LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

A Real Dance Mom Tells All!

Principal dancers Patricia and Jeanette Delgado are two of Miami City Ballet’s brightest stars. Born and raised in Miami, these sisters flourished as aspiring dancers at Miami City Ballet School and quickly climbed the ranks of the company. Now, the road to becoming principal dancers is certainly not easy, requiring sacrifice, patience, perseverance and a lot of hard work. So, who was behind this dancing duo to encourage and support them through it all? Their family!

In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked Patricia and Jeanette’s mother Millie Figueredo what it was like raising two sibling ballerinas. Check out her responses in our Q & A below!

Mothers Day

The Delgado Family! Patricia, Zeke, Millie and Jeanette backstage during The Nutcracker.

How did Jeanette and Patricia get started with ballet? 

Patricia was around three or four years old when after watching a classic ballet on the public TV channel, she said she wanted to do that.  I told her she had to be older to take lessons. When she was five years old, while visiting my mother, she saw some old pictures of me in my ballet class and she told my mom that she wanted to take lessons too.  My mother went ahead and found a ballet studio near our home and told me I should enroll Patricia.  I really wanted her to be older, but I was outnumbered!  Of course, when Jeanette saw what her sister was doing, she wanted to do it too!

ballerina

Patricia and Jeanette as baby ballerinas!

When did you realize that they were really talented? 

I always saw the girls enjoying themselves while dancing!  In their adolescence, they both became very focused and passionate as well as hard workers.  I did notice they loved to perform and their hearts were completely open and free when on stage.  I guess, I had to start believing their teachers and others when they praised their talent and dedication.

Balanchine

Patricia Delgado in ‘Western Symphony.’ Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Ballet can create a competitive environment as young dancers strive for leading roles, teacher’s attention, etc. Did you ever worry about the sisters getting jealous of each other? How did you prevent them from avoiding these pitfalls?

Zeke and I made a conscious effort to treat them [Patricia and Jeanette] fairly and we encouraged them to help each other.  We praised their individuality — never comparing, but rather encouraging them to develop their unique strengths and recognize their weaknesses as opportunity for growth.  Even though they shared similar interests, they also had different ones.  For example, Patricia enjoyed taking piano lessons and playing sports, while Jeanette liked taking acting and singing lessons.

Ballet takes so much discipline, sacrifice and hard work, how did you encourage the girls to continue pursuing ballet through the rough times?

I must admit that we actually maintained a more neutral position during these times because we never thought they would become professional dancers.  We recognized the tough road ahead, and thus, the decision to pursue ballet training had to be completely their own.  Although, we obviously supported their passion and encouraged them to follow their dreams, we never underestimated the difficulty of pursuing this career.

Liam Scarlett

Jeanette Delgado in Liam Scarlett’s ‘Viscera.’ Photo by Kyle Froman.

What was the best memory you have about each of your daughters regarding their ballet careers? Was there a special performance, moment or memory you have that stands out? 

There are many wonderful memories — the first time I saw them perform with a professional company, the first time I saw them perform a leading role, or the first time they received flowers onstage. But, the best was the first time I was no longer nervous to watch them perform and I could really enjoy it!

Mother's Day

Millie with Patricia.

Mom

Millie with Jeanette.

 This Sunday, create Mother’s Day memories with the gift of dance! Check out the ballets onstage next season!

Summertime on Instagram

With their summer downtime, our dancers have split from Miami and spread out all over the world! The latest dancer update comes from Joinville, Brazil, where corps de ballet dancer Jovani Furlan takes over our Instagram feed this week. Follow Jovani at #JovaniMCBphotos for a snapshot of his life back in Brazil! 

Dancer

Jovani Furlan

When I’m in Brazil, I’ll be taking class at my old ballet school, The Bolshoi Theater School in Brazil – the only affiliate of the Bolshoi Theater of Moscow. I’m also doing some physical therapy,  working out, spending a lot of time with the family, and enjoying the beaches around my state! - Jovani

Balanchine

Jovani Furlan in Balanchine’s ‘Episodes.’

Read more posts from Jovani here!

Excited about next season? Check out the ballets that we will be working on this summer, when our dancers return to the studio on June 9th!

Dancer Appearances this Summer!

For most of us, summertime means relaxing vacations, spending time with friends and family, or simply slowing down to relish in the lazy summer heat. For our dancers, summertime means something quite different! While many take advantage of a quick trip for travel or sentimental homecoming, most of them ramp up for a series of guest appearances with other dance companies and teaching gigs at dance studios nationwide. Here is a look at where some of our dancers are performing and teaching this summer!

Thursday, May 1 from 6:15pm-8:15pm:
Rebecca King will be teaching a master class at The Dancers Studio in Stuart, FL. She will also be teaching students sections for George Balanchine’s beloved classic, Serenade. For more information, call 722.692.7125 or visit their Facebook page! We asked Rebecca why she enjoys teaching during her summer months off, and here is what she had to say:

As professional dancers we spend most of our time in the studio.  But, it’s not every day that we get to stand in the front of the studio, essentially switching roles. It may seem that students get the most from their teachers, but in my case, I always find that I learn so much from these young pupils. Watching their thought process and work ethic is not only inspiring to me, but educational as well.  Seeing them take a correction and apply it to their dancing and witnessing a change, is extraordinarily rewarding. I am so looking forward to this collaborative learning experience.  


Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4:
Reyneris Reyes
and Tricia Albertson will be performing Cinderella in Fredrick, MD with the Maryland Regional Ballet. For more information click here.

Christopher Wheeldon

Tricia Albertson and Reyneris Reyes in ‘Polyphonia.’


Monday, May 5:
Patricia Delgado
will be performing at the 4th Annual Dance Against Cancer Benefit in New York City. She is dancing Justin Peck’s Sea Change — a ballet to a touching piano piece by Shubert that he choreographed on Patricia and three dancers from New York City Ballet last summer in Nantucket. Read more about the benefit here.

Patricia has also been guest teaching at the Manhattan Youth Ballet in New York City. Here’s what she had to say about her teaching experience, “Had my first classes this week and had the best time! I love getting to work with young and energetic driven kids who are so enthusiastic and eager for information. It’s so inspiring!”

Dance teacher

Patricia teaching at MCB School’s 2012 Summer Intensive.

Monday, May 5 – Sunday, June 1:
Shimon Ito and Emily Bromberg will make guest appearances together in a series of performances, including Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Peter Pan (May 16-18), a performance of Liam Scarlett’s Viscera with Route 11 Dance Festival in Virginia (May 5-10), and Act III of Sleeping Beauty in New York City with Asaka Ito Ballet School — Shimon’s mother’s dance studio (June 1)! And the best part, Emily’s four-legged friend ‘Puck’ will be joining them for the entire adventure!

Ballet jump

‘Puck’ is used to hanging out with dancers. Here he is with dancer Jovani Furlan from our photo shoot with photographer Jordan Matter.

Friday, May 16 – Sunday, May 18:
Ariel Rose will be returning to his home studio Ballet Academy East for a guest performance with their studio company in Balanchine’s La Source. For more information click here.

Friday, June 6 – Sunday, June 8:
Michael Breeden will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Pennsylvania Ballet at the Kennedy Center. Michael is particularly excited for this performance, as he will be back onstage with several Miami City Ballet and School of American Ballet alum who he hasn’t danced with in years! For more information click here.

Monday, July 14 – Friday, July 18:
Tricia Albertson will be teaching at the Toledo Ballet in Toledo, OH, followed by Renato Penteado, who will also be teaching there from Monday, July 28 – Friday, August 1.

As you see, our dancers are very busy over the next couple of months. We can’t wait until they return to our studios on June 9th to start learning Justin Peck’s new work, which will debut next season! Learn more about the new season here.

 

 

 

 

 

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

Our final performance of Don Quixote last weekend was the perfect closing to another fantastic season of dance. Now that you have heard dancer Ariel Rose’s top moments of the 2013-2014 Season, we continue to reflect on this momentous year with our next post from recently promoted Soloist Nathalia Arja.

Dancer

Nathalia Arja

This season was extremely challenging for me. Not only was I given many difficult parts, but to also learn, rehearse and maintain them all at the same time throughout the season proved to be a marathon of stamina. There were many times that I felt as if my body had no more to give. It was in these moments that it was often difficult to muster up the strength from inside to run another ballet or do a second performance in a day.

Ratmansky

Nathalia Arja in Alexei Ratmansky’s ‘Symphonic Dances’

Looking back at this season, I feel like I have grown and matured through the challenges I have had to face. I feel very privileged to have worked on all these ballets and with the repetiteurs who staged them. Despite each ballet being very unique, I loved dancing every one of them.

Balanchine

Nathalia Arja and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Ballo della Regina’

I am really looking forward to next season. Despite being promoted to soloist this year, nothing for me will change. The process and journey of learning, exploring and becoming a better dancer and a more developed artist never ends and although this season may have been a large step for me, at the end of the day it is still just another stepping stone on the career path of a ballet dancer. - Nathalia

Join Nathalia and the rest of our dancers on next season’s journey ! More information on the ballets being performed here!

Summertime on Instagram

We have officially completed our 2013-2014 Season of dance and now it’s time to unwind and relax. So what do our dancers do in their free time? Find out by following them on our Instagram feed!

dancer

Patricia Delgado

Our first Instagram guest of the summer is principal dancer Patricia Delgado! Patricia has already made her way up to the Big Apple to join up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck at the Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of his documentary Ballet 422. Ballet 422 goes behind-the-scenes of the choreographic process for his work for New York City Ballet, Paz de la Jolla. (Watch a sneak peek of the documentary here). Patricia will make sure you catch all of the action at the festival and help you get to know this exceptionally talented, young choreographer, who will be creating a new work for us next season! To see what NYC has in store for Patricia, follow her at #PatriciaMCBphotos!

Choreography

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

Ballet

Miami City Ballet dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado in ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

Read about the fun our dancers had last summer! Click here.

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

With the opening of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center tomorrow, comes the closing of another season of extraordinary dance. Each ballet has created a unique experience on our journey to learn more about this rich, multifaceted art form. From the grounded, lyrical movements of Jardí Tancat to the geometric, sharp choreography of Polyphonia; from the alluring dance in the moonlight of Balanchine’s Serenade, to his atonal, yet unexpectedly harmonious Episodes; and from the ‘West Side Story’ we fell in love with years ago, to a story we are still discovering with Symphonic Dances — this season has pushed the boundaries of our audiences and dancers, alike.

As the season quickly comes to a close, dancers Ariel RoseTricia Albertson and Nathalia Arja will share their favorite moments of 2013-2014 and what this year has meant to them. First up, is this week’s Instagram guest and corps de ballet dancer Ariel Rose.

Dancer

Ariel Rose

This season has been quite a memorable one  for me. It was certainly a year in which many things came together both on and off the stage. I believe that this season has been one of tremendous growth, and despite it being my first year in Miami, it feels like more than a year’s work has been accomplished. Joining a new company is always difficult. If one is a little insecure and slightly extra anxious like I am, it can be even more difficult to make a first impression that reflects one’s true identity. There is always a slight need to prove yourself, despite past professional experience. 

To be honest, starting with ‘Polyphonia’ was a bit of a heart attack. Not only is it not a ‘corps de ballet’ work, but it is a very complex piece by none other than Christopher Wheeldon — one of the most well known choreographers in the world, who actually ended up coming in person to oversee a rehearsal or two right before Program I: First Ventures opened! I believe that this experience pushed the dancers (especially the younger, less experienced ones like myself) to grow and mature in terms of our confidence, style and artistry.

Christopher Wheeldon

MCB dancers in ‘Polyphonia.’

I believe another highlight of this season was Nacho Duato’s ‘Jardí Tancat’.  Despite this piece’s earthly and grounded beauty in its presentation, the process of learning and embodying that manner of dancing was another experience that put us dancers in a somewhat uncomfortable place. There were often struggles in terms of strength, stamina, coordination and achieving the right style and ‘look,’ not to mention all the while maintaining our more classical repertoire. I think our struggles as a ‘clan’ of sorts during this process united us more intimately, which in turn gave everyone the support they needed to get through it successfully. Perhaps the irony of this effect was that it bled onto the stage in our portrayal of farmers in the fields of Catalonia, struggling wearily together under the scorching sun, yet never once giving up because of this supportive network we created between one another.

Jardi Tancat

Ariel Rose and Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg in Jardi Tancat

Program III: Triple Threat was incredibly rich in history. Balanchine’s Episodes is a landmark of sorts. It is a work that perhaps although misshapen, archaic and somewhat absent of lyrical sense, makes one pay even more attention to detail and visual imagery. I believe that this program, along with the company’a premiere of West Side Story Suite took us through ballets that our artistic staff and the répétiteurs had very close ties with. I felt that the repertoire on this particular program was very explicitly passed down to us dancers and that despite our achievement in performing these works, we were all mentally enlightened as well.

West Side Story

MCB dancers in West Side Story Suite

Now at the end of the season, Don Quixote feels more celebratory than anything else. Despite people’s varying opinions on the classic ballet itself, it is a somewhat fitting close to this season as we all stand on stage together during the act three wedding pas de deux, watching Basilio and Kitri accomplish the dynamic and difficult choreography. It is moments like these, standing and admiring onstage, that I feel connected. I feel part of something larger than myself. I don’t feel like it’s about my individual ballet career. I feel that we are accomplishing something together. As our director and leader Lourdes Lopez has expressed many times throughout this season, these programs have truly culminated in a journey, not just allegorically but in reality as well. A lot has been accomplished this year —  not just terms of great performances, but also in personal growth and development. I believe what is even more exciting for the audience than seeing great performances is seeing the artists themselves evolve and develop from one season or program to the next. From a personal standpoint, I could not feel more privileged or honored to have been invited to become part of this organization and contribute my small part to the journey it has embarked on. All I can say is “to be continued”. 

Watch Ariel and the rest of our amazing dancers onstage during Don Quixote this weekend at the Arsht Center. More info and tickets here!

Like Ariel and Lourdes Lopez said, each season is a journey. By joining Miami City Ballet for each distinct program, a new artistic experience is created, enriching lives in unique ways. Check out what we have planned for 2014-2015 journey here!

 

Makeup Magic with Don Quixote!

We snuck our cameras behind-the-scenes of Don Quixote to get an exclusive look at the intricate and lengthy makeup process involved in bringing these colorful characters to life onstage. Makeup artist Carol Raskin and assistant makeup artist Lisa Horwitz  spent over two hours transforming six dancers into Amour (aka Cupid), Dulcinea (Don Quixote’s dream girl), Gamache (the rich nobleman), Sancho Panza (Don Quixote’s right-hand man), Lorenzo (Kitri’s father), and Don Quixote, himself! These characters’ beauty secrets require way more than your standard lipstick and mascara!

Watch dancers Andrei Chagas and Carlos Guerra undergo their transformation to become our favorite dynamic duo — Sancho Panza and the man for which the ballet was named, Don Quixote!

MCB School apprentice Gabby Epstep getting dolled up for Dulcinea.

MCB School apprentice Gabby Epstep getting dolled up for Dulcinea.

Christie Sciturro as Queen of the Dryads

Christie Sciturro as ‘Queen of the Dryads’, Gabby Estep as ‘Dulcinea’, Tricia Albertson as ‘Amour’, and Mary Carmen Catoya as ‘Kitri’ (dancers left to right). Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

Jeremy Cox as 'Gamache'. Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

Jeremy Cox as ‘Gamache’. Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

Learn about the lavish costumes in Don Quixote as well by clicking here!

There is still time to catch our season finale of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center April 11-13. Don’t miss your last chance to see us this season. Get your tickets here

Moving on up!

With Company promotions announced last week, we are thrilled to welcome two Miami City Ballet School (MCB School) students who have been invited to join Miami City Ballet for our 2014-2015 Season. We extend a big congratulations to students Ellen Grocki and Alex Manning for becoming official members of the Company! Learn about these dancers and their reactions to the exciting news below!

WELCOME TO MCB ELLEN GROCKI!

Ellen Grocki

Ellen Grocki in the 2013 MCB School Student Workshop performance.

I’m a small town girl from good old Damascus, Maryland and started ballet when I was three years old. I trained under Florence Gardner for six years in Damascus, and then under Patricia Berrend at Berrend Dance Center in Olney, Maryland for seven years. In the summer of 2012, at age 16, I attended the Miami City Ballet School Summer Intensive. It is so funny to think back to the first time I danced in these studios, and how nervous and inexperienced I was. That summer truly made an impact on me, and I was ecstatic when I was offered an invitation to stay at MCB School for the winter term. Somehow, my mom let me go, and I had an incredible year with the school. I had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker with the company that year, and that was when I really fell in love with Miami City Ballet. Being in those rehearsals and getting the chance to dance onstage alongside such exquisite dancers made it clear to me that I wanted nothing more than to be a part of this Company. Currently, this is my second year at MCB School and my first year as a Student Apprentice with the Company.

The day I was promoted was a normal Thursday, like any other. I was getting ready for class at the studios when I was told that our school director Ms. Callaghan wanted to speak to me. I walked into her office, completely oblivious to what was about to happen, and the first thing she said was, “Ellen, I have good news.” Now, for the past two years, every day before dance class, I would say to myself, “You are the newest member of Miami City Ballet,” to try to encourage myself to keep working harder. Then in that moment, when Ms. Callaghan finally said those words out loud, it didn’t seem real. I skipped all the way down the hallway to the last studio surrounded by windows and just danced and jumped around by myself. I called my family and we were all crying. Then I hopped right back into modern class, knowing that I was one step closer to achieving my dreams. Everyone in the company has made me feel so incredibly welcome as a new member of the corps de ballet. I cannot wait for all that the upcoming season holds, and I am so excited to be a part of it. 
-Ellen

WELCOME TO MCB ALEX MANNING!

Alex Manning performing 'Sleeping Beauty' at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Alex Manning performing ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

I am from State College, Pennsylvania. I first trained at a small school there called the Ballet Theatre of Central Pennsylvania. When I was 13, I went to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts for my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school. Then, I moved to a small apartment in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with my mom and sister to attend the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. While at CPYB, I also studied privately with Laszlo Berdo and Leslie Hench. Last year, I auditioned for Miami City Ballet and was offered a Student Apprenticeship with MCB School. This was my first and only year here at MCB School.

Last Friday, I had a meeting scheduled with Ms. Callaghan, the school director, before class in the morning. I remember not sleeping for the whole night, and in the back of my mind I was not feeling very positive. I kept seeing talented male dancers come in to audition and thought I was just too inexperienced to be hired this year. But when I walked in to see Ms. Callaghan, she sat me down and immediately told me, “Congratulations! Ms. Lopez would like to offer you a contract.” I didn’t even know what to say. I was so shocked! I immediately hugged Ms. Callaghan and almost started crying in her arms. Then I asked, “Is that all?” And she laughed and told me “that’s it!” So I ran out to call my friends, parents and teachers. I was so thankful that all of those years of hard work with those special people helping me along the way had paid off. And I’m so proud that this all happened here at Miami City Ballet!
-Alex

Audience members will have the opportunity to see Ellen and Alex perform with both the Company and MCB School before our 2013-2014 Season comes to an end. Catch them during MCB School’s Student Choreography Showcase on April 26th and the Miami City Ballet Ensemble performances on May 2-3 — both at in-house studio theater in Miami Beach. Or, see them on the mainstage during our season finale of Don Quixote and when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October!

Check out the Company promotions here!

 

Zoe Zien takes over Instagram!

We are getting ready for a performance filled week ahead! On Tuesday, several dancers will premiere their original works created in collaboration with New World Symphony fellows during the FREE series – Inside the Music . Then, only three days later, the entire Company heads up to Ft. Lauderdale for the opening of Don Quixote at the Broward Center. With performances spanning the Florida coastline, we are fortunate to have corps de ballet dancer Zoe Zien taking over our Instagram feed to capture it all! Follow Zoe at #ZoeMCBphotos!

Zoe Zien

Zoe Zien

We are all very excited about this week. Miami City Ballet (MCB) and New World Symphony (NWS) are coming together for a special event, cultivated by the musicians and dancers themselves.  The evening will be made up of original works created by the MCB dancers, to music performed live by the NWS Fellows. The creative process has been truly inspiring for the dancers and we are all looking forward to the show on Tuesday night! Later in the week, we open with Don Q at the Broward Center. It’s a buoyant production with over-the-top characters and bravura dancing.

-Zoe

Zoe's new works takes place on camera! Here they are at Fairchild Tropicla Gardens' with New World Symphony's videographer Bruce Pinchbeck.

Zoe’s new work takes place on camera! Here are  MCB dancers at Fairchild Tropical Gardens with New World Symphony’s videographer Bruce Pinchbeck.

Zoe snuck a shot on Instagram of our creative exchange with New World Symphony.

Zoe snuck a shot on Instagram of our creative exchange with New World Symphony.

Read more about our creative exchange with New World Symphony here and watch a sneak peek of Don Quixote!

Dancer PROMOTIONS!

We are proud to announce that two dancers will be promoted next season. We send a huge congratulations to Nathalia Arja and Leanna Rinaldi!

Originally from Rio de Janeiro and a graduate of MCB School, Nathalia joined MCB as an apprentice in 2009 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2011. Three years later, and after performing lead roles in Ballo della Regina, Polyphonia, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and even the coveted Sugar Plum Fairy, among others, she will kick off the 2014-2015 Season as a Soloist! We asked Nathalia how she reacted to the exciting news. Read on to find out!

Nathalia Arja in Balanchine's 'Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.'

Nathalia Arja in Balanchine’s ‘Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.’

When I first found out I got promoted I was literally in shock. When our Company Manager told me that Lourdes [Lopez] wanted to talk to me, I would never guess it would be about a promotion. So right after Lourdes told me the news, my first thought was, ’are you sure?’ Then, my second thought was, ‘oh my God, where is my mom?’ There were just so many crazy feelings in less than five seconds! It was indescribable and I remember leaving the room sobbing, then started running around looking for my friends because I couldn’t keep the news to myself. I had to tell them right away. It was definitely one the the best days of my life for sure. I’m just so thankful. Since I heard the news, I have kept repeating to myself, ‘Oh my God, I got promoted!” I still cannot believe it.

-Natalia

 

Leanna is a Texas native who joined MCB as an apprentice at the beginning of this season, after graduating from MCB School. In just her first year with the company, she has had several opportunities to shine onstage, particularly when she was selected to perform Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat — a demanding, contemporary work that features only six dancers onstage (read about her experience performing the work here).  After just one year as an apprentice, Leanna will begin the 2014-2015 Season as an official member of the corps de ballet. Read about her reaction to the big news below:

Repetituer Kevin Irving teaching Leanna the choreography.

Leanna rehearsing Jardi Tancat with repetiteur Kevin Irving.

When Lourdes told me that I was invited to continue on in the company as a corps de ballet member, I was ecstatic. Receiving the contract in the mail was the best part. I’ve been working for this moment my whole life. All the sacrifices and hard work led to holding a contract in my hand. I couldn’t ask for anything better than getting to do what I love for a living. I’m thrilled to officially be apart of this company.  

-Leanna

Lookout for these rising stars onstage during our season finale of Don Quixote and when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October!