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.
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. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.
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!
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!
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!
Childhood memories of the Nutcracker!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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’.
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
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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.
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.
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.
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
Anyone recognize this photo?
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 ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ contestant Alex Wong!
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 Theatre Kevin 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.
Catch Chase and the rest of our dancers perform this work live during Program II: See the Music!
Arsht Center: January 10-12
Broward Center: January 24-26
Kravis Center: January 31-February 2
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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!
Catch Program I: First Ventures at the Kravis Center this weekend, Friday, November 15 – Sunday, November 17! GET TICKETS NOW!
Headshot © Gio Alma.
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 receiving my 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!
Patricia Delgado in Balanchine’s ‘Who Cares.’
Create your own Opening Night story by joining us TONIGHT for Program I: First Ventures , and begin your journey with the ballet this season!
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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
Headshot: Photo © Gio Alma.
Stage shot: Patricia Delgado in Who Cares?. Choreography by George Balanchine. © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexandre Dufaur.