LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

How to Revitalize Your Ballet Body

Summer is a time for our dancers to take a break from the stage for some well-deserved relaxation and recovery. However, the work never truly ends. Even during their time off, professional dancers practice healthy habits and various activities to keep their bodies and minds conditioned for the  grueling season to come. Principal dancer Patricia Delgado shares 6 tips that help her rejuvenate during the summer months off.

Ballet Body

Patricia Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Apollo.’

Every year during the summer layoff I set different goals for myself.  When we are working during the season, almost all of my focus is devoted to performing. By the end, I feel accomplished and grateful, but also physically and emotionally drained. The layoff can be a time to explore the physical rest, recovery and cross-training aspect of our work and also a time to find inspiration elsewhere such as teaching, exploring other art forms and traveling!  

Patricia’s Tips: 

Replenish Nutritionally
The layoff is a good time to make sure our muscles heal. One way of doing that is through eating healthy foods. I have had the pleasure of being in New York City during this break and have enjoyed the many delicious ethnic restaurants NYC has to offer, especially Indian and Asian cuisines which have many healing properties in their spices! With the extra energy, I’ve been exploring new recipes, for example, cooking more meats and fish. I’ve also been baking because its very therapeutic to me.  I even took a baking course to sharpen up some of my skills at the Institute of Culinary Education.  It’s great to shift your focus and work your brain in a different way!  

Sleep
I’ve made it a point to sleep in and take naps during this layoff as well. As dancers, we are “on” all the time and expected to perform our best night after night. Sleep is one thing that sometimes gets neglected.  Catching up on sleep has really helped me feel rejuvenated physically and emotionally.

Gyrotonics®
I’ve immersed myself in Gyrotonics® this break!  I have always had a love and respect for the work especially when coming back from injuries, but I never felt like I had enough time and energy during the season to continue digging deeper and understanding the work better.  Working one on one with a trainer has been helpful to address certain habits that sneak into our movement patterns.  I have found new ways of moving that I am excited to apply this season coming up!  

(Gyrotonics? Watch Patricia’s sister Jeanette Delgado in our Gyrotonics® 101 video!)

Travel
I find exploring new cities to be extremely inspiring and invigorating.  New York City is charged with creativity and stimuli!  I saw Cabaret on Broadway for the first time and was blown away.  I even biked the Williamsburg bridge!  Just roaming the streets and exploring new neighborhoods was great fun!  I was fortunate enough to visit Charleston, SC for the opening of Shepard Fairey’s “Power and Glory” art exhibit (Shepard will be collaborating with Justin Peck for his new piece on us next season).  Hearing him explain his process and thoughts on art and life inspired me not only as an artist but as an individual living in our society.  I look forward to exploring more of his work and honored to be a part of this incredible collaboration next season.  In addition, I saw Hubbard Street perform and attended several Chamber music concerts.  I left feeling extremely inspired and wanting to explore some modern and contemporary classes as well as possibly going back to taking piano lessons.

Research
One thing that has become a staple of mine during the layoff has been researching the ballets we will be performing the following season.  I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to researching ballets.  I love learning about the history of the work and watching old videos as well as watching performances of the ballets and how they are danced today by other companies.  The Library for the Performing Arts in NYC has an incredible array of information especially on the Balanchine ballets.  You can watch original ballerinas coach ballerinas of today.  It’s incredible the amount of details that can be passed on to keep these ballets as alive as they were when Balanchine created them!  Watching New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre perform live is always great inspiration! Going to the theater when on layoff is the most fulfilling because I find myself watching as a fan and an admirer.  While in season, there is a personal focus that changes the way in which I enjoy the the theater.

Ballet Class
Of course, taking class is a must!  No matter what extracurricular activities you do, nothing replaces a ballet class!  Its like eating breakfast, NECESSARY!  It’s been great to take class with different teachers around NYC!  Keeping the mind and body awake and taking in different thoughts and ideas teachers have about ballet has been helpful and stimulating!

Catch Patricia onstage when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October! 

Dancer Appearances this Summer!

For most of us, summertime means relaxing vacations, spending time with friends and family, or simply slowing down to relish in the lazy summer heat. For our dancers, summertime means something quite different! While many take advantage of a quick trip for travel or sentimental homecoming, most of them ramp up for a series of guest appearances with other dance companies and teaching gigs at dance studios nationwide. Here is a look at where some of our dancers are performing and teaching this summer!

Thursday, May 1 from 6:15pm-8:15pm:
Rebecca King will be teaching a master class at The Dancers Studio in Stuart, FL. She will also be teaching students sections for George Balanchine’s beloved classic, Serenade. For more information, call 722.692.7125 or visit their Facebook page! We asked Rebecca why she enjoys teaching during her summer months off, and here is what she had to say:

As professional dancers we spend most of our time in the studio.  But, it’s not every day that we get to stand in the front of the studio, essentially switching roles. It may seem that students get the most from their teachers, but in my case, I always find that I learn so much from these young pupils. Watching their thought process and work ethic is not only inspiring to me, but educational as well.  Seeing them take a correction and apply it to their dancing and witnessing a change, is extraordinarily rewarding. I am so looking forward to this collaborative learning experience.  


Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4:
Reyneris Reyes
and Tricia Albertson will be performing Cinderella in Fredrick, MD with the Maryland Regional Ballet. For more information click here.

Christopher Wheeldon

Tricia Albertson and Reyneris Reyes in ‘Polyphonia.’


Monday, May 5:
Patricia Delgado
will be performing at the 4th Annual Dance Against Cancer Benefit in New York City. She is dancing Justin Peck’s Sea Change — a ballet to a touching piano piece by Shubert that he choreographed on Patricia and three dancers from New York City Ballet last summer in Nantucket. Read more about the benefit here.

Patricia has also been guest teaching at the Manhattan Youth Ballet in New York City. Here’s what she had to say about her teaching experience, “Had my first classes this week and had the best time! I love getting to work with young and energetic driven kids who are so enthusiastic and eager for information. It’s so inspiring!”

Dance teacher

Patricia teaching at MCB School’s 2012 Summer Intensive.

Monday, May 5 – Sunday, June 1:
Shimon Ito and Emily Bromberg will make guest appearances together in a series of performances, including Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Peter Pan (May 16-18), a performance of Liam Scarlett’s Viscera with Route 11 Dance Festival in Virginia (May 5-10), and Act III of Sleeping Beauty in New York City with Asaka Ito Ballet School — Shimon’s mother’s dance studio (June 1)! And the best part, Emily’s four-legged friend ‘Puck’ will be joining them for the entire adventure!

Ballet jump

‘Puck’ is used to hanging out with dancers. Here he is with dancer Jovani Furlan from our photo shoot with photographer Jordan Matter.

Friday, May 16 – Sunday, May 18:
Ariel Rose will be returning to his home studio Ballet Academy East for a guest performance with their studio company in Balanchine’s La Source. For more information click here.

Friday, June 6 – Sunday, June 8:
Michael Breeden will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Pennsylvania Ballet at the Kennedy Center. Michael is particularly excited for this performance, as he will be back onstage with several Miami City Ballet and School of American Ballet alum who he hasn’t danced with in years! For more information click here.

Monday, July 14 – Friday, July 18:
Tricia Albertson will be teaching at the Toledo Ballet in Toledo, OH, followed by Renato Penteado, who will also be teaching there from Monday, July 28 – Friday, August 1.

As you see, our dancers are very busy over the next couple of months. We can’t wait until they return to our studios on June 9th to start learning Justin Peck’s new work, which will debut next season! Learn more about the new season here.

 

 

 

 

 

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

You have now heard from dancers Ariel Rose and Nathalia Arja about their favorite moments of the 2013-2014 Season, so to wrap up our series is principal dancer Tricia Albertson!

Dancer

Tricia Albertson

At this point in my career as a dancer, I look to be pushed outside of my comfort zone to discover as much as possible about myself and my art. This season, I was given many chances to do just that! Here are some of the highlights for me.

Jardí Tancat‘ was a highlight because it was a completely different style of dance from anything I’ve ever performed. It was barefoot, weighty and grounded, yet embraced an emotional abandon unlike anything I had ever experienced. Beyond that, there was something so raw about this piece — something that made me feel an intense bond and connection with the people with whom I danced.

Nacho Duato

Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro in Nacho Duato’s ‘Jardi Tancat’

Working with Justin Peck on ‘Chutes and Ladders’ was another highlight of my season. There is something so wonderful about working with the actual choreographer of a piece, especially one who has such a specific vision. Beyond the steps, Justin works with visuals for us to try to create with our bodies, which makes me think outside of what my body is doing. I found myself pushing my body in ways I didn’t know I could and thinking about movement as creating an illusion, a vision, not just a technical expression.

Justin Peck

Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado in Justin Peck’s ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

When I heard we were doing ‘West Side Story Suite my first thought was, “How can I get myself into that ballet?!” ‘West Side Story’ is my favorite musical of all time. Mostly, I loved watching the men of MCB transform into Sharks and Jets and break out their tough sides. I love to be a part of productions that make people transform. I love to be in rehearsal and see that transformation happen gradually. I suspected that ‘West Side Story Suite’ would be one of those works that would really bring the company together, and it did — it was a true team effort.

Jerome Robbins

Miami City Ballet dancers in Jerome Robbins’ ‘West Side Story Suite.”

Polyphonia‘ was my greatest personal challenge and a major highlight of my season. That role was nothing like anything I had ever confronted before. It forced me to grow up a little, to get over certain insecurities and to embrace a part of me that until then I thought I should try to hide.

Christopher Wheeldon

Tricia Albertson and Reyneris Reyes in Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘Polyphonia.’

But really, the highlight of my season and every season for that matter was sharing the stage with so many wonderful artists. As I get older I cherish these bonds more and more. – Tricia

We hope enjoyed hearing from our dancers about their favorite moments of the season! Lookout for a chance to share your top moments of the 2013-2014 Season coming soon…

Find out the ballets we are bringing to the stage next season by clicking here!

A trip to the costume shop for Don Quixote!

The lavish, detailed costumes of Don Quixote are one of this classic ballet’s distinguishing factors. The ballet is filled with a variety of costumes including a traditional matador’s “suit of lights,” named for its rhinestones, beads and gold or silver thread, and his swirling capes to fight off the bulls. What makes these costumes so unique is that they evoke the culture and feeling of Spain — where Marius Petipa danced as an impoverished young man. For #TutuTuesday, we are taking a look at the beautiful tutus in Don Quixote that reflect the utmost elegance of a prima ballerina, but embrace the passion and flair that characterizes the rich, culture of Spain.

Mary Carmen Catoya as Kitri.

Mary Carmen Catoya as Kitri.

As most ballet companies do when performing a full-scale production with multiple sets and costumes, we rented our Don Quixote costumes from American Ballet Theatre. They were designed by famous costume and scenic designer Santo Loquasto. These costumes have been worn by some of the world’s most famous ballerinas including Gillian Murphy, Paloma Herrera, Julie Kent, Cynthia Harvey and even Gelsey Kirkland!

Can you see some of the names?

Can you see the names of the ballerinas?

When the costumes arrived at our studios, our wardrobe team fit them to our dancers and stitched them accordingly so they fit perfectly. The seamstresses also touched up any missing beads or embellishments to ensure that the costumes looked perfect for the stage!

Seamstress XXX works on the lead dream scene ballerina's tutu.

Seamstress Ana Maria Romero works on the lead dream scene ballerina’s tutu.

The beautiful details of Kitri's bodice.

The beautiful details of Kitri’s bodice.

Seamstress Amelia works on another tutu.

Seamstress Amelia Paille works on another tutu.

After an entire month of hard work spread among four seamstresses, one cutter, one draper and one costume artist, these extraordinary costumes are not only complimenting the art form taking place onstage, but are also true works of art themselves.

Costume Arist Maria Morales adds extra plastic to the sides of the fans to ensure that they are strong enough for performing.

Costume Arist Maria Morales adds extra plastic to the sides of the fans to ensure that they are strong enough for performing.

Miami City Ballet extends a special thanks to Eugenia and Robert P. Strauss for their generous support of costumes for the original production of Don Quixote.

Make sure to see these beautiful works of art brought to life onstage during our final program of the season Don Quixote!

Dancing what was lost

When the curtain opens on Program III: Triple Threat next week, Miami City Ballet will become one of only two dance companies and the only American company to perform the Paul Taylor solo in Balanchine’s Episodes since New York City Ballet in 1986. Peter Frame — the last dancer to have performed this role and répétiteur for the solo at MCB — referred to it as a “lost work of art.” Now, 27 years later, dancer Jovani Furlan will be one of only a handful of dancers to perform this role. Here, he tells all about this rare and exciting opportunity.

Jovani Furlan

Jovani Furlan

The solo was choreographed by George Balanchine and was first performed by Paul Taylor in 1959. Twenty-seven years later at New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor reconstructed the solo from what he remembered for then Soloist, Peter Frame, who came to Miami to set it for us. There is a lot of Martha Graham influence to the solo and it’s been very fulfilling to get to work on it.

On the first day of rehearsal Peter entered the studio and said, “there are no counts and you guys are barefoot.” From that moment, I knew that this was going to be a new and exciting challenge. It’s my very first time dancing barefoot and it feels like I have a new body. Having no layers between my foot and the floor gives me a different awareness of my movement. Luckily, I have very thick skin on my feet so I’m not suffering that much considering all of the pirouettes and drags that I have to do in the almost 8-minute-long solo. The costume also makes me feel very vulnerable. I’m dressed in a white unitard all alone on a big stage with a spotlight on me. I don’t think that I’ve ever been that exposed on stage – it’s scary but I’m so thrilled about this opportunity.  

Peter Frame performing the Paul Taylor solo. Photo by Monroe Warshaw.

Peter Frame performing the Paul Taylor solo. Photo by Monroe Warshaw.

The Anton Webern music is very intricate and sounds almost as if there is no connection between the instruments. There is a calm feeling to it at some moments, but the majority sounds very agonizing, making the dancer appear like he’s trying to scream with his body. With no counts, we have to stop and listen to the instruments closely. We have to understand, for example, that when the harp plays, we have to be doing a penché, or when the horn strikes, I have to be putting my leg down to get to the floor. There are many moments where it’s just silent, and those quiet moments are crucial for us to catch up to the following step.

Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Jovani rehearsing the solo. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Peter explained the meaning of the solo — the dancer is a bug, trapped in glass of milk wanting to get out. The poses show the struggle of the bug trying to escape, dragging its body in various shapes and forms. Parts of the solo actually make me feel as if I were stuck to the bottom of a glass glued to the milk — using my hands to move my legs.

What I like about the choreography is that it makes me lose sense of where my body parts are situated. I often find myself trying to create a symmetry that can only be achieved by losing sense of the basic positions — by trying to forget where my arms, head, legs and feet are placed. I go from grabbing my foot in high “developpé à la seconde” to dropping myself on the ground in a split second. There are several of big squats in second position where I literally have to try to drop my hips as low as I can. In the middle of the solo I find myself searching the floor for something. There’s some desperation to it, but I try not to bring too much drama into my interpretation — even though sometimes I get carried away — and let my body and the choreography speak for itself. In so many moments you have to go from a full extension of your whole body to a contraction of your stomach. This is very challenging for me because I tend to be very light and uplifted — to be grounded and make my body contract from the center of my chest is a new for me. 

Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Jovani rehearsing the solo. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

I’ve been discovering different aspects about my dancing that I didn’t know before and it’s been extremely gratifying. Our ballet master Arnold Quintane has a great sense of modern dance and it’s been very helpful working with him daily. Now we are heading towards the last two weeks of rehearsal and soon Peter Frame will be here to give more corrections so we can all look our best on opening night. I can’t wait to listen to the orchestra play the music and have the lights and everything ready to go.

Jovani working with Ballet Master Arnold Quintane.

Jovani working with Ballet Master Arnold Quintane. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Make sure to see this this “lost work of art” be brought back to the stage during Program III: Triple Threat!

WATCH a sneak peek now!

Rebecca King is back on Instagram!

Corps dancer Rebecca King will be snapping pics around the studios as this week’s guest photographer on Instagram.  Follow her #RebeccaMCBphotos to catch dancers Jeanette Delgado and Kleber Rebello preparing for the world premiere of Justin Peck’s new work Chutes and Ladders, which will debut at the New World Center on April 20. Also, stay tuned for a sneak peek at our 2013/14 Season as the dancers already begin rehearsals for Balanchine’s dreamlike masterpiece Serenade.

Rebecca King

FUN FACT: You might already know Rebecca from her blog Tendus Under a Palm Tree. Now, she has created her very own blog logo wear! Check it out!

MCB dancer Jennifer Lauren. Photo by Leigh Esty.