LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

A Creative Exchange of Music and Dance

After visiting a rehearsal at Miami City Ballet studios, New World Symphony (NWS) fellows began meeting regularly with a group of our dancers to examine the relationship between sound and movement, resulting in a creative exchange between the talented young artists. Corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden explains how this organic relationship will materialize onstage in the very near future!

Michael Breeden

Michael Breeden

Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony have long been the two pillars of Miami’s arts world, attracting acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The dancers and musicians work in the same neighborhood, frequent each other’s performances, and have always expressed how wonderful it would be to work together. After decades as South Florida’s premier arts organizations, it is with great excitement that we prepare for our first full-evening performance together on March 18th — a creative exchange between the dancers of Miami City Ballet and the fellows of New World Symphony.

The two organizations agreed that New World Symphony’s free Inside the Music program would be an ideal outlet for featuring the creativity of the dancers and the musicians. Soon, a small group of artists from each organization were brainstorming on programming, the evening’s format, and the myriad other decisions that go into bringing an evening of music and dance to life. The musicians suggested works they wanted to play, dancers stepped up to choreograph, and we began to work feverishly at putting together a performance almost entirely in our spare time.

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Adriana Pierce and Leigh-Ann Esty work on a rehearsal schedule for the dancers and musicians.

Adriana Pierce and Leigh-Ann Esty work on a rehearsal schedule for the dancers and musicians.

Even though both the musicians and dancers are extremely busy with their individual seasons, an opportunity like this simply couldn’t be passed up. As the performance date approaches and the final touches come together, the excitement among the dancers is palpable. This is an event Miami arts lovers will not want to miss, as well as the beginning of a long and fruitful artistic relationship!

-Michael

NWS fellows sitting in on company class.

NWS fellows sitting in on company class.

Inside the Music on March 18 will feature nearly 30 of our dancers, seven of whom — Renan Cerdeiro, Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty, Adriana Pierce, Ariel Rose, Eric Trope and Zoe Zien — will debut original choreography created specifically for the event! More details and information on the performance here!

Don Quixote stands the test of time!

Our 2013-2014 Season has completely flown by! The Company is now preparing for its final program of the season — the full-length production of Don Quixote. This ballet dates back to 1869, when choreographer Marius Petipa created it for the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Having danced in Spain himself, Petipa’s choreography reflects the local culture by incorporating the Spanish dance idiom into the movements and bringing Cervantes’ sensual gypsies and macho bullfighters to life onstage.

Since its origination, Don Quixote has been delighting audiences all over the world. The irresistible Minkus score and lavish costumes and sets make this ballet an all-time, crowd favorite and a celebratory closing to a successful 2013-2014 Season. Get a sneak peek of the performance in the video below!

Let us know if you have seen Don Quixote before! Why do YOU think this ballet has stood the test of time?

Need tickets? CLICK HERE

Becoming a Triple Threat: DANCE

Our dancers kicked off their pointe shoes and slipped into sneakers and heels for the premiere of West Side Story Suite. Watch how they learned Jerome Robbins’ big, Broadway dance moves in our final video of the ‘Triple Threat’ series. There is only one more chance to catch West Side Story Suite during Program III: Triple Threat at the Kravis Center (Palm Beach) this weekend – Feb. 28-Mar. 2.

Becoming a Triple Threat: SING

Not only did our dancers have to sharpen their acting skills for the premiere of West Side Story Suite, but they also had to learn SING! Yes, ballerinas singing! Watch the latest video in our Triple Threat series to find out if our dancers can actually carry a tune.

Catch Program III: Triple Threat at the Broward Center (Feb. 21-23) or Kravis Center (Feb. 28-Mar. 2).

The JETS take over Instagram!

LOVE was in the air during our Valentine’s Day opening of Program III: Triple Threat at the Arsht Center this past weekend. Despite heightened nerves, the dancers confronted their fears of acting and singing onstage, casting a love spell on the audience and critics alike! “Fierce and fresh, Miami City Ballet claimed the vibrant territory of musical theater for its own Friday night with the company debut of West Side Story Suite,” wrote The Miami Herald.  We can’t wait to do it all again at the Broward Center this weekend, and to capture it all on Instagram is JET lady — aka dancer Jennifer Lauren! Follow her at #JenLaurenMCBphotos.

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

I love being onstage with my fellow jets, but I find it particularly special when we overcome our differences with the Sharks, and we all become united at the end of the ballet. It’s a wonderful feeling to look into my friend’s eyes with pleasure, after so much conflict.  – Jennifer Lauren

Jennifer as a Jet at the 'Dance at the Gym'

Jennifer as a Jet in the ‘Dance at the Gym’. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Putting aside their differences.

MCB in the ballet finale, singing ‘Somewhere.’ Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Find out what went on BACKSTAGE during our Valentine’s Day gala HERE!’

Becoming a Triple Threat – ACT

The process of preparing for West Side Story Suite has been entirely unique, presenting a several new challenges for our dancers. Not only must they master the jazzy, Broadway style of Jerome Robbins’ choreography, but they also must learn to act and sing in front of a live audience! Each week before the Company opens in a new theater, look out for a new video featuring our dancers’ pursuit to become true Triple Threats!

Read more about our West Side Story Suite premiere in The Miami Herald and learn about Balanchine’s Episodes — another new work in Program III — in our blog post from dancer Jovani Furlan.

For more information and tickets on on Program III: Triple Threat click here!

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!

Lourdes Lopez breaks down ‘Triple Threat’

What makes our third program of the season a Triple Threat? Find out in our latest video featuring Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez and see the program performed live. Click here to learn more!

Get to know choreographer Justin Peck!

26-year old Justin Peck is the artist behind our most recent commission Chutes and Ladders. Find out how this California kid is climbing the ranks at New York City Ballet and into the spotlight, as one of today’s up-and-coming choreographers. Catch his work performed live during Program II: See the Music.