LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

(Under)Water Ballet!

Not only have our dancers been getting back in shape for three weeks of rehearsals ahead with choreographer Justin Peck starting on Monday, but they have also been learning how to hold their breath! Why? For tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot with Fort Lauderdale’s new glossy, high-society magazine Venice!

Interestingly, one of our dancers has a leg up over the others! Corps de ballet dancer Chase Swatosh tells us about his life before dance as a semi-professional swimmer and diver below!

Dancer

Chase Swatosh

I began swimming when I was a baby and was on a competitive club swim team from the age of 8 to 15, when I transferred to diving on my high school dive team. In swimming, I qualified for and competed in many junior olympics swim meets (usually two per year).  One year, two of the relay teams I was on made the top 16 times in the nation — one of which was second in the nation. For the two seasons I dove, I competed in CIF (California Interscholastic Federation – state championship). The latter season I qualified for All American but didn’t quite make the cut. 

I loved both swimming and diving although they’re different. Swimming is probably the most physically challenging type of exercise I’ve ever done (besides dance) which makes it great for conditioning and cross training. It teaches you to have amazing breathing control and to be mentally disciplined to finish races strong, even when your body wants to give up. This, of course, is very applicable to dance, among other things in life as well.

Balanchine

Dubbed as Balanchine’s ‘underwater ballet,’ ‘Ballo della Regina’ appears to take place in a beautiful grotto. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Diving is a different story; it is dynamically physically demanding but not nearly as intensive as swimming or dance. Having also been something of a gymnast (mostly tumbling) diving was a natural progression for me. Flexibility and body awareness from dance and gymnastics helped me a lot in diving. It’s  probably the most fun activity I’ve ever done. 

My philosophy about cross training is that anytime you learn a new sport or activity, you are learning to use your body in a new way. I think dance — or ballet specifically — is the pinnacle of physical activities where body awareness is absolutely crucial. So anytime I learn a different way to use my body, even if it’s totally contrary to ballet technique, that information becomes extremely helpful and in some way applicable to dance. – Chase

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for some fun behind-the-scenes shots of tomorrow’s underwater photo shoot! 

SEE ALSO:
Principal dancer Patricia Delgado’s summer cross training tips!

Mr’ “B’s” Underwater Ballet – Ballo della Regina

Becoming a Triple Threat – ACT

The process of preparing for West Side Story Suite has been entirely unique, presenting a several new challenges for our dancers. Not only must they master the jazzy, Broadway style of Jerome Robbins’ choreography, but they also must learn to act and sing in front of a live audience! Each week before the Company opens in a new theater, look out for a new video featuring our dancers’ pursuit to become true Triple Threats!

Read more about our West Side Story Suite premiere in The Miami Herald and learn about Balanchine’s Episodes — another new work in Program III — in our blog post from dancer Jovani Furlan.

For more information and tickets on on Program III: Triple Threat click here!

Mastering the Duato Style

Last week, répétiteur and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre Kevin Irving visited our studios to teach our dancers Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat. This profoundly Spanish, soulful work challenged our dancers to move differently, breaking free from their typical ballet vocabulary. Dancer Chase Swatosh describes his experience learning Duato’s unique choreography below!

Chase Swatosh

Chase Swatosh

Rehearsing Jardí Tancat and trying to learn Nacho Duato’s distinctive movement vocabulary was an awesome experience. I feel like every time I learn a new dance style, a new technique, or a new physical activity I gain a deeper knowledge about my own physicality and the amazing multitude of ways in which our bodies can move. There were many challenges for me in learning this new style of movement that is so different from classical technique. The movement in Jardí Tancat is characterized by parallel positions, a low center of gravity, fluidity, and gestures of sowing seeds, harvesting, and yearning for raindrops (Jardí Tancat means “enclosed garden” in Catalan). The movement has a heaviness to it, requiring the dancers to stay low to the ground and use the momentum of their body weight and head to link steps together, instead of maintaining an upright center the whole time. This can be disorienting to the dancer in certain moments, but perfectly necessary in order to achieve the right movement quality that creates the atmosphere of Jardí Tancat. We were fortunate to have the ins and outs of this piece taught to us patiently and articulately by répétiteur Kevin Irving. He was a pleasure to work with and really gave us a sense of the spirit of Jardí Tancat and the purpose behind the movement. I can’t wait to perform this piece and share it with our audience as part of an incredible Program II. I hope that you will get as much out of it as I do!

Chase getting partnering tips from Kevin Irving

Chase getting partnering tips from Kevin Irving

Renan Cerdeiro and Jeanette Delgado in Jardi Tancat.

Renan Cerdeiro and Jeanette Delgado in Jardi Tancat.

Catch Chase and the rest of our dancers perform this work live during Program II: See the Music!

Arsht Center: January 10-12
Broward Center: January 24-26
Kravis Center: January 31-February 2

GET TICKETS NOW!

‘Polyphonia’ from Behind the Lens

It’s another Monday at Miami City Ballet and we are kicking off the week with the arrival of Répétiteur Jason Fowler, who will be teaching the company Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia. Corps de ballet dancer Zoe Zien will bring you inside our studios as she takes over our Instagram feed during the 7-day rehearsal process.  Follow her #ZoeMCBphotos as she documents the company’s journey to the premiere of Polyphonia during Program I: First Ventures.

Zoe Zien

Polyphonia is considered Christopher Wheeldon’s breakthrough contemporary work.  After his hauntingly beautiful Liturgy pas de deux, Polyphonia will be the second Wheeldon work that MCB adds to its repetoire. The ballet adds six more dancers to the stage, who dance together as a group as the work opens, then transitions into a series of duets and solos that evoke distinct character and flair — we can’t wait to see how our dancers incorporate their unique personalities into the choreography! Here to teach it all is one of the original cast members from the 2001 New York City Ballet world premiere — Jason Fowler. Jason will help the dancers match their movement to the intense piano music of György Ligeti, and ensure that no choreographic detail is lost in preparation for our 2013-2014 Season opening in October, when the ballet premieres during Program I: First Ventures.

Dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we reveal interesting facts about Polyphonia during the rehearsal process. Watch the dancers in action as Zoe captures Polyphonia and daily MCB life on Instagram!

Check out our latest Pinterest board for a visual journey through Polyphonia.

Flexible subscription packages and single tickets to Polyphonia are on sale now as part of Program I: First Ventures.
Photo credits:
Headshot © Gio Alma.
Miami City Ballet dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh in Polyphonia. Photo © Gio Alma.

From Our Dancers to YOU!

We asked our dancers what ballets they were most excited about performing for Program III: The Masters.  Here is what they said!

Leigh-Ann Esty

Skyler Lubin

Chase Swatosh

Kleber Rebello

See these dancers bring their favorite ballets to life when they perform them LIVE during Program III: The Masters!

Broward Center: Mar. 1-3

Adrienne Arsht Center: Mar. 8-10