LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Meet our New Dancers!

We have only two more new dancers to introduce to everyone! This next new dancer joins the “MCB Family” and also an immediate family member — his uncle, principal dancer Reyneris Reyes. We are pleased to introduce you to corps de ballet dancer Nieser Zambrana!

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Where are you from?

Nieser: Pinar del Rio, Cuba.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Nieser: Raul Sanchez Arts School, with Alejo Carpentier and The National School of the Arts in Havana.

MCB: What companies did you dance with before coming to MCB?

Nieser: National Ballet of Cuba and Orlando Ballet.

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Nieser: My birthday.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Nieser: The day I was coached by the greatest ballet master, Mikhail Baryshnikov.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Nieser: To live in the desert.

MCB: Indulgence?

Nieser: Dance.

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Inspiration?

Nieser: To see my uncle’s performances.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Nieser: My mom.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Nieser: My first ballet competition when I was 13 years old.

MCB: Dream role?

Nieser: Giselle.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Nieser: Because it’s a big company, great dancers, and I love the city.

Nieser Zambrana

See Nieser onstage during Program I: First Ventures!

Meet our new dancers!

You may have seen this new dancer onstage last season when she was an apprentice with the company. Now, as a member of the corps de ballet, you will be seeing much more of her! Meet Christina Spigner!

Christina Spigner

MCB: Where are you from?

Christina: Paradise Valley, Arizona

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Christina: Miami City Ballet School

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Christina: Doing something adventurous, exploring someplace new, and experiencing new and interesting cuisine with the people I love.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Christina: The moment I was asked to rehearse and perform with Miami City Ballet.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Christina: Opening up a pre-professional dance school that would not only teach ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary, but  would also incorporate an educational component. The curriculum would include kinesiology, anatomy, nutrition, and cross training/body awareness methods, including Feldenkrais and Pilates, and body maintenance classes. This would be my dream to develop healthy and happy dancers who are knowledgeable about their instrument, how to take care of it, and be able to use that knowledge to enhance their technique.

Christina Spigner performing a stunning leap during a MCB School photo shoot.

MCB: Indulgence?

Christina: Anything chocolatey! I have a bit of a sweet tooth!

MCB: Inspiration?

Christina: Danny Tidwell ( soloist with Norway’s National ballet ) and Miami City Ballet’s own Patricia and Jeannette Delgado.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Christina: My family , friends, dancing,and my favorite store Whole Foods.

Having a Dog Gone Good time;-)

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Christina: Every year the company plays Secret Santa and part of the fun  is to reveal who your Secret Santa is in a creative or interesting way. So in MCB’s last performance of The Nutcracker, I was dancing my final ‘Waltz of the Flowers’, and during the part where the flowers  kneel  in a box formation the dancer across from me looked at me and mouthed ” I am your Secret Santa!” I almost screamed out loud — I was so surprised and excited to find out who she finally  was . She put a note in my dressing room saying she would meet me in the ‘land of the sweets’ and boy did she!

MCB: Dream role?

Christina: Kitri from Don Quixote, and my dream ballet to perform in would be In The Upper Room. In The Upper Room is one of my all time favorites and the instant I saw it performed, I dreamed of being  apart of that dynamic and powerful work someday.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

When I first came here as a student I peered into the studio where the company rehearsed and fell in love. I loved the diversity of the dancers, the diversity of  the repertoire  in a Balanchine based company, and was also drawn to the company’s energy and dynamism.

Christina Spigner flies through the air in a MCB School photo shoot.

Lookout for Christina onstage this season when the 2013-2014 Season opens on October 18 at the Arsht Center with Program I: First Ventures.

Balanchine Ballerina caught on Instagram!

This week, we welcome one of Balanchine’s great ballerinas to our studios to teach the company Ballo della Regina. Merrill Ashley, for whom Mr. B created the ballet, will be working with our dancers to ensure that their performance of this difficult, high-energy work appears “light, airy, effortless and refined” — as Merrill describes Ballo — when we open our 2013-2014 Season on October 18! To capture this special ballet staging is dancer Helen Ruiz! Helen will be taking over our Instagram feed for her first time to bring all of the action directly to YOU.

FUN FACT about Helen:
Her favorite thing to do is cook and favorite things to make are ceviche, shepherds pie and green chicken curry!

For those of you who may not be too familiar with Merrill Ashley, she is a quite a big deal! She had a 31 year career as a dancer with New York City Ballet and was praised for her speed, technical clarity and attack in Ballo della Regina, when the choreography was deemed revolutionary to the art form at the time of its 1978 world premiere. In a review of the ballet’s premiere from The New York Times, Anna Kisselgoff wrote, “In Miss Ashley’s phenomenal speed and outstanding technique, Mr. Balanchine has a dancer with whom may try the untried!” We are not only fortunate to have her here staging a ballet in which she originated the role, but also to have her as part of the ballet family on our Board of Trustees! Make sure to follow Helen #HelenMCBphotos to catch all of the action with Merrill and more!

Mary Carmen Catoya and Mikhail Ilyin in Ballo della Regina. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Joe Gato.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to discover more fun facts about Ballo della Regina and to get your backstage pass to the ballet.

Finally, don’t miss our grand season opening October 18 at the Arsht Center to see Ballo della Regina, along with Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and George Balanchine’s Serenade brought to life onstage during Program I: First Ventures!

Meet our new dancers!

Today, we introduce another recent graduate from Miami City Ballet School who is joining us as new member of the corps de ballet this season. Meet Damian Zamorano!

Damian Zamorano

MCB: Where are you from?

Damian: La Habana, Cuba.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Damian: Escuela Nacional de Ballet Alejo Carpentier (in Cuba), Escuela Nacional De Danza Clásica Y Contemporánea (in Mexico), and Miami City Ballet School.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Damian: Compañia Nacional De Danza in Mexico City.

MCB: Describe your perfect day:

Damian: I don’t have a preference. I find something very special and unique in every day I’m blessed to live.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Damian: One of my proudest moments was when I received the invitation to join the company [MCB]. I always dreamed about being part of a big professional company and seeing my dream become a reality overwhelmed me with joy.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Damian: Flying!

MCB: Indulgence?

Damian: I am a big technology fan. I love to see and own new gadgets. Whenever possible, maybe on a yearly basis, I indulge in the latest updates of either cell, tablet, computer or any other new electric device.

Trying out another gadget:-)

MCB: Inspiration?

Damian: Both my parents, who are also professional dancers, are my true inspiration and pride. They have always been there and readily available, helping me and guiding me to do my best. In addition, I enjoy learning from watching videos of my idols performing like Leonid Sarafanov, Ronaldo Sarabia (former dancer with MCB), Carlos Acosta, Baryshnikov, Fernando Bujones, and many more.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Damian: My family, internet, my friends, ballet.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Damian: One of my most unforgettable moments was reaching the finals of a reality TV show called “Ópera Prima” at the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Damian performing Giselle for the reality TV show "Ópera Prima"

MCB: Dream role?

Damian: One of my favorite roles is in Flames of Paris. I feel that this ballet requires a great deal of strength and physical stamina. I trust such choreography could become one of my most desirable goals.

Damian performing Flames of Paris - a role he dreams of dancing again and again!

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Damian: At MCB, I have learned a lot about Balanchine and his approach to this art form. I knew very little about it before. Since then, I have a new perspective and understanding about my profession that I love and respect.

Lookout for Damian onstage this season when the 2013-2014 Seasons opens on October 18 at the Arsht Center with Program I: First Ventures.

Meet our new dancers!

Our next new dancer comes to us straight from Miami City Ballet School! Meet corps de ballet dancer Sarah McCahill!

Sarah McCahill

MCB: Where are you from?
Sarah: Harwinton, CT.
MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?
Sarah:  Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, Albano Ballet and Miami City Ballet School.

Sarah practicing for her first MCB School Student Workshop Performance with student Elias Baseman.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.
Sarah: To win the Powerball!!!!!!!!!
MCB: Proudest moment?
Sarah: When Lourdes [Lopez] informed me I would be a part of Miami City Ballet’s Corps de Ballet for this season!
MCB: Wildest dream?
Sarah: To go skydiving with the love of my life ( haven’t met him yet…).
MCB: Indulgence?
Sarah: Tres leches cake, REAL ice cream, pancakes, cupcakes, sleeping in…I have a lot.
MCB: Inspiration?
Sarah: Happy people, Sylvie Guillem, and Svetlana Zakharova.
MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.
Sarah: My rock — my little sister, Kelley.
MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?
Sarah: The first time I fell flat on my face performing the lead in Le Sylphide within the first five minutes of being onstage.
MCB: Dream Role?
Sarah: Black Swan, no doubt.

Rehearsing William Forsythe's 'In the Middle Somewhat Elevated.' Sarah admits, "I will always be proud to have had the opportunity and the rights to perform!"

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?
Sarah: When I was 13 I told my mother I was going to dance with Miami City Ballet someday (I don’t remember this but she does). She helped me to fulfill this dream by taking the first step and setting up my audition for their summer program. I guess it was fate and a lot of hard work but I finally got in!

See Sarah onstage at the Arsht Center when our 2013-2014 Season opens on October 18!

‘Polyphonia’ from Behind the Lens

It’s another Monday at Miami City Ballet and we are kicking off the week with the arrival of Répétiteur Jason Fowler, who will be teaching the company Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia. Corps de ballet dancer Zoe Zien will bring you inside our studios as she takes over our Instagram feed during the 7-day rehearsal process.  Follow her #ZoeMCBphotos as she documents the company’s journey to the premiere of Polyphonia during Program I: First Ventures.

Zoe Zien

Polyphonia is considered Christopher Wheeldon’s breakthrough contemporary work.  After his hauntingly beautiful Liturgy pas de deux, Polyphonia will be the second Wheeldon work that MCB adds to its repetoire. The ballet adds six more dancers to the stage, who dance together as a group as the work opens, then transitions into a series of duets and solos that evoke distinct character and flair — we can’t wait to see how our dancers incorporate their unique personalities into the choreography! Here to teach it all is one of the original cast members from the 2001 New York City Ballet world premiere — Jason Fowler. Jason will help the dancers match their movement to the intense piano music of György Ligeti, and ensure that no choreographic detail is lost in preparation for our 2013-2014 Season opening in October, when the ballet premieres during Program I: First Ventures.

Dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we reveal interesting facts about Polyphonia during the rehearsal process. Watch the dancers in action as Zoe captures Polyphonia and daily MCB life on Instagram!

Check out our latest Pinterest board for a visual journey through Polyphonia.

Flexible subscription packages and single tickets to Polyphonia are on sale now as part of Program I: First Ventures.
Photo credits:
Headshot © Gio Alma.
Miami City Ballet dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh in Polyphonia. Photo © Gio Alma.

Meet our new dancers!

Our next new dancer has been busy learning the Paul Taylor solo in George Balanchine’s Episodes this week. Get to know corps de ballet member Ariel Rose here on our blog, before he hits the stage next season!

Ariel Rose

MCB: Where are you from?

Ariel: New York, New York, but recently moved from Richmond, Virginia, where I was previously dancing with Richmond Ballet.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Ariel: I trained at Ballet Academy East, Fiorello LaGuardia High School for Arts and Performing Arts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet School.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Ariel: Boston Ballet, Ballet Municipal de Lima and Richmond Ballet.

Ariel performing Coppélia as a guest soloist with the Ballet Municipal in Lima, Peru.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Ariel: Spending the day outside in any way possible during which I can write, draw and casually spend time with friends. Then also cooking up something new and interesting at the end of the day.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Ariel: Dancing onstage in London at Covent Garden in the Linbury Theatre last year with the Richmond Ballet felt like I had really accomplished something. Performing for a foreign audience really felt like we were showing people something for the very first time.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Ariel: I’d love one day to take a really long international ballet tour like many companies used to do in the 80’s and 90’s. Traveling is so important in developing ones own perspective on life and the world. One always comes back a little wiser and more knowledgeable.

Ariel in Sorrento, Italy -- one of the European destinations he backpacked to after Richmond Ballet's tour in London.

MCB: Indulgence?

Ariel: My favorite food is definitely sushi, but all my friends know that I have an absolute obsession with Belgian waffles!

MCB: Inspiration?

Ariel: Some of today’s leading dancers such as Joaquin De Luz, Marcelo Gomes, Jeffrey Cirio and Jaime Diaz.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Ariel: My friends and family. Having people that you know are there for you, for all of your successes and failures, makes life feel a bit safer and better. Especially in a career like professional ballet, life can be difficult at times, but the people one chooses to hold close in their life can really help you through.

He spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin! (Charlie Brown reference ;-))

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Ariel: The silence following the end of a performance of Salvatore Aiello’s The Rite of Spring this past May, on the exact day of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky composing the score.  After the piece’s conclusion, there was a moment of silence because the people were still in shock and absorbing what they had just seen. Then all of a sudden, there was an uproar of cheers and all 2,000 people were up standing out of their seats. It was indescribable.

MCB: Dream role?

Ariel: “The Prodigal Son”, the slave in Le Corsaire and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room — (watch an excerpt performed by MCB!)

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Ariel: For the experience of performing new, but also historic repertoire and to also grow technically and artistically to my personal next level.

See Ariel Rose onstage when our 2013-2014 Season opens at the Arsht Center in October!

Capturing Balanchine’s ‘Episodes’ on Instagram

Returning from summer vacation and a fun trip home to Brazil, corps de ballet dancer Jovani Furlan is back on Instagram as this week’s guest photographer.

Jovani Furlan

Our studios are exceptionally busy this week, with the arrival of two répétiteurs from the George Balanchine Trust — Patricia Neary and Peter Frame — who will be staging the company premiere of Episodes. Patricia Neary was hand-picked by Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet, where he later created two key roles on her — in Raymonda Variations and in Jewels. She will use her personal experience dancing several roles to stage Episodes and preserve every last detail of the choreography.

Peter Frame has an exceptionally close tie to Episodes as he was the first dancer to perform the Paul Taylor solo after Paul Taylor himself. In fact, Paul Taylor reconstructed the solo on Peter in 1986 when he was a dancer with NYCB. We are privileged and excited to have both Patricia and Peter with us at MCB to bring this boldly modern masterwork to life this season, as part of Program III: Triple Threat.

Pat Neary with Balanchine and sister Coleen (right).

Callie Manning and Neil Marshall in Balanchine's Episodes.

Learn more about the interesting history of Balanchine’s Episodes and how it came to be the ballet performed today.

Flexible subscription packages and single tickets to Episodes are on sale now as part of Program III: Triple Threat.

Photo credits:
Headshot © Gio Alma.
Miami City Ballet dancers Callie Manning and Neil Marshall in Episodes. Choreography by George Balanchine, © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Gio Alma.

Meet our new dancers!

As we prepare for the opening of the 2013-2014 Season, Miami City Ballet welcomes several new faces to the company! Over the next few weeks, we are getting up close and personal with our “newbies” on our blog before they take the stage in October. So without further ado, we introduce you to MCB corps de ballet member Brianna Abruzzo!

Brianna Abruzzo

MCB: Where are you from?

Brianna: New York, NY

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Brianna: School of American Ballet (11 years), San Francisco Ballet Summer Program, MCB Summer Program, Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Program, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the Chautauqua Festival.

MCB: What companies have you trained professionally with?

Brianna: As a student, I trained with New York City Ballet.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Brianna: Meet some friends at a local café for brunch, pamper myself with a mani/pedi (I’m a real girly girl). Take a walk around Central Park (I could never get tired of exploring the park). End the day with going to the movies.

Brianna in Central Park

MCB: Proudest moment?

Brianna: When I got offered a position in MCB. I said to myself “I did it!” I couldn’t believe it.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Brianna: Living, dancing, singing, acting and baking in Paris.

MCB: Indulgence?

Brianna: Mac and Cheese.

MCB: Inspiration?

Brianna: Misty Copeland and Tiler Peck inspire me because they are impeccable dancers who continue to improve daily. Wendy Whelan also inspires me because she is world renowned, yet she is still down to earth and genuine.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Brianna: My cat Armani. He is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met. People who normally dislike cats like Armani.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Brianna: Performing at the Costume Gala in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art surrounded by water in the Egyptian exhibit. It was such a glamorous night and the beautifully dressed celebrities treated us dancers as if we were the celebrities.

Brianna rehearsing with her choreographer for the SAB Student Choreography Workshop

MCB: Dream role?

Brianna: Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (I cry every time).

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Brianna: MCB has a bit of everything; the amazing Balanchine rep that I couldn’t live without and contemporary ballets. MCB also has choreographers coming and staging new ballets quite often. I love that process and it was an important factor for me in choosing a dance company. MCB is also not too far from home, it’s a city (a fun one too), I have relatives close by, and who can say no to days off relaxing on the beach? Everyone in the company was immediately nice and welcoming. This made it one of the easiest decisions for me.

Brianna leaped at the opportunity to join MCB:-)

2013-2014 Season Preview!

Check out our latest video to discover what exciting dance masterworks Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez has in store for Miami City Ballet’s 2013-2014 Season. What ballet(s) are you most excited to see next season?

Subscription packages and single tickets are on sale now! Visit miamicityballet.org or call 305.929.7010 for more information and tickets.