LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

MCB Shares the Art of Costume Creation

Last Friday Miami City Ballet headed to NSU’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale to spend some time with students at the Auto Nation Academy of Art + Design Creative Summer Art Academy.

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Our Costume Designer & Director, Haydee Morales, along with Costume Artist Maria Morales, who also happens to be her sister, took a group of approximately 60 students (ages 5-18) on a creative journey of costume and wardrobe design. From inception to execution, Haydee and Maria described the many different sides of costume design, from how long it can take to create wardrobe for a ballet, to where they get their materials—even noting the Wardrobe team’s frequent trips to New York City since supplies can be hard to find locally.

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When describing her creative process, Haydee, who has been a part of the Miami City Ballet family since 1986, explained that in costume design, all an artist has to rely on is his or her mind and hands.

After the demonstration, it was time to get hands-on. The young artists got up close to various finished pieces from past MCB performances, excitedly examining several intricate costumes, headpieces and masks. Later, the kids even shared some of their own original creations made during their time at the summer art academy.

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A big thank you to Bonnie Clearwater &  NSU’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale for hosting us. We hope to visit again soon!

MCB Dancers Take Italy

It’s been a couple of weeks since our dancers wrapped up rehearsals with choreographer Justin Peck. Since then, they’ve all been enjoying some additional time off this summer, getting plenty of much-needed rest and relaxation. But as we’ve learned quite well, it’s rarely all play and no work for our dancers. In fact, we recently caught up with principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro, who, earlier this month, performed at the Florence Dance Festival at the National Museum of Bargello in Italy–the same museum that houses Donatello’s famous Statue of David.

The show, titled Stars of American Ballet, featured Tricia and Renan, along with principal couples from New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet.

National Museum of Bargello in Italy. Photo courtesy of Tricia Albertson & Renan Cerdeiro.

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Principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro.

“It was set up in an outside courtyard with sculptures surrounding–so beautiful,” Tricia told us. “Renan and I performed excerpts from ApolloChutes and Ladders, and Who Cares?.” After the performance, the two took some time to take in the sights of Italy, along with fellow MCB dancer Jovani Furlan. Check out these gorgeous photos.

Tricia, Jovani and Renan enjoy a gondola ride.

Tricia, Renan and Jovani pose for a photo.

Thank you to Tricia, Renan and Jovani for sharing your experience with us!

Summer at Miami City Ballet School

Summer is in full swing at Miami City Ballet; and while our company dancers may be off for the next five weeks, our school is abuzz with activity, from summer intensives to a full lineup of community classes.

It’s All About Summer Intensive
Last week we kicked off our 5-week Summer Intensive, welcoming over 200 students. The program, which will conclude with a Summer Repertory Performance on Friday, July 25th, is designed for serious dancers ages 12-19. Students here take classes such as Ballet Technique, Pointe, Pas de Deux, Floor Barre, Jazz and others, and are taught by Miami City Ballet School faculty, Miami City Ballet artistic staff, including Ballet Masters and Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director, and Company dancers.

Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez teaching students during a Summer Intensive class.

Meanwhile, the school’s Brazilian Summer Intensive, led by Alice Arja, our international relations liaison, kicked off yesterday with 70 students in attendance for the summer.

What’s most exciting, each year select students from the summer intensive will be chosen and invited to attend Miami City Ballet School’s Pre-Professional Year-Round Program, considered to be one of the most prestigious ballet training programs in America. This program prepares advanced students for a career in dance, with a focus on technique, artistry and expanding dance styles and repertoire. More than half of the dancers on Miami City Ballet’s current roster started as students in the pre-professional division.

Dance, Fitness and Fun
You don’t have to be an aspiring professional to enjoy Miami City Ballet School. This summer, we are offering a wide variety of workshops and classes for everyone—from children to adults, first-timers to more experienced dancers—in a relaxed and welcoming environment.  Our ongoing summer schedule includes classes such as Ballet 101, Pilates, Broadway Jazz and Floor-Barre®.

Want to learn more? Visit our www.miamicityballet.org/school for class schedules and pricing. You can also find out more about our upcoming Open House here.

 

Dancers Are Back!

Our dancers have returned to the studios after their 5-week break to start learning a brand new ballet by choreographer Justin Peck. This is Justin’s second ballet for MCB, which will premiere during our final program of the 2014-2015 Season in March. His new work calls for a large cast of dancers and scenery by the popular street artist Shepard Fairey – best known for his work on the Obama Hope poster and also for his large murals adorning local streets and establishments such as the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. To capture the creation process behind his new work on our Instagram feed is corps de ballet dancer Emily Bromberg! Follow her at #EmilyMCBphotos to get an intimate look at Justin making choreographic magic!

Dancer

Emily Bromberg

Since the end of our 2013-2014 Season I have kept myself busy by guest performing in Rhode Island, Virginia and New York.  With all of these great guest performing opportunities the last two months, I am ready to start our 2014-2015 Season!

Tinker Bell

Miami City Ballet dancer Emily Bromberg as ‘Tinker Bell’ in Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Jorden Morris’s ‘Peter Pan.’ Photo by A. Cemal Ekin/keptlight.com.

I will be taking over Miami City Ballet’s Instagram feed to share some sneak peaks of Justin Peck’s new ballet, set specifically on MCB dancers! I knew I liked Justin’s work when I first saw Chutes and Ladders,’ but I knew I loved his work when I attended our ‘Open Barre’ performances this Spring. His calm demeanor and insistence on portraying a specific idea using not only the bodies of his dancers, but also the psychological and emotional tools we all carry, inspired me a great deal! I look forward to the next few weeks to watching him create a new piece that I’m sure will be a must see for all of our audiences! – Emily


SEE ALSO: 

Get to Know Choreographer Justin Peck! 

More photos by A. Cemal Ekin: keptlight.com

(Under)Water Ballet!

Not only have our dancers been getting back in shape for three weeks of rehearsals ahead with choreographer Justin Peck starting on Monday, but they have also been learning how to hold their breath! Why? For tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot with Fort Lauderdale’s new glossy, high-society magazine Venice!

Interestingly, one of our dancers has a leg up over the others! Corps de ballet dancer Chase Swatosh tells us about his life before dance as a semi-professional swimmer and diver below!

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Chase Swatosh

I began swimming when I was a baby and was on a competitive club swim team from the age of 8 to 15, when I transferred to diving on my high school dive team. In swimming, I qualified for and competed in many junior olympics swim meets (usually two per year).  One year, two of the relay teams I was on made the top 16 times in the nation — one of which was second in the nation. For the two seasons I dove, I competed in CIF (California Interscholastic Federation – state championship). The latter season I qualified for All American but didn’t quite make the cut. 

I loved both swimming and diving although they’re different. Swimming is probably the most physically challenging type of exercise I’ve ever done (besides dance) which makes it great for conditioning and cross training. It teaches you to have amazing breathing control and to be mentally disciplined to finish races strong, even when your body wants to give up. This, of course, is very applicable to dance, among other things in life as well.

Balanchine

Dubbed as Balanchine’s ‘underwater ballet,’ ‘Ballo della Regina’ appears to take place in a beautiful grotto. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Diving is a different story; it is dynamically physically demanding but not nearly as intensive as swimming or dance. Having also been something of a gymnast (mostly tumbling) diving was a natural progression for me. Flexibility and body awareness from dance and gymnastics helped me a lot in diving. It’s  probably the most fun activity I’ve ever done. 

My philosophy about cross training is that anytime you learn a new sport or activity, you are learning to use your body in a new way. I think dance — or ballet specifically — is the pinnacle of physical activities where body awareness is absolutely crucial. So anytime I learn a different way to use my body, even if it’s totally contrary to ballet technique, that information becomes extremely helpful and in some way applicable to dance. – Chase

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for some fun behind-the-scenes shots of tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot! 

SEE ALSO:
Principal dancer Patricia Delgado’s summer cross training tips!

Mr’ “B’s” Underwater Ballet – Ballo della Regina

How to Revitalize Your Ballet Body

Summer is a time for our dancers to take a break from the stage for some well-deserved relaxation and recovery. However, the work never truly ends. Even during their time off, professional dancers practice healthy habits and various activities to keep their bodies and minds conditioned for the  grueling season to come. Principal dancer Patricia Delgado shares 6 tips that help her rejuvenate during the summer months off.

Ballet Body

Patricia Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Apollo.’

Every year during the summer layoff I set different goals for myself.  When we are working during the season, almost all of my focus is devoted to performing. By the end, I feel accomplished and grateful, but also physically and emotionally drained. The layoff can be a time to explore the physical rest, recovery and cross-training aspect of our work and also a time to find inspiration elsewhere such as teaching, exploring other art forms and traveling!  

Patricia’s Tips: 

Replenish Nutritionally
The layoff is a good time to make sure our muscles heal. One way of doing that is through eating healthy foods. I have had the pleasure of being in New York City during this break and have enjoyed the many delicious ethnic restaurants NYC has to offer, especially Indian and Asian cuisines which have many healing properties in their spices! With the extra energy, I’ve been exploring new recipes, for example, cooking more meats and fish. I’ve also been baking because its very therapeutic to me.  I even took a baking course to sharpen up some of my skills at the Institute of Culinary Education.  It’s great to shift your focus and work your brain in a different way!  

Sleep
I’ve made it a point to sleep in and take naps during this layoff as well. As dancers, we are “on” all the time and expected to perform our best night after night. Sleep is one thing that sometimes gets neglected.  Catching up on sleep has really helped me feel rejuvenated physically and emotionally.

Gyrotonics®
I’ve immersed myself in Gyrotonics® this break!  I have always had a love and respect for the work especially when coming back from injuries, but I never felt like I had enough time and energy during the season to continue digging deeper and understanding the work better.  Working one on one with a trainer has been helpful to address certain habits that sneak into our movement patterns.  I have found new ways of moving that I am excited to apply this season coming up!  

(Gyrotonics? Watch Patricia’s sister Jeanette Delgado in our Gyrotonics® 101 video!)

Travel
I find exploring new cities to be extremely inspiring and invigorating.  New York City is charged with creativity and stimuli!  I saw Cabaret on Broadway for the first time and was blown away.  I even biked the Williamsburg bridge!  Just roaming the streets and exploring new neighborhoods was great fun!  I was fortunate enough to visit Charleston, SC for the opening of Shepard Fairey’s “Power and Glory” art exhibit (Shepard will be collaborating with Justin Peck for his new piece on us next season).  Hearing him explain his process and thoughts on art and life inspired me not only as an artist but as an individual living in our society.  I look forward to exploring more of his work and honored to be a part of this incredible collaboration next season.  In addition, I saw Hubbard Street perform and attended several Chamber music concerts.  I left feeling extremely inspired and wanting to explore some modern and contemporary classes as well as possibly going back to taking piano lessons.

Research
One thing that has become a staple of mine during the layoff has been researching the ballets we will be performing the following season.  I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to researching ballets.  I love learning about the history of the work and watching old videos as well as watching performances of the ballets and how they are danced today by other companies.  The Library for the Performing Arts in NYC has an incredible array of information especially on the Balanchine ballets.  You can watch original ballerinas coach ballerinas of today.  It’s incredible the amount of details that can be passed on to keep these ballets as alive as they were when Balanchine created them!  Watching New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre perform live is always great inspiration! Going to the theater when on layoff is the most fulfilling because I find myself watching as a fan and an admirer.  While in season, there is a personal focus that changes the way in which I enjoy the the theater.

Ballet Class
Of course, taking class is a must!  No matter what extracurricular activities you do, nothing replaces a ballet class!  Its like eating breakfast, NECESSARY!  It’s been great to take class with different teachers around NYC!  Keeping the mind and body awake and taking in different thoughts and ideas teachers have about ballet has been helpful and stimulating!

Catch Patricia onstage when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October! 

Summer on Instagram

Our dancers have been everywhere this summer, making guest appearances and holding various teaching gigs at dance companies and studios across the country. This weekend, we are so lucky to have corps de ballet dancer Rebecca King taking over our Instagram feed to get an inside look at what she and our other dancers are up to this summer. Follow her at #RebeccaMCBphotos and check out what she has planned for her ‘gram-worthy’ weekend in NYC below!

Dancer

Rebecca King

Right now, we are getting close to the end of our first summer layoff. These weeks off in the summer are extremely important for us. After 40-plus straight weeks of dancing 7 days a week during our season, this time to rest and recover is essential as we are able to take time to treat nagging injuries and cross-train. While we continue to work to strengthen our worn down bodies from a long season, we also find some time to travel! This weekend I will be joining fellow MCB dancers in a visit to New York City.

We haven’t all been together in quite sometime now, so we are all very excited to enjoy the city together. On Saturday night we are thrilled to be attending New York City Ballet’s performance of Justin Peck’s new ballet “Everywhere We Go.” This will be especially exciting for us as Justin will be joining us in Miami when we return to work on June 9th to start his new ballet set to premier during the 2014-2015 Season in Program IV: Points of Departure. I have only seen the Pas de Deux that Justin choreographed for MCB a couple of seasons ago, so I can’t wait to get another preview of what is to come for MCB!

I am so looking forward to enjoying time with great friends and I hope you enjoy following our adventures through Instagram! – Rebecca

 Check out this preview of Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go for New York City Ballet. 

5 Reasons to Begin Ballet as an Adult!

Have you been wanting to learn ballet but have little or no previous training? Maybe you took dance as a child or a young adult, but never pursued it seriously? Or, maybe you just never had the right opportunity to get started?

Whatever the reason, learning ballet (especially for the first time) seems like a daunting feat! Miami City Ballet School completely understands this and has developed a Ballet 101 Workshop for beginners starting this June and July. In the following post, Kris Kramer, a former professional dancer with Miami City Ballet and teacher for Miami City Ballet’s School’s Open Adult Class division, shares 5 top reasons for why this workshop is the perfect opportunity to take the plunge and start ballet!

Beginner Ballet

Students in Miami City Ballet School’s Open Adult Class division.

Reason #1: Customized Class

Ballet 101 was created for true beginners and those seeking to better understand and improve the most basic ballet positions and steps. Each class builds upon the next and after completion of the workshop, students can progress to our Beginner Ballet class with more confidence and ease.

So, why not just attend Beginner Ballet class? For Beginner Ballet, students can drop-in for a single class or come regularly each week, so they do not follow a steady progression when learning the most basic to more complex steps. First-time ballet dancers, who don’t know the basic positions and steps, could feel a little lost. In Open Adult Division classes, “Beginner” encompasses a wide range of abilities. Ballet 101 is designed for those at the entry level of “Beginner” to give students who require the extra attention necessary for starting ballet.

Reason #2: Chicken Legs

We’ve all seen them. Those guys and gals with awesomely toned bodies — muscles galore — but little old chicken legs. Ballet is one of the best workouts to not only strengthen and tone your entire body, but also to improve coordination and body awareness. Bring on the élevés and relevés to work the lower extremities, especially the calves, ankles and feet, and you too will start seeing results that no other workout can accomplish.

Reason #3: Amazing Facilities

Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School are both housed in one of the few facilities in the world built from the ground up specifically for dance. The building and eight studios are unparalleled to any in South Florida. Who wants to learn ballet slipping around on a waxed, wood floor, or do jumps on hidden concrete below? That’s an injury waiting to happen! Learn ballet in one of MCB School’s state-of-the-art studios with lightly sprung marley flooring, full-length mirrors and plenty of barre space.

Reason #4: A Treat for You

Do you spend most days running around after your kids, working crazy hours or watching too much TV? It’s time to get out of the grind. Wouldn’t it be a nice change of pace to have some “you” time to move your body and learn something new? Here’s your chance to do something for you.

Reason #5: Awesome Teacher

When you think of ballet, do you conjure up images of an old Madame eerily pacing the studio,  barking out counts to the dancers, “five, six, seven, eight,” as she swings her cane haphazardly around? Here’s a little shameless self-promotion that I think most of my students would agree with. As a teacher, I am welcoming, encouraging, insanely passionate about ballet, and enjoy having a light-hearted, fun and exciting class. If you are feeling a little intimidated about the whole prospect of learning ballet, I’m the teacher for you. - Kris

Beginning Ballet

MCB School teacher Kris Kramer instructs a student in our Open Division.

Have more questions about Ballet 101 or our Open Adult Division? Leave a comment below or contact Kris directly by clicking here!

Dancers’ Picks of the Season!

We have heard from corps de ballet dancer, Michael Breeden, about the ballets that he is looking forward to performing most next season. Now, principal dancer Jeanette Delgado weighs in!

dancer

Jeanette Delgado

Next season is going to be thrilling! There are some oldies (but goodies) as well as some brand new works! I am looking forward to a lot of the ballets like Richard Alston’s ‘Carmen’ and Justin Peck’s new work, as well as ‘Raymonda Variations and ‘Allegro Brillante’, which are both beautiful Balanchine ballets the company has not performed in a while.

Richard Alston

Jeanette Delgado in ‘Carmen.’ Photo by Alberto Oviedo.

‘Raymonda Variations’ was a ballet that I performed when I was pretty young in the school. I found it to be so challenging and I remember feeling extremely nervous. The ballerina has two variations and two pas de deux and it is very challenging technically. I am looking forward to reuniting with this ballet now that I have a few more years under my belt and seeing what I can learn from it and bring to the role!

Dancer

Jeanette Delgado in ‘Raymonda Variations.’ Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Steven Caras.

Completely opposite from that ballet is the thrilling challenge of a work that is being created on us! Two seasons ago, I was so fortunate to be able to work with Justin [Peck] on his ballet, ‘Chutes and Ladders. Even though that process was very quick, I learned so much from him and was stretched artistically by his creativity. Since then, I have been hoping to work with him again! This time around, it will be a larger ballet, so I’m very excited that more of the company will be able to experience this process! I was able to watch Chutes this season from the audience and was moved every time in a new way. I think his creative voice is remarkably new and so relative and tangible to our generation and time!

I hope you are all looking forward to next season! We promise to work as hard as ever on these ballets so that we can continue to share this great art form with you! — Jeanette

Discover our new season here

Dancers’ Picks of Next Season

Our 2013-2014 Season has just come to a close, but we are already gearing up for the new season ahead! Our dancers return to the studios on June 9th to begin learning next season’s ballets, starting with up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck’s new work with street artist Shepard Fairey! Below, corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden shares his excitement about the ballets he can’t wait to perform.

Dancer

Michael Breeden

As one season comes to a finish and we reflect on the transcendent moments experienced onstage, it’s impossible for us dancers to not imagine all that’s in store next year. With the 2014-2015 Season beginning in June, we don’t have to wait too long before we get our hands on the most anticipated works of the year.

For me, there are some obvious highlights. Two great Balanchine works, ‘Symphony in Three Movements’ and ‘Allegro Brillante’, are back in the repertoire for the first time since 2009. Though the two works came from one great mind, they are alike only in the fact that they are brilliant works set to genius compositions (‘Allegro’ to music by Tchaikovsky, and ‘Symphony in Three’ to music by Stravinsky). ‘Allegro’ is Balanchine’s full-out essay on classicism as captured in 12 minutes. ‘Symphony in 3′ is a massive work with kaleidoscopic formations utilizing the entire company, as the dance echoes the driving score. I’ve danced both of these works before and every time they come back, I love them more. Balanchine’s genius continually reveals itself with each performance to both dancers and audience members, and it’s an experience I never take for granted.

Balanchine

Miami City Ballet dancers in Symphony in Three Movements. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Joe Gato.

Dancer

Jeanette Delgado in Allegro Brillante. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexandre Dufaur.

Balanchine works are a company staple that I always looks forward to, but choreography tailor made for the company is less frequent. The ballet I’m looking forward to most next season is a world premiere by Justin Peck, appearing during Program IV: Points of Departure. The company has developed a passion for new choreography in the past years, with choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett making works on us. Justin’s new work promises to fulfill its dancers and audiences in the same way those great choreographers did. His ballets abound with fresh, exciting and innovative use of the corps and so many visually striking dance images that repeated viewings are practically a must. He has a musical response that actually enhances the score, rather than uses it for effect. Each step in his works unfolds naturally, with fluidity, grace and style.

Choreography

Justin Peck works with dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado on his ballet ‘Chutes and Ladders.’ Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Full disclosure: Justin and I were suite mates at the School of American Ballet ten years ago, so it may be tempting to accuse me of bias. While I certainly enjoy his success as a friend and am happy to see him achieve so much at such a young age, I think a single viewing of one of his works is enough to know that bias has nothing to do with appreciating true talent. The wealth of knowledge and creativity that Justin has as a dance maker is just starting to be explored, and I couldn’t be more excited that the next step will be with Miami City Ballet.

Read the New York Time’s review of Justin Peck’s most recent work for New York City Ballet — Everywhere We Go. Discover the other ballets we are performing next season here and lookout for Michael onstage!