LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Stories from Opening Night – Lexie Overholt

Our next Opening Night Stories comes from corps de ballet dancer Lexie Overholt, who will also be taking over Miami City Ballet’s Instagram feed this week! Make sure to follow all of the action from now until Saturday, when the company performs a preview of George Balanchine’s Serenade at Fairchild Tropical Gardens during their Bird Festival.  The 2:30pm performance is FREE with paid admission to the gardens. We hope you can make it, but if you can’t, follow Lexie at #LexieMCBphotos on Instagram! Also, catch Serenade during Program I: First Ventures. And now for Lexie’s incredible story from opening night!

Lexie Overholt

My most memorable opening night was also my scariest. My junior year of high school, our studio’s Spring Show was a “mixed bill” of sorts and the variation I performed was Kitri from Don Quixote. Kitri’s solo in the first act has always been my favorite, one I have dreamed of performing. The time was finally here. The music started, the curtain rose, and within the first eight counts, in the middle of a pirouette, I was down. I tried to get up again, but could not.

Lexie performing Kitri in Don Quixote AFTER her fall!

The crew lowered the curtain and I looked down to see that my left knee cap had dislocated. I was in a lot of pain, but I knew I had to dance this role. My best friend Megan helped me gently move my knee cap back into place and we wrapped it tightly. In the mean time, the show continued until I told them I was ready. My director hesitated but agreed to let me go. I got back on that stage and performed with sheer adrenaline and tears in my eyes, but I did it! I felt like I performed better than I ever had. When the curtain went down, I  went directly to my orthopedic doctor and found I had severely stretched my MCL and dislocated my knee cap, with bone bruises surrounding my knee. But I had performed my dream role, and I had never felt more exhilaration. It is still the best opening night for me.

Create your own Opening Night story by joining us on October 18 for Program I: First Ventures , and begin your journey with the ballet this season!
GET TICKETS NOW!

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.

Stories from Opening Night – Christina Spigner

Our next Story from Opening Night comes from corps de ballet dancer Christina Spigner

Christina Spigner

Christina Spigner

My most memorable opening night experience was performing Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements with the company on opening night of the tour in Chicago when I was a student apprentice . It was special for so many reasons — first, because of course this was my very first performance with a professional company and secondly, being able to be apart of opening night is always a privilege. What also made it special was that this was the first time MCB toured to Chicago, so we got to debut and expose the Chicago audience to Miami’s dancing and talent in the company.  The response we got after performing was so enthusiastic and positive — it was amazing . Lastly, what made it so special was that my extended family lives in Chicago and most of them had never seen me dance or had even gone to the ballet before. So, for them to see me in my first company performance, as well as it being their first performance, was awesome.  It really touched me to have all of that support for such a big opening night for me:-)  And now they are huge ballet fans !

Christina in Symphony in Three Movements

Christina in Symphony in Three Movements

Opening night is so special because it is the night that all your work comes to fruition. It is our reward to perform onstage after all the long hours of sweat, work and rehearsals we have put in. It is the time to enjoy and give back to the audience, for the first time, in that particular ballet . It is one of the most exciting nights — you have lots of adrenaline and energy, and even the audience members have a similar anticipation and excitement — making the theater come alive with that electric energy that everyone present can sense. Opening night is a reward for us dancers and something we  look forward to with excitement and anticipation :)

Create your own Opening Night story by joining us on October 18 for Program I: First Ventures , and begin your journey with the ballet this season!
GET TICKETS NOW!

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 © Daniel Azoulay.

Stories from Opening Night – Ariel Rose

We are less than TWO WEEKS away from opening night of our 2013-2014 Season! Next up on our ‘Stories from Opening Night’ countdown is corps de ballet dancer Ariel Rose. Get your tickets to Program I: First Ventures before they go!

Ariel Rose

Ariel Rose

My scariest but also most memorable opening night experience was during my first lead in Alicia Alonso’s full-length ballet Coppélia with the Ballet Municipal de Lima. I just had a rushing moment of not believing that I was about to perform a three act ballet in an opera house in front of more than 1000 people. In the wings I started thinking about when I started ballet and all the difficult years of training, pushing myself and how far I had come from my beginnings in dance. My entire family, including those who live in Peru, who up to this point had never had the opportunity to see me dance, let alone dance in their  home country and in the national theater, were in the audience (they also never truly embraced my career as a professional dancer either). It was quite overwhelming! Yet, I told myself to conquer and live in the moment (as I often do when I am nervous). Seeing my Peruvian family after the show — some in tears — was so gratifying because not only did they finally see why I had been working so hard in ballet for all these years, but also because I finally felt like I had truly begun my career as a professional dancer and artist.

Ariel performing Coppelia

Ariel performing Coppelia

Opening night is special because it represents the transition from rehearsal to performance. There are virtually always little hiccups here and there, but it is very exciting for the audience because they know they are the very first people to see that specific production. It is also exciting for the dancers because after weeks and weeks of rehearsing, repeating and polishing something we’ve practiced 50+ times, we get to show it to people for the very first time. Seeing their reaction and appreciation after a performance is incredibly gratifying.

 

Create your own Opening Night story by joining us on October 18 for Program I: First Ventures , and begin your journey with the ballet this season! GET TICKETS NOW!

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 © Daniel Azoulay.

Stories from Opening Night – Nicole Stalker

Our next opening night story comes from corps de ballet dancer Nicole Stalker, sharing her scariest, but most memorable opening night!

Nicole Stalker

Nicole Stalker

I danced my very first Square Dance corps performance on opening night in Paris!! Square Dance is one of the most notoriously difficult Balanchine ballets in terms of both technique and stamina. I was so incredibly nervous, as I was the only one in the cast who had never performed the ballet before. I was worried about making it through the ballet while still maintaining good technique and stage presence. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling I had when the curtain went up and we waited in silence for that first violin note! Although I was terrified, I also consider it one of my most memorable performance experiences. We were all together in one of the most amazing cities in the world getting to do what we love! It is a memory I will cherish forever!

Nicole Stalker with former dancer Ezra Hurwitz

Nicole Stalker with former dancer Ezra Hurwitz

Create your own Opening Night story by joining us on October 18 for Program I: First Ventures , and begin your journey with the ballet this season! GET TICKETS NOW!

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 – Photo © Leigh-Ann Esty.

The Man Behind ‘Polyphonia’

A very important guest is paying MCB a visit! He happens to be the artistic genius behind one of the ballets that is making its company premiere during Program I: First Ventures.  You guessed it! The mastermind behind Polyphonia – Christopher Wheeldon!

Christopher Wheeldon via timeout.com

Christopher Wheeldon via timeout.com

Polyphonia was Christopher Wheeldon’s first ballet that he choreographed after retiring from a successful dance career with New York City Ballet to become the company’s first-ever Artist in Residence. Keeping in line with our theme of “firsts” for First VenturesPolyphonia was also Wheeldon’s first breakthrough work, propelling him into the choreographic spotlight. Wheeldon has now choreographed countless ballets for companies across the country and around the world, including The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet, New York City Ballet and several others. He also co-founded the New York-based dance company Morphoses with our very own Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez  in 2007. Currently he is the Artistic Associate at The Royal Ballet. Critics have deemed Wheeldon as one of the principle, 21st century choreographers actively defining the future of ballet — and we CAN’T WAIT to see what that looks like!

While only time will tell what the future of ballet looks like, we are so fortunate to have Wheeldon here for two days to work with our dancers and witness this progression take place. Capturing it all on Instagram is Rebecca King!

Rebecca King

Rebecca King

We asked Rebecca to share her excitement about having Wheeldon in our studios to work on Polyphonia and here is what she had to say:

Having Christopher Wheeldon in studio with us this week is an absolute honor.  We began rehearsing ‘Polyphonia’ in August and have been working on it regularly since.  Now that we are so familiar with the steps and the music, it will be an amazing and special experience to have the ballet’s creator come in to coach us.  We will be able to hear about the intentions of the steps and the purpose of the work as a whole, which will bring a very special perspective to Miami City Ballet’s interpretation of ‘Polyphonia.’  We can’t wait to see what is in store for us! Stay tuned for sneak peaks into the rehearsal process.

See Rebecca and the rest of the company perform this milestone work during Program I: First Ventures! Get your tickets now!

Adrienne Arsht Center: October 18-20
Broward Center: October 25-27
Kravis Center: November 15-17

Headshot © Rebecca King.

Stories from Opening Night – Jennifer Kronenberg

As we count down the days to opening night of the 2013-2014 Season, dancers are sharing their favorite stories from past opening nights and explaining why performing on this particular night is so special. To kick-off the series is principal dancer Jennifer Kronenberg! Don’t forget to get your tickets!

Jennifer Kronenberg

Jennifer Kronenberg

Opening Romeo & Juliet was probably my most exciting and memorable opening night. It is such a romantic and monumental ballet — one that I had looked forward to dancing for so long. Then, to be lucky enough to dance it with my husband Carlos, and have it be for MCB’s 25th Anniversary, made it all the more special!

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra in Romeo and Juliet.

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra in Romeo and Juliet.

Opening nights are particularly significant because there is always a unique sense of anticipation leading up to them. As we dancers are performing a role or ballet for the first time, the audience will most likely be experiencing it for the first time as well. That fleeting parallel and common ground with the audience is an experience that, for me, always sets opening nights apart from other performances.

Join us on Opening Night, October 18, for Program I: First Ventures to create more lasting memories and begin your journey with the ballet this season!

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 © Gio Alma.
Performance shot © Kyle Froman.

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!

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!

Meet our new dancers!

This week, we would like to introduce you to another new face — corps de ballet dancer Eric Trope. Look out for him onstage this season, or according to one of his self-proclaimed indulgences, at a late night karaoke bar singing his heart out:-0

Eric Trope

MCB: Where are you from?

Eric: Poolesville, MD.

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

Eric: I trained at Maryland Youth Ballet and School of American Ballet.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Eric: Pennsylvania Ballet.

Eric rehearsing Matthew Neenan's 'At Various Points' with Pennsylvania Ballet.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Eric: On my perfect day, I’m surrounded by my siblings (all five of them)  in Massachusetts where we used to spend our summers as kids and we’re probably fighting about where we should eat lunch.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Eric: One of my proudest moments was surviving working on a llama and alpaca farm with my sister in Alaska last summer. In terms of my career, getting to be involved and choreograph for Pennsylvania Ballet’s Shut Up and Dance for the past four years. The show raises money for MANNA,  whose mission is to provide meals empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life.

Llama or alpaca? Eric in Alaska over the summer.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Eric: In my wildest dream, I’m starring in an all male version of Les Miserables alongside Niel Patrick Harris and John Hamm, with every song in falsetto.

MCB: Indulgence?

Eric: Late night karaoke to Counting Crows.

MCB: Inspiration?

Eric: My biggest inspiration would be my father for the way he lives his life unselfishly and modestly.

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

Eric: Fiona Apple and Avocados.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Eric: My last year in SAB’s workshop, I accidentally wore the lead’s costume for the male regiment of Stars and Stripes when alas I was only in the corps.

MCB: Dream role?

Eric: Phlegmatic in The Four Temperaments, The Statics Pas in N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, Apollo, Tony in West Side Story Suite, Prodigal Son, Fancy Free, Brown Boy in Dances at a Gathering.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Eric: I am already so inspired by my fellow dancers and their passion for what they do.  I am very excited to be able to dance the company’s expansive repertory as well as explore the diverse culture of Miami.

Hiking in The Samaria Gorge in Crete.

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

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!