LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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!

Summer Time 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!

dancer

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!

 

Zoe Zien takes over Instagram!

We are getting ready for a performance filled week ahead! On Tuesday, several dancers will premiere their original works created in collaboration with New World Symphony fellows during the FREE series – Inside the Music . Then, only three days later, the entire Company heads up to Ft. Lauderdale for the opening of Don Quixote at the Broward Center. With performances spanning the Florida coastline, we are fortunate to have corps de ballet dancer Zoe Zien taking over our Instagram feed to capture it all! Follow Zoe at #ZoeMCBphotos!

Zoe Zien

Zoe Zien

We are all very excited about this week. Miami City Ballet (MCB) and New World Symphony (NWS) are coming together for a special event, cultivated by the musicians and dancers themselves.  The evening will be made up of original works created by the MCB dancers, to music performed live by the NWS Fellows. The creative process has been truly inspiring for the dancers and we are all looking forward to the show on Tuesday night! Later in the week, we open with Don Q at the Broward Center. It’s a buoyant production with over-the-top characters and bravura dancing.

-Zoe

Zoe's new works takes place on camera! Here they are at Fairchild Tropicla Gardens' with New World Symphony's videographer Bruce Pinchbeck.

Zoe’s new work takes place on camera! Here are  MCB dancers at Fairchild Tropical Gardens with New World Symphony’s videographer Bruce Pinchbeck.

Zoe snuck a shot on Instagram of our creative exchange with New World Symphony.

Zoe snuck a shot on Instagram of our creative exchange with New World Symphony.

Read more about our creative exchange with New World Symphony here and watch a sneak peek of Don Quixote!

Don Quixote stands the test of time!

Our 2013-2014 Season has completely flown by! The Company is now preparing for its final program of the season — the full-length production of Don Quixote. This ballet dates back to 1869, when choreographer Marius Petipa created it for the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Having danced in Spain himself, Petipa’s choreography reflects the local culture by incorporating the Spanish dance idiom into the movements and bringing Cervantes’ sensual gypsies and macho bullfighters to life onstage.

Since its origination, Don Quixote has been delighting audiences all over the world. The irresistible Minkus score and lavish costumes and sets make this ballet an all-time, crowd favorite and a celebratory closing to a successful 2013-2014 Season. Get a sneak peek of the performance in the video below!

Let us know if you have seen Don Quixote before! Why do YOU think this ballet has stood the test of time?

Need tickets? CLICK HERE

Brianna Abruzzo Makes her Instagram Debut!

We have such a busy week ahead! Today, we head to Naples to perform an all-Balanchine program including Ballo della Regina, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux and Episodes. Then, we turn back around and travel east to West Palm Beach for our final performances of Program III: Triple Threat at the Kravis Center. During our travels, its nice to reflect upon the journey our dancers have taken as artists, exploring the realms of singing and acting for West Side Story Suite. While it has been challenging, frustrating, and at times, just plain scary, our dancers have achieved a tremendous artistic feat.

We get an inside look at this extraordinary journey through the eyes of our dancers, when a different Company takes over our Instagram feed each week. For our final performances of Triple Threat, MCB newcomer Brianna Abruzzo will take over the feed for her first time! We can’t wait to get her fresh perspective on all of the excitement surrounding this week’s performances. Follow her at #BriannaMCBphotos.

Brianna Abruzzo

Brianna Abruzzo

Program III: Triple Threat is a thrill to perform and watch. It’s such a diverse program with so much to offer. West Side Story Suite is my favorite piece because I love to act and sing. To be able to incorporate that into my dancing is so exciting! — Brianna

Brianna with Christina Spigner.

Brianna poses with dancer Christina Spigner in their West Side Story Suite costumes.

Get to know more about Brianna in the following blog post!

Becoming a Triple Threat: SING

Not only did our dancers have to sharpen their acting skills for the premiere of West Side Story Suite, but they also had to learn SING! Yes, ballerinas singing! Watch the latest video in our Triple Threat series to find out if our dancers can actually carry a tune.

Catch Program III: Triple Threat at the Broward Center (Feb. 21-23) or Kravis Center (Feb. 28-Mar. 2).

The JETS take over Instagram!

LOVE was in the air during our Valentine’s Day opening of Program III: Triple Threat at the Arsht Center this past weekend. Despite heightened nerves, the dancers confronted their fears of acting and singing onstage, casting a love spell on the audience and critics alike! “Fierce and fresh, Miami City Ballet claimed the vibrant territory of musical theater for its own Friday night with the company debut of West Side Story Suite,” wrote The Miami Herald.  We can’t wait to do it all again at the Broward Center this weekend, and to capture it all on Instagram is JET lady — aka dancer Jennifer Lauren! Follow her at #JenLaurenMCBphotos.

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

I love being onstage with my fellow jets, but I find it particularly special when we overcome our differences with the Sharks, and we all become united at the end of the ballet. It’s a wonderful feeling to look into my friend’s eyes with pleasure, after so much conflict.  – Jennifer Lauren

Jennifer as a Jet at the 'Dance at the Gym'

Jennifer as a Jet in the ‘Dance at the Gym’. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Putting aside their differences.

MCB in the ballet finale, singing ‘Somewhere.’ Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Find out what went on BACKSTAGE during our Valentine’s Day gala HERE!’

Lourdes Lopez breaks down ‘Triple Threat’

What makes our third program of the season a Triple Threat? Find out in our latest video featuring Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez and see the program performed live. Click here to learn more!