly since. Now that we are so familiar with the steps and the music, it will be an amazing and special experience to have the ballet’s creator come in to coach us. We will be able to hear about the intentions of the steps and the purpose of the work as a whole, which will bring a very special perspective to Miami City Ballet’s interpretation of ‘Polyphonia.’ We can’t wait to see what is in store for us! Stay tuned for sneak peaks into the rehearsal process.
As we count down the days to opening night of the 2013-2014 Season, dancers are sharing their favorite stories from past opening nights and explaining why performing on this particular night is so special. To kick-off the series is principal dancer Jennifer Kronenberg! Don’t forget to get your tickets!
Opening Romeo & Juliet was probably my most exciting and memorable opening night. It is such a romantic and monumental ballet — one that I had looked forward to dancing for so long. Then, to be lucky enough to dance it with my husband Carlos, and have it be for MCB’s 25th Anniversary, made it all the more special!
Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra in Romeo and Juliet.
Opening nights are particularly significant because there is always a unique sense of anticipation leading up to them. As we dancers are performing a role or ballet for the first time, the audience will most likely be experiencing it for the first time as well. That fleeting parallel and common ground with the audience is an experience that, for me, always sets opening nights apart from other performances.
Join us on Opening Night, October 18, for Program I: First Ventures to create more lasting memories and begin your journey with the ballet this season!
See Program I: First Ventures at any of our venues:
Adrienne Arsht Center: October 18-20
Broward Center: October 25-27
Kravis Center: November 15-17