Sing, Dance, Act on Instagram!

Program III: Triple Threat is finally here! Since the moment our dancers, staff, donors and audience members learned that we would be performing West Side Story Suite, we have not be able to contain our excitement. This ballet is pushing the artistic boundaries of both our dancers and audiences and we cannot wait to see what happens when the curtain rises this Valentine’s Day! Here to capture our dancers making their final preparations before the big premiere on Instagram is Principal Soloist Callie Manning. Follow her at #CallieMCBPhotos.

Callie Manning

Callie Manning

In some ways we have been preparing for West Side Story for almost an entire year —  from the photo shoot last January to the staging in June, and throughout the season, the excitement in our studios has only been building! Hopefully this week I can give everyone an inside peek at the final days before the premiere, the opening night, and the fabulous gala celebration afterwards. - Callie

Calllie and dancers posing for West Side Story Suite.

Calllie and dancers posing for West Side Story Suite.

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how the above image was created during last season’s photo shoot. 

Learn more about our West Side Story Suite premiere by checking out this preview from The Miami Herald!

From Our Dancers to YOU!

We can’t believe that its already our final program of the 2012-2013 Season!  While we feel like the year has just flown by, many of us have been anxiously awaiting the opening of Program IV: Broadway and Balletespecially our dancers who can’t wait to get onstage.  Find out why!

Emily Bromberg

Emily Bromberg, Corps de Ballet, on Program IV: Broadway and Ballet – I’ve been looking forward to Program IV since last July [2012] when we started rehearsing for both ballets!  I was overjoyed when I saw that I would be learning the “mauve” girl in Dances at a Gathering.  For me, this part has a lot of meaning. From what I understand, her character is portrayed as a bit internal and full of thought.  Finding my own way of portraying this has been my favorite part of the rehearsal process because everyday I get to go into the studio and experiment with how I want to feel, while dancing each movement.  This experimentation along with the personal molding of each of the difficult, but liberating steps is such a fulfilling process.  I couldn’t look more forward to performing such a role!  Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is so much fun to perform with the audience! We use their energy, applause and reactions to fuel our every step!  I’m happy to get the chance to be a part of it!

Bradley Dunlap

Bradley Dunlap, Corps de Ballet, on George Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue –  For the first time I am performing a pre-dominantly, comically-driven “character” role.  This new experience has given me a chance to take a break from my technique and just have fun. Without Slaughter I wouldn’t have realized the satisfaction of an audience responding to my work with laughter.

Callie Manning

Callie Manning, Principal Soloist, on Program IV: Broadway and Ballet – Personally, this program is like visiting old friends.  I’ve performed in both Dances at a Gathering and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue before and have very fond memories of both.  They are roles I love and can’t wait to dance them again. The part I do in Dances, “Green Girl”, is a really special part to me.  She’s a little cooky, flirtatious, reminiscent and quite complex.  I love diving into her character and discovering new things about her.  Every performance I do brings out something different.  Slaughter satisfies me in a completely different way.  Don’t tell anyone, but I always secretly wanted to be a Fosse dancer on Broadway.  The “Strip Tease Girl” in Slaughter, is the epitome of Broadway — high kicks, jazz hands and all!

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, Principal, on Program IV: Broadway and BalletSlaughter on Tenth Avenue and Dances at a Gathering are ballets that are very dear to me since I’ve had the great opportunity to “grow into” my roles in both — having danced them since the company premiered them years ago.  The “Striptease Girl” in Slaughter is such fun to dance onstage.  I learned it back when it was staged for us by Susan Hendl, and it was very different than anything I had yet danced with MCB – almost more Broadway than ballet!  It was a great chance to let go, have fun and even show a little of my wild side in the jazzy, upbeat second pas de deux.  It was especially fun to dance years later with Carlos [Guerra] as the “Hoofer”!

Dances is another ballet that I learned from Ms. Hendl back when she staged it for the company.  I was originally cast, fittingly, as the “Mauve” girl – a role that seems, to me, much like the older sister.  She is a bit more serious, pensive and mature than the pink, blue and yellow girls.  After dancing that role for years, it seems natural to now move on and transition into the role of the “Green” girl, who has an unusual cameo sort of part in the ballet.  Her solo, originally choreographed for Violette Verdy, is one that portrays an older, nostalgic, maybe even retired dancer reflecting on the joys of her career as a great ballerina.  Though I’m not not yet retired (I’m confident I have more than a few good dancing years left in me), I’m certainly at a point in my career where I can identify with the idea of “reflection”.  With each step of the solo I can really bring myself back to a special moment I had onstage — engaging the audience or getting lost in the steps, the music, the lights and the special perfume of a  ballet. With a flick of the foot, the solo ends with the “Green” girl simply walking offstage with a unique satisfaction.  She seems very proud of what she has accomplished …. not necessarily in that specific moment, but in general throughout her career.  That is something I can definitely relate to.

See Emily, Bradley, Callie and Jennifer  in our final program of the season Program IV: Broadway and Ballet!

Kravis Center: April 5-7
Broward Center: April 26-27
Adrienne Arsht Center: May 3-5

Callie Manning captures Miami Fashion Week on Instagram!

Principal Soloist Callie Manning is not only practicing her tendus and pliés this week, but she is also getting ready to strut her stuff down the catwalk during Miami Fashion Week!  Lucky for us, she will be bringing us all of the action on Instagram as this week’s guest photographer! #CallieMCBPhotos

Callie Manning

Callie, along with dancers Suzanne Limbrunner and Adriana Pierce will be transformed into professional fashionistas, when they hit the catwalk for designer Robin Fleming’s fashion show.  They will model the ballet inspired DUCHESA Couture line for Fleming’s closing collection on Friday, March 22, at 10:00 p.m., at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  Work it ladies!

Headshot © Gio Alma

Callie Manning Guests on Instagram

Principal soloist Callie Manning will be behind the Instagram lens this week!
Make sure to follow us so you don’t miss a beat!

© Gio Alma

Fun fact about Callie: she was recently photographed for The Ballerina Project (as was fellow dancer Nicole Stalker)!
Stunning photos of Callie were taken on South Beach. The image below happens to be one of our favorites!


As Program IV begins, we can’t help but look ahead to all the exciting things the 2012-2013 season will bring. We are especially excited to announce the dancers who have been promoted for the new season!

Please join us in congratulations the following dancers!

Promoted to Principal Soloist:

Callie Manning in In The Upper Room © Choreography by Twyla Tharp. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Kleber Rebello in La Sonnambula. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.
Renan Cerdeiro in Square Dance. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Kyle Froman.

Promoted to Corps de Ballet:
Chloe Freytag
Kara White
Lexie Overholt

Giselle: “The Wilis”

The Wilis have to work extra hard on their appearance before going on stage to take revenge on men in the forest and making them dance to their deaths! Act two of Giselle requires special hair and makeup, and some of the girls have just a 20-minute intermission to get it all done! Corps member Suzanne Limbrunner talked to some of the Wilis while they were getting ready for show time.

There is still one more chance to see Giselle! MCB performs the romantic classic this weekend at Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Ritualistic Preparation

Post by Callie Manning, Soloist

Pointe shoes to a dancer are like paint brushes to an artist. They are the key instruments we use to create our art. Our shoes are hand made and custom ordered specifically to our liking. Most of the Miami City Ballet dancers wear a brand of shoes called Freed, which are made in London. Each cobbler, or “maker,” makes their shoe slightly different and there are over 20 to choose from. Then there are different lengths, widths and degrees of hardness. The shape of the shoe can even further be adjusted down to 1/8 of an inch! Once you find the right maker and adjust the shoes to be made just right, they are not nearly ready to wear upon arrival.

Every dancer prepares their shoes differently. It can take years of trial and error to find what works best for you. Some of my tricks include: using super glue to make my pointe shoes EXTRA hard and last longer; stitching around the tips (this is called “darning”) to make a nice flat platform; and I also sew an inch of elastic into each ribbon to give them a little stretch. When we are performing I can go through roughly 2-4 pairs per week (even after adding 8 tubes of super glue per pair). It can sometimes take me up to 45 minutes from start to finish to prepare my shoes.

The way we prepare our pointe shoes is extremely important. I would never dare to forget a step or my shoes would be almost un-wearable.  Many dancers will agree with me that if your shoes are bad, your performance will be bad, too. Trust me, we do everything we can to keep that from happening!

Here is an inside look at my ritualistic preparation process!

Giving Thanks

Post by Callie Manning, Soloist

It’s that time of year when everyone takes time to reflect on the things in our lives we appreciate and are truly thankful for. I personally feel very lucky to be a dancer for Miami City Ballet, a unique company where everyone loves and supports each other. The family atmosphere here is something I have learned is not easily found elsewhere and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Of course, I am extremely thankful to have a husband who is my best friend. He can bring me to tears with laughter, keeps me on track and COOKS!!! (I clean, of course.) Then there are always the little things I couldn’t live without: our cat Digit and his morning cuddles, masking tape for my toes, the amazing AVEDA hair stick (which was discontinued but I stocked up by buying 10 of them on Ebay), Peanut Butter M&M’s at the theatre and Superglue to make my pointe shoes last longer than an hour!! As ballet dancers and artists, we are all thankful that we are able to do the one thing in life we are most passionate about: DANCE! (And get paid for it!) All the dancers are eternally grateful to have family and friends who have supported and encouraged us over the years. We are also thankful to the donors and patrons who love the ballet as much as we do!!

Life is full of so many things to be thankful for. Whether they are large or small, serious or silly, it’s about the joy they bring that we are thankful for! I took a moment to talk with all the dancers to find out some of the things they feel make their lives just that much better. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! –Callie Manning (Bramaz)

“All of my baking tools, so that I can bake fun desserts for all my friends and family!” -Patricia Delgado

“Liza Minnelli!” -Adriana Pierce

“My new Miami City Ballet family!” -Maya Collins

“That my ‘94 Volvo is still running! Hahahaha! And that Emily Bromberg lent me her power drill” -Suzanne Limbrunner

“I am thankful for my loving family and boyfriend!” -Christie Sciturro

“Diet Coke and the hard to find individually wrapped enlarged Sour Patch Kids!” -Ezra Hurwitz

“I am thankful that I have come to a point in my life where I can really appreciate all the good things I have and that I no longer take things for granted.” -Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez

“I am thankful for Wednesdays, the happiest day on earth, payday and cheeseburgers for 59 cents at McDonalds!…. and of course my friends! ” -Jovani Furlan

“I am really thankful to have been welcomed into the Company by everybody with such warm hearts! Cheers!” -Jonathan Jab

“I’m thankful for days off so I can spend time with Andrei, going to the movies and getting a warm brownie sundae at Ghirardelli!” -Nathalia Arja

“I am thankful for days off because I don’t have to wear a dance belt!” –Andrei Chagas

“I am thankful for physical therapy!” –Leigh-Ann Esty

“I am thankful when it is not raining.” -Kleber Rebello

“I am thankful for a roof over my head and for my dog, Charlotte!” –Sara Esty

“I am thankful for my life and everything I have.” –Renan Cerdeiro

“I am thankful for the new bagel place on Fifth Street! The bagels taste like they are from New York, because they import the water from Brooklyn.” –Zoe Zien

“I am thankful for my new Nespresso machine; it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning!” –Emily Bromberg

“I am so thankful to have my little angel with me (his daughter Angelica)… and for free days!” -Reyneris Reyes

“DECOBIKES!!! And for their multiple convenient locations. And for the DecoBike app on my iPhone, which I am also very thankful for!” –Ashley Knox

“I am thankful for the free coffee at MCB – it doesn’t quite match up to the cafés in Paris, but it gets the job done!” –Chase Swatosh

“I am thankful for the opportunity to see Chase do Mother Commedia (in The Nutcracker)!!” -Shimon Ito

“Warm winters!” –Chloe Freytag

“I am thankful for my new puppy!” -Suzette Logue

“I am thankful for having a husband who can make me laugh and remember not to always take myself so seriously.” –Jennifer Kronenberg

“I am especially thankful for the amazing people I work with. Every year I feel more and more lucky to be a part of this family.” -Rebecca King

“I am thankful for my first ever SURPRISE birthday party last week!” –Jeanette Delgado

“The new cartilage in my knee!” –Nicole Stalker

“I am thankful for my wig!! Because after ALL the shows, it hasn’t fallen off!!!…(yet)” -Renato Penteado

“I’m thankful for Yardbird Southern Table and Bar because it reminds me of home!” -Jennifer Lauren

“Empanadas!” –Bradley Dunlap

“To have a balcony in my new apartment, so I can go out and enjoy the Miami sunshine whenever I’m home!” –Skyler Lubin

“I’m thankful for Swiss Rolls, chips and my beautiful family and friends!” –Helen Ruiz

“I’m thankful that I found and married my better half!!!…and for my iPhone, (shhh, don’t tell my mother-in-law ;o).” –Didier Bramaz

“I’m thankful to be in a place that excites and motivates me to dance and for all my amazing co-workers!” –Lexie Overholt

A Special Relationship

Dancers have often expressed how amazing it is to have live music during performances again! There’s a special relationship that develops between the dancers and the orchestra that makes a world of difference, not only for the performers but for the audience as well. It changes everything. Some of the dancers shared with us some tidbits on this special relationship.

This was all made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Knight Arts Challenge. The 2011 challenge is already underway. You too can see your ideas come to life. The Knight Arts Challenge is accepting applications from organizations or individuals! Click here to apply. Hurry, the deadline is tomorrow, March 2.

Meet the Dancers – Callie Manning

Performing the role of "Coffee" in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Choreography by George Balanchine © The Balanchine Trust.

Newlywed fun with my husband Didier.