LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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!

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.

Meet our new dancers!

As we prepare for the opening of the 2013-2014 Season, Miami City Ballet welcomes several new faces to the company! Over the next few weeks, we are getting up close and personal with our “newbies” on our blog before they take the stage in October. So without further ado, we introduce you to MCB corps de ballet member Brianna Abruzzo!

Brianna Abruzzo

MCB: Where are you from?

Brianna: New York, NY

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

Brianna: School of American Ballet (11 years), San Francisco Ballet Summer Program, MCB Summer Program, Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Program, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the Chautauqua Festival.

MCB: What companies have you trained professionally with?

Brianna: As a student, I trained with New York City Ballet.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Brianna: Meet some friends at a local café for brunch, pamper myself with a mani/pedi (I’m a real girly girl). Take a walk around Central Park (I could never get tired of exploring the park). End the day with going to the movies.

Brianna in Central Park

MCB: Proudest moment?

Brianna: When I got offered a position in MCB. I said to myself “I did it!” I couldn’t believe it.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Brianna: Living, dancing, singing, acting and baking in Paris.

MCB: Indulgence?

Brianna: Mac and Cheese.

MCB: Inspiration?

Brianna: Misty Copeland and Tiler Peck inspire me because they are impeccable dancers who continue to improve daily. Wendy Whelan also inspires me because she is world renowned, yet she is still down to earth and genuine.

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

Brianna: My cat Armani. He is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met. People who normally dislike cats like Armani.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Brianna: Performing at the Costume Gala in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art surrounded by water in the Egyptian exhibit. It was such a glamorous night and the beautifully dressed celebrities treated us dancers as if we were the celebrities.

Brianna rehearsing with her choreographer for the SAB Student Choreography Workshop

MCB: Dream role?

Brianna: Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (I cry every time).

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Brianna: MCB has a bit of everything; the amazing Balanchine rep that I couldn’t live without and contemporary ballets. MCB also has choreographers coming and staging new ballets quite often. I love that process and it was an important factor for me in choosing a dance company. MCB is also not too far from home, it’s a city (a fun one too), I have relatives close by, and who can say no to days off relaxing on the beach? Everyone in the company was immediately nice and welcoming. This made it one of the easiest decisions for me.

Brianna leaped at the opportunity to join MCB:-)

2013-2014 Season Preview!

Check out our latest video to discover what exciting dance masterworks Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez has in store for Miami City Ballet’s 2013-2014 Season. What ballet(s) are you most excited to see next season?

Subscription packages and single tickets are on sale now! Visit miamicityballet.org or call 305.929.7010 for more information and tickets.

Summer Dance Diary: Week FOUR

Student McKenna Collins writes about her fourth week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

McKenna Collins

Dear Diary,

We have just completed the fourth week of classes at Miami City Ballet (MCB) School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program and I’m feeling very accomplished and inspired!

Coming into this program as an Apprentice with Madison Ballet in Madison, Wisconsin, I was eager to begin learning from such a renowned school. After having finished the fourth week, it is clear to me as to why it is one of the best schools in the country. From the spacious facilities to the worldly teaching staff, this program has been an incredible learning and growing experience…and it’s not even over yet!

This is my first summer with Miami City Ballet as well as my first time in Miami. Coming from a state where you can drive for miles and only see fields of corn and lots of cows, it’s a very different atmosphere here in the city! From the moment I stepped into the beautiful studios just off of South Beach and met all of my wonderful teachers, I knew this would be a great summer.

The Ladies of Level III!

Having participated in various summer intensives, such as Ballet Chicago, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, I was looking forward to continuing my Balanchine training here at MCB School. We have been covering a wide range of styles from classical to neoclassical, and learning from some of the most experienced dancers in the world. But, with experience comes expectation! Week four has been the toughest of them all so far.  The teachers are really challenging us to perform at our highest level possible every day and to strive for more in every class. It’s that kind of support and encouragement that motivates me to work hard and be the best that I can be!

One of my favorite parts of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program is the amazing faculty that we have had the privilege of studying under! Each of them is so accomplished and gifted — it is humbling to be able to take class and receive corrections from them. Something that I have noticed in most of my classes here is the emphasis the teachers put not only on making each movement technically correct, but also on dancing the movements. Being in such a prestigious environment has motivated me and fueled my passion for dance even more!

McKenna working hard in the beautiful South Beach studios!

As the weeks progress, so has our repertory piece come together. It’s an honor to have Ms. Maribel Modrono as our Repertoire choreographer. She has set a beautiful neoclassical contemporary ballet piece on our level, which we are very excited to perform in just 6 days. She is so creative and passionate about what she does — it is truly inspiring to learn from her!

After a long day of rehearsals, my roommate and I love nothing more than being able to walk right out the doors and on to the beach! We spend our free time shopping on Lincoln Road, trying new foods and of course, soaking up the sun. Celebrating my birthday here was also a once in a lifetime treat.

Relaxing after HOURS of dance class!

Overall, MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program has been an eye opening journey for me that I will never forget. The friends I have made here I will cherish forever. The corrections I have received I will take back home with me and continue to perfect. I have grown as not only a dancer, but also as a young woman here this summer and had the experience of a lifetime!

Yours truly,

McKenna Collins

Adrienne Carter takes over Instagram!

Its week two of this short, but sweet, 2-week rehearsal period and corps dancer Adrienne Carter is getting behind the lens of our Instagram feed! Follow her at #AdrienneMCBphotos for all of the West Side Story Suite action, including a dance off at the gym, some Mambo or Cha Cha, and maybe even a rumble! (Look out for a sneak peek of Balanchine’s Serenade and Concerto Barocco, and Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances too!)

Adrienne Carter

SUMMER DANCER UPDATE: Adrienne shared some fun memories of her 5-week summer vacation, spending time with the family in Georgia!

Here is a shot of Adrienne with her mom at a concert.

And here she is relaxing, just sitting by the campfire. Sounds like a fantastic trip!

Ashley Knox Guests on Instagram!

After a 5-week summer hiatus, the dancers have returned to our studios for 2-weeks of West Side Story Suite rehearsals. Lucky for us, dancer Ashley Knox will be capturing all of the dancing, SINGING and maybe even a rumble on Instagram! As an added perk, répétiteur Jean-Pierre Frohlich from the Robbins Rights Trust will be working with the dancers to make sure they do not miss a beat.  Having worked with Jerome Robbins, himself, Jean-Pierre will help ensure that our production of this timeless, crowd-favorite will be performed as originally intended by Mr. Robbins. We will also be sneaking in a few rehearsals of Balanchine’s Serenade and Concerto Barocco, this week, so follow Ashley on Instagram #AshleyMCBphotos for an exclusive sneak peek!

Ashley Knox

SUMMER DANCER UPDATE: We caught up with Ashely to see how she has been keeping busy during her 5-week summer break. Check out the fun pics from her trips!

Ashley enjoyed spending time in the mountains in Boise, Idaho with former MCB dancer Elizabeth Keller.

Next, she got to see Elizabeth Smedley, who is also a former dancer with MCB, in Phoenix, Arizona during a bittersweet flight layover :-)

Finally, she spent two weeks at home in Michigan with her family and friends.

In Michigan, Ashley celebrated her nephew's first birthday and saw him take his first steps!!

Getting to Work at Miami City Ballet!

Having a dance studio located in the heart of Miami Beach offers several perks — from walking across the street to dig your feet in the sand and gaze at the ocean, to being able to utilize various modes of transportation to get to work. From bicycles, to scooters, to simply strolling down the sidewalk, MCB dancers get to their ballet classes in a unique, South Beach style!

MCB Summer: Michael Breeden in LONDON!

Corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden tells all about his trip to London and Liam Scarlett’s newest creation as part of our ‘MCB Summer’ series.

Michael Breeden

After the rigors and ecstasies of a season at Miami City Ballet have ended, it has become something of a tradition for me to take a trip to Europe to decompress and soak in the art that we don’t often get a chance to see while we are kept busy dancing. I chose London as my destination this year, having become close to the immensely talented choreographer Liam Scarlett during the creation of his ballets Viscera and Euphotic. I would be arriving just in time for the Royal Ballet’s world premiere of his first full-length Hansel and Gretel.

Off to London!

Attending with my fellow MCB dancer Ezra Hurwitz (my partner Neil Marshall was unfortunately unable to come), we did not know what to expect. I knew the ballet was to be performed in the round (which is highly unusual), in a black box theater to an original score by a man used to working in film and television. Liam’s works for MCB have been highly classical in structure and dance vocabulary, so I was impressed and surprised when Hansel and Gretel turned out to be completely outside the the range of what I’d seen Liam do and, indeed, what I’ve seen most anyone do in the realm of ballet.

Set in the 1950′s, Liam explored a dark, seedy world where the protagonists are left to fend for themselves when their alcoholic father and indifferent sexpot stepmother prove to be inept to care for them. Gretel, the older sister, has grown up quickly and protects Hansel whenever necessary. The Witch, rather than being comically ugly or cruel, is a fully fleshed out character, a nightmarish result of child abuse and psychosis, but with a childish demeanor that appeals to Hansel and Gretel and lures them into his lair. Liam also introduces the Sandman as a second villain, goading the Witch to be more cruel, more exacting in his torture.

The second act proves to be as suspenseful and squirm-inducing as a well-constructed Hollywood thriller (think ‘Silence of the Lambs’ or ‘Seven’). Particularly grotesque is the sexual tension that arises between the Witch and Hansel. The seemingly cynical ending implies that Hansel and Gretel are perhaps doomed to end up as dissatisfied with life as their parents, leaving one uneasy. This is a production for adults, through and through.

Seeing Liam expand his range and challenge my own ideas about what is or isn’t appropriate for the ballet stage proved to be a valuable experience. Its the kind I relish having while on break, so I have time to digest it and ruminate about what it means to me about my own approach to art and my own thoughts and opinions on ballet, specifically. It was a perfect way to kick off the summer layoff.

Michael at the Royal Opera House

Ezra and I also made our way to see a West End production and spent time looking at the Turners at the Tate Britain. Being the consumer of art rather than the producer stimulated my brain in a way that made me ready to return to this season with a fresh approach and new perspective. The upcoming season is a full of new challenges, ranging from the thorny, difficult-to-count score in Episodes to the completely foreign dance vocabulary of Nacho Duato in Jardí Tancat.

Though they may seem a world apart from the art I experienced these past few weeks, expanding one’s ideas and preconceived notions about art is always relatable from one piece of art to the next in a way that will hopefully enhance my own work as I prepare for another exciting year at MCB.

A ‘Model’ Day!

You may have seen sisters Leigh-Ann and Sara Esty gracing the pages of various dance magazines this season. Why? Earlier this year, they became the official spokesmodels for Suffolk Pointe’s new leotard line! We caught up with Leigh-Ann to hear about their amazing experience. Here is what she had to say!

Leigh-Ann Esty

When my sister and I received an email from our PR manager about being the new Suffolk Pointe leotard models, we went absolutely nuts! To model for the company that makes our pointe shoes would be the coolest thing ever. After a few weeks of planning, we found ourselves in a stretch limo to the airport after one of our shows in West Palm Beach. Talk about movie star treatment! We flew out at about 5pm to Dallas.

Welcome to Texas!

When we arrived, Keri Suffolk (married to Marc Suffolk, creator of Suffolk pointe shoes) and her assistant Deb greeted us with excitement. We drove over to Spotlight Dance wear, Keri’s store, where we tried on a multitude of Suffolk shoes for the photo shoot.

A girl can't have enough shoes!

By this time, it was 11:00 at night! After being dropped off at our hotel, Sara and I got a quick six hours of sleep. The make-up and hair stylist knocked on our door at 6:30 am! Thankfully, Keri came with Starbucks, so we were all set!

Two hours later, and as glamorous as could be, we drove over to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum. This location was chosen due to the retro 40′s theme of the leotard line. What a cool place! There were airplanes in the museum that were actual WWII fighters, and one of only three left in the world.

Cavanaugh Flight Museum

Sara and I each had about 10 looks to model. I felt like a superstar...the team was so attentive and supportive of what we were doing. I had never modeled before, so I was a little nervous. After each picture, we got to see the preview on the computer, and fix what we didn’t like. It was a lot of work, but so much fun!

Striking a pose

The whole day of shooting took about seven hours. A highlight was meeting Marc ….he was so nice! He actually got to look at our feet and suggested different shoes for us. It was an honor to meet the brains behind it all. Without his creativity, dancing would be very difficult!

We finished the day with a nice dinner with the Suffolks before heading back to the airport. We arrived in Miami at midnight. It was a whirlwind 24 hours! The experience was a gratifying one, and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Official ad from Suffolk Pointe's catalog