LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

MCB Dancers Take Italy

It’s been a couple of weeks since our dancers wrapped up rehearsals with choreographer Justin Peck. Since then, they’ve all been enjoying some additional time off this summer, getting plenty of much-needed rest and relaxation. But as we’ve learned quite well, it’s rarely all play and no work for our dancers. In fact, we recently caught up with principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro, who, earlier this month, performed at the Florence Dance Festival at the National Museum of Bargello in Italy–the same museum that houses Donatello’s famous Statue of David.

The show, titled Stars of American Ballet, featured Tricia and Renan, along with principal couples from New York City Ballet and Boston Ballet.

National Museum of Bargello in Italy. Photo courtesy of Tricia Albertson & Renan Cerdeiro.

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Principal dancers Tricia Albertson and Renan Cerdeiro.

“It was set up in an outside courtyard with sculptures surrounding–so beautiful,” Tricia told us. “Renan and I performed excerpts from ApolloChutes and Ladders, and Who Cares?.” After the performance, the two took some time to take in the sights of Italy, along with fellow MCB dancer Jovani Furlan. Check out these gorgeous photos.

Tricia, Jovani and Renan enjoy a gondola ride.

Tricia, Renan and Jovani pose for a photo.

Thank you to Tricia, Renan and Jovani for sharing your experience with us!

Dancers Are Back!

Our dancers have returned to the studios after their 5-week break to start learning a brand new ballet by choreographer Justin Peck. This is Justin’s second ballet for MCB, which will premiere during our final program of the 2014-2015 Season in March. His new work calls for a large cast of dancers and scenery by the popular street artist Shepard Fairey – best known for his work on the Obama Hope poster and also for his large murals adorning local streets and establishments such as the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar. To capture the creation process behind his new work on our Instagram feed is corps de ballet dancer Emily Bromberg! Follow her at #EmilyMCBphotos to get an intimate look at Justin making choreographic magic!

Dancer

Emily Bromberg

Since the end of our 2013-2014 Season I have kept myself busy by guest performing in Rhode Island, Virginia and New York.  With all of these great guest performing opportunities the last two months, I am ready to start our 2014-2015 Season!

Tinker Bell

Miami City Ballet dancer Emily Bromberg as ‘Tinker Bell’ in Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Jorden Morris’s ‘Peter Pan.’ Photo by A. Cemal Ekin/keptlight.com.

I will be taking over Miami City Ballet’s Instagram feed to share some sneak peaks of Justin Peck’s new ballet, set specifically on MCB dancers! I knew I liked Justin’s work when I first saw Chutes and Ladders,’ but I knew I loved his work when I attended our ‘Open Barre’ performances this Spring. His calm demeanor and insistence on portraying a specific idea using not only the bodies of his dancers, but also the psychological and emotional tools we all carry, inspired me a great deal! I look forward to the next few weeks to watching him create a new piece that I’m sure will be a must see for all of our audiences! – Emily


SEE ALSO: 

Get to Know Choreographer Justin Peck! 

More photos by A. Cemal Ekin: keptlight.com

Summer on Instagram

Our dancers have been everywhere this summer, making guest appearances and holding various teaching gigs at dance companies and studios across the country. This weekend, we are so lucky to have corps de ballet dancer Rebecca King taking over our Instagram feed to get an inside look at what she and our other dancers are up to this summer. Follow her at #RebeccaMCBphotos and check out what she has planned for her ‘gram-worthy’ weekend in NYC below!

Dancer

Rebecca King

Right now, we are getting close to the end of our first summer layoff. These weeks off in the summer are extremely important for us. After 40-plus straight weeks of dancing 7 days a week during our season, this time to rest and recover is essential as we are able to take time to treat nagging injuries and cross-train. While we continue to work to strengthen our worn down bodies from a long season, we also find some time to travel! This weekend I will be joining fellow MCB dancers in a visit to New York City.

We haven’t all been together in quite sometime now, so we are all very excited to enjoy the city together. On Saturday night we are thrilled to be attending New York City Ballet’s performance of Justin Peck’s new ballet “Everywhere We Go.” This will be especially exciting for us as Justin will be joining us in Miami when we return to work on June 9th to start his new ballet set to premier during the 2014-2015 Season in Program IV: Points of Departure. I have only seen the Pas de Deux that Justin choreographed for MCB a couple of seasons ago, so I can’t wait to get another preview of what is to come for MCB!

I am so looking forward to enjoying time with great friends and I hope you enjoy following our adventures through Instagram! – Rebecca

 Check out this preview of Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go for New York City Ballet. 

MCB School Promotions!

In March, news broke that Miami City Ballet School students Ellen Grocki and Alex Manning had been invited to join the company. JUST IN —  two more students from MCB School are slated to join the professional ranks of the company! We are proud to announce that Raechel Sparreo and Émilien Rivoire will be joining MCB as corps de ballet members when the 2014-2015 Season opens in October. Read about each dancer’s reaction to the exciting news below!

WECOME TO MCB RAECHEL SPARREO!

Balanchine

Raechel Sparreo in MCB School’s performance of Balanchine’s ‘Serenade.’ Photo by Mitchell Zachs/MagicalPhotos.com

I am from Buffalo Grove, Illinois. I started ballet when I was 3 at Bataille Academy of Danse. At 11 years old, I began training at Faubourg School of Ballet under Watmora Casey, Tatyana Mazur, Ernesto Quenedit, Victor Alexander and Maray Gutierrez. I also trained at Fox Ballet with Terry Fox. I first came to Miami City Ballet School in 2010 for the 5-Week Summer Intensive. I loved it so much that I returned the following summer. At the end of the intensive, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend Miami City Ballet School for the 2011-2012 School- Year Program. I had unforgettable experiences that year and the next, performing not only with the school, but also with the company in the Nutcracker, Giselle, and Coppélia. This year, my third year with the school, I was very fortunate to study with MCB as a student apprentice.

The day I found out I was being promoted, the other students and I had end-of-year conferences with Ms. Callaghan and our teachers. My classmates and I had similar meetings in December in which we discussed our futures and were given advice on our dancing, so I was expecting something identical. When Ms. Callaghan gave me the news, I immediately burst into tears of joy! Émilien’s meeting was actually right after mine and he was the first person I told. I then called my mom to give her the big news to which she replied “Shut up!” and cried too.  When Emilien came out of his meeting and told me that he had received the same news, we hugged and cried! I cannot wait for this coming season and to live my dream! -Raechel

WELCOME TO MCB ÉMILIEN RIVOIRE!

Dance Student

Recently promoted corps de ballet member Emilien Rivoire.

I come from Lille, a city in Northern France. I started ballet when I was 8 at the Ballet du Nord of Roubaix and the Conservatory of Lille. When I was 12, I studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School for a year. I later studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Music et de Danse de Paris until I was 16. In 2011, I attended the School of American Ballet summer intensive and was invited to stay for the year round program. I first came to Miami City Ballet School for the 2013 summer course. During the last week of the program, I was offered a position as a student apprentice with the Miami City Ballet.

My teachers told me about my contract during our end of the year meetings. At first my jaw dropped, I couldn’t believe it! After all these years of training I finally reached my goal. I was so exited I immediately called my mom to tell her the great news. I’m really proud to be part of the MCB Family! - Émilie

Read about our Company Promotions here!

Dancers’ Picks of Next Season

Our 2013-2014 Season has just come to a close, but we are already gearing up for the new season ahead! Our dancers return to the studios on June 9th to begin learning next season’s ballets, starting with up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck’s new work with street artist Shepard Fairey! Below, corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden shares his excitement about the ballets he can’t wait to perform.

Dancer

Michael Breeden

As one season comes to a finish and we reflect on the transcendent moments experienced onstage, it’s impossible for us dancers to not imagine all that’s in store next year. With the 2014-2015 Season beginning in June, we don’t have to wait too long before we get our hands on the most anticipated works of the year.

For me, there are some obvious highlights. Two great Balanchine works, ‘Symphony in Three Movements’ and ‘Allegro Brillante’, are back in the repertoire for the first time since 2009. Though the two works came from one great mind, they are alike only in the fact that they are brilliant works set to genius compositions (‘Allegro’ to music by Tchaikovsky, and ‘Symphony in Three’ to music by Stravinsky). ‘Allegro’ is Balanchine’s full-out essay on classicism as captured in 12 minutes. ‘Symphony in 3′ is a massive work with kaleidoscopic formations utilizing the entire company, as the dance echoes the driving score. I’ve danced both of these works before and every time they come back, I love them more. Balanchine’s genius continually reveals itself with each performance to both dancers and audience members, and it’s an experience I never take for granted.

Balanchine

Miami City Ballet dancers in Symphony in Three Movements. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Joe Gato.

Dancer

Jeanette Delgado in Allegro Brillante. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexandre Dufaur.

Balanchine works are a company staple that I always looks forward to, but choreography tailor made for the company is less frequent. The ballet I’m looking forward to most next season is a world premiere by Justin Peck, appearing during Program IV: Points of Departure. The company has developed a passion for new choreography in the past years, with choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett making works on us. Justin’s new work promises to fulfill its dancers and audiences in the same way those great choreographers did. His ballets abound with fresh, exciting and innovative use of the corps and so many visually striking dance images that repeated viewings are practically a must. He has a musical response that actually enhances the score, rather than uses it for effect. Each step in his works unfolds naturally, with fluidity, grace and style.

Choreography

Justin Peck works with dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado on his ballet ‘Chutes and Ladders.’ Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Full disclosure: Justin and I were suite mates at the School of American Ballet ten years ago, so it may be tempting to accuse me of bias. While I certainly enjoy his success as a friend and am happy to see him achieve so much at such a young age, I think a single viewing of one of his works is enough to know that bias has nothing to do with appreciating true talent. The wealth of knowledge and creativity that Justin has as a dance maker is just starting to be explored, and I couldn’t be more excited that the next step will be with Miami City Ballet.

Read the New York Time’s review of Justin Peck’s most recent work for New York City Ballet — Everywhere We Go. Discover the other ballets we are performing next season here and lookout for Michael onstage!

Summertime on Instagram

With their summer downtime, our dancers have split from Miami and spread out all over the world! The latest dancer update comes from Joinville, Brazil, where corps de ballet dancer Jovani Furlan takes over our Instagram feed this week. Follow Jovani at #JovaniMCBphotos for a snapshot of his life back in Brazil! 

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Jovani Furlan

When I’m in Brazil, I’ll be taking class at my old ballet school, The Bolshoi Theater School in Brazil – the only affiliate of the Bolshoi Theater of Moscow. I’m also doing some physical therapy,  working out, spending a lot of time with the family, and enjoying the beaches around my state! - Jovani

Balanchine

Jovani Furlan in Balanchine’s ‘Episodes.’

Read more posts from Jovani here!

Excited about next season? Check out the ballets that we will be working on this summer, when our dancers return to the studio on June 9th!

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

Our final performance of Don Quixote last weekend was the perfect closing to another fantastic season of dance. Now that you have heard dancer Ariel Rose’s top moments of the 2013-2014 Season, we continue to reflect on this momentous year with our next post from recently promoted Soloist Nathalia Arja.

Dancer

Nathalia Arja

This season was extremely challenging for me. Not only was I given many difficult parts, but to also learn, rehearse and maintain them all at the same time throughout the season proved to be a marathon of stamina. There were many times that I felt as if my body had no more to give. It was in these moments that it was often difficult to muster up the strength from inside to run another ballet or do a second performance in a day.

Ratmansky

Nathalia Arja in Alexei Ratmansky’s ‘Symphonic Dances’

Looking back at this season, I feel like I have grown and matured through the challenges I have had to face. I feel very privileged to have worked on all these ballets and with the repetiteurs who staged them. Despite each ballet being very unique, I loved dancing every one of them.

Balanchine

Nathalia Arja and Renan Cerdeiro in Balanchine’s ‘Ballo della Regina’

I am really looking forward to next season. Despite being promoted to soloist this year, nothing for me will change. The process and journey of learning, exploring and becoming a better dancer and a more developed artist never ends and although this season may have been a large step for me, at the end of the day it is still just another stepping stone on the career path of a ballet dancer. - Nathalia

Join Nathalia and the rest of our dancers on next season’s journey ! More information on the ballets being performed here!

Summertime on Instagram

We have officially completed our 2013-2014 Season of dance and now it’s time to unwind and relax. So what do our dancers do in their free time? Find out by following them on our Instagram feed!

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Patricia Delgado

Our first Instagram guest of the summer is principal dancer Patricia Delgado! Patricia has already made her way up to the Big Apple to join up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck at the Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of his documentary Ballet 422. Ballet 422 goes behind-the-scenes of the choreographic process for his work for New York City Ballet, Paz de la Jolla. (Watch a sneak peek of the documentary here). Patricia will make sure you catch all of the action at the festival and help you get to know this exceptionally talented, young choreographer, who will be creating a new work for us next season! To see what NYC has in store for Patricia, follow her at #PatriciaMCBphotos!

Choreography

Justin Peck works with dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado on his ballet ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

Ballet

Miami City Ballet dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado in ‘Chutes and Ladders.’

Read about the fun our dancers had last summer! Click here.

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

With the opening of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center tomorrow, comes the closing of another season of extraordinary dance. Each ballet has created a unique experience on our journey to learn more about this rich, multifaceted art form. From the grounded, lyrical movements of Jardí Tancat to the geometric, sharp choreography of Polyphonia; from the alluring dance in the moonlight of Balanchine’s Serenade, to his atonal, yet unexpectedly harmonious Episodes; and from the ‘West Side Story’ we fell in love with years ago, to a story we are still discovering with Symphonic Dances — this season has pushed the boundaries of our audiences and dancers, alike.

As the season quickly comes to a close, dancers Ariel RoseTricia Albertson and Nathalia Arja will share their favorite moments of 2013-2014 and what this year has meant to them. First up, is this week’s Instagram guest and corps de ballet dancer Ariel Rose.

Dancer

Ariel Rose

This season has been quite a memorable one  for me. It was certainly a year in which many things came together both on and off the stage. I believe that this season has been one of tremendous growth, and despite it being my first year in Miami, it feels like more than a year’s work has been accomplished. Joining a new company is always difficult. If one is a little insecure and slightly extra anxious like I am, it can be even more difficult to make a first impression that reflects one’s true identity. There is always a slight need to prove yourself, despite past professional experience. 

To be honest, starting with ‘Polyphonia’ was a bit of a heart attack. Not only is it not a ‘corps de ballet’ work, but it is a very complex piece by none other than Christopher Wheeldon — one of the most well known choreographers in the world, who actually ended up coming in person to oversee a rehearsal or two right before Program I: First Ventures opened! I believe that this experience pushed the dancers (especially the younger, less experienced ones like myself) to grow and mature in terms of our confidence, style and artistry.

Christopher Wheeldon

MCB dancers in ‘Polyphonia.’

I believe another highlight of this season was Nacho Duato’s ‘Jardí Tancat’.  Despite this piece’s earthly and grounded beauty in its presentation, the process of learning and embodying that manner of dancing was another experience that put us dancers in a somewhat uncomfortable place. There were often struggles in terms of strength, stamina, coordination and achieving the right style and ‘look,’ not to mention all the while maintaining our more classical repertoire. I think our struggles as a ‘clan’ of sorts during this process united us more intimately, which in turn gave everyone the support they needed to get through it successfully. Perhaps the irony of this effect was that it bled onto the stage in our portrayal of farmers in the fields of Catalonia, struggling wearily together under the scorching sun, yet never once giving up because of this supportive network we created between one another.

Jardi Tancat

Ariel Rose and Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg in Jardi Tancat

Program III: Triple Threat was incredibly rich in history. Balanchine’s Episodes is a landmark of sorts. It is a work that perhaps although misshapen, archaic and somewhat absent of lyrical sense, makes one pay even more attention to detail and visual imagery. I believe that this program, along with the company’a premiere of West Side Story Suite took us through ballets that our artistic staff and the répétiteurs had very close ties with. I felt that the repertoire on this particular program was very explicitly passed down to us dancers and that despite our achievement in performing these works, we were all mentally enlightened as well.

West Side Story

MCB dancers in West Side Story Suite

Now at the end of the season, Don Quixote feels more celebratory than anything else. Despite people’s varying opinions on the classic ballet itself, it is a somewhat fitting close to this season as we all stand on stage together during the act three wedding pas de deux, watching Basilio and Kitri accomplish the dynamic and difficult choreography. It is moments like these, standing and admiring onstage, that I feel connected. I feel part of something larger than myself. I don’t feel like it’s about my individual ballet career. I feel that we are accomplishing something together. As our director and leader Lourdes Lopez has expressed many times throughout this season, these programs have truly culminated in a journey, not just allegorically but in reality as well. A lot has been accomplished this year —  not just terms of great performances, but also in personal growth and development. I believe what is even more exciting for the audience than seeing great performances is seeing the artists themselves evolve and develop from one season or program to the next. From a personal standpoint, I could not feel more privileged or honored to have been invited to become part of this organization and contribute my small part to the journey it has embarked on. All I can say is “to be continued”. 

Watch Ariel and the rest of our amazing dancers onstage during Don Quixote this weekend at the Arsht Center. More info and tickets here!

Like Ariel and Lourdes Lopez said, each season is a journey. By joining Miami City Ballet for each distinct program, a new artistic experience is created, enriching lives in unique ways. Check out what we have planned for 2014-2015 journey here!

 

Moving on up!

With Company promotions announced last week, we are thrilled to welcome two Miami City Ballet School (MCB School) students who have been invited to join Miami City Ballet for our 2014-2015 Season. We extend a big congratulations to students Ellen Grocki and Alex Manning for becoming official members of the Company! Learn about these dancers and their reactions to the exciting news below!

WELCOME TO MCB ELLEN GROCKI!

Ellen Grocki

Ellen Grocki in the 2013 MCB School Student Workshop performance.

I’m a small town girl from good old Damascus, Maryland and started ballet when I was three years old. I trained under Florence Gardner for six years in Damascus, and then under Patricia Berrend at Berrend Dance Center in Olney, Maryland for seven years. In the summer of 2012, at age 16, I attended the Miami City Ballet School Summer Intensive. It is so funny to think back to the first time I danced in these studios, and how nervous and inexperienced I was. That summer truly made an impact on me, and I was ecstatic when I was offered an invitation to stay at MCB School for the winter term. Somehow, my mom let me go, and I had an incredible year with the school. I had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker with the company that year, and that was when I really fell in love with Miami City Ballet. Being in those rehearsals and getting the chance to dance onstage alongside such exquisite dancers made it clear to me that I wanted nothing more than to be a part of this Company. Currently, this is my second year at MCB School and my first year as a Student Apprentice with the Company.

The day I was promoted was a normal Thursday, like any other. I was getting ready for class at the studios when I was told that our school director Ms. Callaghan wanted to speak to me. I walked into her office, completely oblivious to what was about to happen, and the first thing she said was, “Ellen, I have good news.” Now, for the past two years, every day before dance class, I would say to myself, “You are the newest member of Miami City Ballet,” to try to encourage myself to keep working harder. Then in that moment, when Ms. Callaghan finally said those words out loud, it didn’t seem real. I skipped all the way down the hallway to the last studio surrounded by windows and just danced and jumped around by myself. I called my family and we were all crying. Then I hopped right back into modern class, knowing that I was one step closer to achieving my dreams. Everyone in the company has made me feel so incredibly welcome as a new member of the corps de ballet. I cannot wait for all that the upcoming season holds, and I am so excited to be a part of it. 
-Ellen

WELCOME TO MCB ALEX MANNING!

Alex Manning performing 'Sleeping Beauty' at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Alex Manning performing ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

I am from State College, Pennsylvania. I first trained at a small school there called the Ballet Theatre of Central Pennsylvania. When I was 13, I went to the Walnut Hill School for the Arts for my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school. Then, I moved to a small apartment in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with my mom and sister to attend the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. While at CPYB, I also studied privately with Laszlo Berdo and Leslie Hench. Last year, I auditioned for Miami City Ballet and was offered a Student Apprenticeship with MCB School. This was my first and only year here at MCB School.

Last Friday, I had a meeting scheduled with Ms. Callaghan, the school director, before class in the morning. I remember not sleeping for the whole night, and in the back of my mind I was not feeling very positive. I kept seeing talented male dancers come in to audition and thought I was just too inexperienced to be hired this year. But when I walked in to see Ms. Callaghan, she sat me down and immediately told me, “Congratulations! Ms. Lopez would like to offer you a contract.” I didn’t even know what to say. I was so shocked! I immediately hugged Ms. Callaghan and almost started crying in her arms. Then I asked, “Is that all?” And she laughed and told me “that’s it!” So I ran out to call my friends, parents and teachers. I was so thankful that all of those years of hard work with those special people helping me along the way had paid off. And I’m so proud that this all happened here at Miami City Ballet!
-Alex

Audience members will have the opportunity to see Ellen and Alex perform with both the Company and MCB School before our 2013-2014 Season comes to an end. Catch them during MCB School’s Student Choreography Showcase on April 26th and the Miami City Ballet Ensemble performances on May 2-3 — both at in-house studio theater in Miami Beach. Or, see them on the mainstage during our season finale of Don Quixote and when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October!

Check out the Company promotions here!