LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Dreams of Sugar Plums

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.

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.

Jennifer Lauren as the Sugar Plum Fairy with Alabama Ballet.

Sara Esty

Sara Esty

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.

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

 

Capturing Balanchine’s ‘Episodes’ on Instagram

Returning from summer vacation and a fun trip home to Brazil, corps de ballet dancer Jovani Furlan is back on Instagram as this week’s guest photographer.

Jovani Furlan

Our studios are exceptionally busy this week, with the arrival of two répétiteurs from the George Balanchine Trust — Patricia Neary and Peter Frame — who will be staging the company premiere of Episodes. Patricia Neary was hand-picked by Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet, where he later created two key roles on her — in Raymonda Variations and in Jewels. She will use her personal experience dancing several roles to stage Episodes and preserve every last detail of the choreography.

Peter Frame has an exceptionally close tie to Episodes as he was the first dancer to perform the Paul Taylor solo after Paul Taylor himself. In fact, Paul Taylor reconstructed the solo on Peter in 1986 when he was a dancer with NYCB. We are privileged and excited to have both Patricia and Peter with us at MCB to bring this boldly modern masterwork to life this season, as part of Program III: Triple Threat.

Pat Neary with Balanchine and sister Coleen (right).

Callie Manning and Neil Marshall in Balanchine's Episodes.

Learn more about the interesting history of Balanchine’s Episodes and how it came to be the ballet performed today.

Flexible subscription packages and single tickets to Episodes are on sale now as part of Program III: Triple Threat.

Photo credits:
Headshot © Gio Alma.
Miami City Ballet dancers Callie Manning and Neil Marshall in Episodes. Choreography by George Balanchine, © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Gio Alma.