LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Meet our new dancers!

Our next new dancer has been busy learning the Paul Taylor solo in George Balanchine’s Episodes this week. Get to know corps de ballet member Ariel Rose here on our blog, before he hits the stage next season!

Ariel Rose

MCB: Where are you from?

Ariel: New York, New York, but recently moved from Richmond, Virginia, where I was previously dancing with Richmond Ballet.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Ariel: I trained at Ballet Academy East, Fiorello LaGuardia High School for Arts and Performing Arts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet School.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Ariel: Boston Ballet, Ballet Municipal de Lima and Richmond Ballet.

Ariel performing Coppélia as a guest soloist with the Ballet Municipal in Lima, Peru.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Ariel: Spending the day outside in any way possible during which I can write, draw and casually spend time with friends. Then also cooking up something new and interesting at the end of the day.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Ariel: Dancing onstage in London at Covent Garden in the Linbury Theatre last year with the Richmond Ballet felt like I had really accomplished something. Performing for a foreign audience really felt like we were showing people something for the very first time.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Ariel: I’d love one day to take a really long international ballet tour like many companies used to do in the 80’s and 90’s. Traveling is so important in developing ones own perspective on life and the world. One always comes back a little wiser and more knowledgeable.

Ariel in Sorrento, Italy -- one of the European destinations he backpacked to after Richmond Ballet's tour in London.

MCB: Indulgence?

Ariel: My favorite food is definitely sushi, but all my friends know that I have an absolute obsession with Belgian waffles!

MCB: Inspiration?

Ariel: Some of today’s leading dancers such as Joaquin De Luz, Marcelo Gomes, Jeffrey Cirio and Jaime Diaz.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Ariel: My friends and family. Having people that you know are there for you, for all of your successes and failures, makes life feel a bit safer and better. Especially in a career like professional ballet, life can be difficult at times, but the people one chooses to hold close in their life can really help you through.

He spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin! (Charlie Brown reference ;-))

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Ariel: The silence following the end of a performance of Salvatore Aiello’s The Rite of Spring this past May, on the exact day of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky composing the score.  After the piece’s conclusion, there was a moment of silence because the people were still in shock and absorbing what they had just seen. Then all of a sudden, there was an uproar of cheers and all 2,000 people were up standing out of their seats. It was indescribable.

MCB: Dream role?

Ariel: “The Prodigal Son”, the slave in Le Corsaire and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room — (watch an excerpt performed by MCB!)

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Ariel: For the experience of performing new, but also historic repertoire and to also grow technically and artistically to my personal next level.

See Ariel Rose onstage when our 2013-2014 Season opens at the Arsht Center in October!

Meet our new dancers!

As we prepare for the opening of the 2013-2014 Season, Miami City Ballet welcomes several new faces to the company! Over the next few weeks, we are getting up close and personal with our “newbies” on our blog before they take the stage in October. So without further ado, we introduce you to MCB corps de ballet member Brianna Abruzzo!

Brianna Abruzzo

MCB: Where are you from?

Brianna: New York, NY

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Brianna: School of American Ballet (11 years), San Francisco Ballet Summer Program, MCB Summer Program, Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Program, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the Chautauqua Festival.

MCB: What companies have you trained professionally with?

Brianna: As a student, I trained with New York City Ballet.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Brianna: Meet some friends at a local café for brunch, pamper myself with a mani/pedi (I’m a real girly girl). Take a walk around Central Park (I could never get tired of exploring the park). End the day with going to the movies.

Brianna in Central Park

MCB: Proudest moment?

Brianna: When I got offered a position in MCB. I said to myself “I did it!” I couldn’t believe it.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Brianna: Living, dancing, singing, acting and baking in Paris.

MCB: Indulgence?

Brianna: Mac and Cheese.

MCB: Inspiration?

Brianna: Misty Copeland and Tiler Peck inspire me because they are impeccable dancers who continue to improve daily. Wendy Whelan also inspires me because she is world renowned, yet she is still down to earth and genuine.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Brianna: My cat Armani. He is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met. People who normally dislike cats like Armani.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Brianna: Performing at the Costume Gala in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art surrounded by water in the Egyptian exhibit. It was such a glamorous night and the beautifully dressed celebrities treated us dancers as if we were the celebrities.

Brianna rehearsing with her choreographer for the SAB Student Choreography Workshop

MCB: Dream role?

Brianna: Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (I cry every time).

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Brianna: MCB has a bit of everything; the amazing Balanchine rep that I couldn’t live without and contemporary ballets. MCB also has choreographers coming and staging new ballets quite often. I love that process and it was an important factor for me in choosing a dance company. MCB is also not too far from home, it’s a city (a fun one too), I have relatives close by, and who can say no to days off relaxing on the beach? Everyone in the company was immediately nice and welcoming. This made it one of the easiest decisions for me.

Brianna leaped at the opportunity to join MCB:-)

Summer Dance Diary: Week FIVE

Although MCB School’s 5-week Summer Intensive Program has ended, it appears that another student left his diary behind! Watch to see student Michael Holden wrap up the Summer Dance Diary series in this final diary entry. Hope you enjoyed the series!

2013-2014 Season Preview!

Check out our latest video to discover what exciting dance masterworks Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez has in store for Miami City Ballet’s 2013-2014 Season. What ballet(s) are you most excited to see next season?

Subscription packages and single tickets are on sale now! Visit miamicityballet.org or call 305.929.7010 for more information and tickets.

MCB Summer: Jennifer Kronenberg’s BIG APPLE Homecoming

Wrapping up our ‘MCB Summer’ series, principal dancer Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg writes about her homecoming trip to New York, where her ballet career started in a small, local dance studio in Queens.

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg

What a busy summer this has been for our family! The weeks have really flown by. This summer was extra special —  my first as a mommy — and I have so enjoyed having the extra time to spend with my beautiful baby girl Eva. What a gift! She has grown and changed so much in the last couple of months, and she happily joined us on all of our trips this summer! Carlos and I were so nervous about taking her on her first airplane ride, and worried about how she would handle the crazy schedules of our guest appearances, but she handled everything incredibly well — a little “pro” already!

Baby on board with papa Carlos Guerra!

A couple of weeks after we returned from dancing in New Orleans (along with  Renan Cerdeiro and Jennifer Lauren at New Orleans Ballet Theater) we left town again for another exciting adventure – Eva’s first visit to the Big Apple and my first homecoming performance with my old ballet school, Once Upon a Time (OUAT), in 15 years. My parents (now Grandma & Grandpa Kronenberg) eagerly awaited their granddaughter’s visit, and the chance to see me dance again at home in Queens. (I don’t get up to NYC as often as I would like, so I tried to “kill as many birds with one stone” as I could). In addition to dancing with OUAT, I participated in a mini dance convention and taught a master class at New York Performing Arts Center in Point Pleasant, NJ.  The students were terrific, and very eager to learn, which is a treat for any teacher.  I was in great company, and was so honored to be teaching alongside tremendous talents like Broadway “Tap Dog” Anthony LoCascio.

Teaching ballet class at New York Performing Arts Center

Jennifer and Carlos with Anthony LoCascio (center).

The next day, we headed out to Richmond Hill, Queens for OUAT’s performance, where I danced excerpts from Coppélia as well as The Dying Swan. How nice it was to be welcomed home with open arms! It was if I had never left. My teacher, Teresa Aubel, hasn’t changed a bit, and being back in class with her reminded me of how very much of my success I owe to her. She was always such a wonderful mentor, and she helped shape the dancer that I have become in so many ways.

Jennifer with her childhood dance teacher Teresa

Homecoming performance of Coppélia!

The performance was held in-house, in the school’s quaint black box theater, where a special surprise awaited — another one of my teachers would be contributing to the performance! Carolyn DeVore, Dean of Dance at my alma mater, Benjamin N. Cardozo H.S., came to see the show and brought her students from DeVore Dance Center to perform an incredible African piece. It was such a treat to see her again and have her meet Carlos and baby Eva.

The audience enjoyed the show tremendously, but I think Eva may have enjoyed it the most! Her expression was priceless! With a front row seat on Carlos’ lap, she was completely intrigued by the music and the dance. She opened her eyes wide, kicked her legs to the music, and even exclaimed “Mama!” with glee as I bourréed across the floor during The Dying Swan. When I wasn’t dancing, I was able to spy on her through a crack in the back drop and I couldn’t stop smiling, she was so adorable! When the African dancers came out, I was worried about how she’d react to the intensity and volume of the live drummers, but her smile just got bigger and bigger! (Since we’ve been back she has been super energetic and does this funny bouncing action with her hands in the air, fingers spread, and arms bent at the elbows. Call me crazy, but I’d swear she’s imitating the African dance)!

To end the afternoon, I engaged in an informal question and answer session with the audience, and signed copies of my book “So, You Want to be a Ballet Dancer?” , which was being sold at the entrance prior to the show and during intermission. There were some fantastic questions and topics brought into conversation, and I was so glad to have had the opportunity to meet so many young dancers in the making.

Jennifer with her two loves in Central Park.

As busy and hectic as our visit to New York was, we still had a wonderful time and Eva made it through her grand adventure with flying colors. We are all glad to be back in Miami and Carlos and I are ready and anxious to start the new season. It’s always nice to get away, but when all is said and done, there is no place like home!

MCB Summer: Lexie Overholt lends a helping hand in AFRICA!

Corps de ballet dancer Lexie Overholt writes about her eye opening, emotional journey in Africa as part of our ‘MCB Summer’ series.

Lexie Overholt

I left for Kenya and Ethiopia in mid-July for two weeks as a member of the Visiting Orphans organization. My team and I spent our first week with the children of the Fiwagoh Orphanage in Kenya. Most of the children there have lost their parents to HIV/Aids, Malaria,  or other diseases, and tribal wars. Our team helped to provide some of the parental love and care that these children so desperately need. We lived in the orphanage for an entire week, so we got to spend a lot of time with the children. We also traveled to Amazing Grace and Haven of Hope orphanages and played games, sang songs and did arts of crafts with these amazing children.

Lexie visiting with an orphan.

Lexie at an orphanage in Africa.

We are now in our second week and have arrived in Ethiopia. We are in the rural Bole Community of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which is located behind their airport. We will spend time each morning with the children — playing games, doing crafts, music and dance – and then making home visits in the afternoons. We will also spend time with the women of Mission Ethiopia in the afternoons. It is the most incredible, heartwarming and eye opening experience of my life.

"A heartwarming and eye opening experience."

My leaders asked me to bring along my pointe shoes and music to treat the children in each community to dance!
-Lexie

Summer Dance Diary: Week THREE

Another student has left their diary out! Watch MCB School’s latest video diary entry to discover all of the 5-Week Summer Intensive Program secrets.

MCB Summer: Jennifer Lauren back in the Big Easy!

Soloist Jennifer Lauren tells all about her trip to the Big Easy for her guest performance with New Orleans Ballet Theatre and more as part of our MCB Summer series!

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

Summers are always a busy time for me. My husband Blake, my dog Sophie and I always hop in the car and drive far and wide across the southern states. This summer we found ourselves in New Orleans. A place where both of our families have vacationed many times, and the location of our honeymoon.

Before we went to New Orleans, fellow MCB dancers Jennifer Kronenberg, Carlos Guerra, their beautiful baby girl Eva, Renan Cerdeiro and I traveled to Sanibel Island to work with  former New York City Ballet Principal Melinda Roy. She was so wonderful and a joy to work with!  Renan and I rehearsed George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes and Jennifer and Carlos rehearsed Balanchine’s Apollo. It was a special trip because we rehearsed at former MCB Principals Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero’s new studio — Gulfshore Ballet in Ft Myers. They are a lovely pair and were very welcoming.

The whole crew!

After a few weeks of West Side Story Suite rehearsal in Miami, we flew to the Big Easy to guest with New Orleans Ballet Theatre. It was a pleasure to work with the director Greg Schramel and his wife Marjorie Hardwick — both former dancers with MCB, as well!

Carlos, Jennifer, Renan and me

The performance was a treat for all to see. This was Jennifer Kronenberg’s first time back on the stage since her pregnancy with Eva, who is just about the most precious baby ever! Jennifer and Carlos are wonderful with her and so much fun to be around.

Me with baby Eva!

I was also excited to have my husband, my mother and my niece come to see the performance and visit in New Orleans.

My husband Blake, my mom Betty, me and my niece Jasmine.

Dancing Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes is always one of my favorite pieces to perform, especially so close to the Fourth of July! The music is so patriotic and I’m so lucky to have a partner as talented as Renan! We really had a great time dancing and exploring New Orleans.

Renan and me backstage for Stars and Stripes

After everything, my husband and I made time to celebrate our four year wedding anniversary at the same restaurant we went to on our honeymoon.

Celebrating our wedding anniversary at Commanders Palace - where it all started!

Happy (belated) 4th of July!

Summer Dance Diary: Week TWO

Student Caroline Stevens writes about her second week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

Caroline (left) with her best friend McKenna (right).

Dear Diary,

I have just completed my second week here at the Miami City Ballet School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program. It is my first summer dancing at Miami City Ballet School and I have been having a blast!

I was elated to hear that I had been accepted to this summer program, which is regarded as one of the best in the country! I auditioned at the School of American Ballet, only a bus ride away from The Rock School in Philadelphia where I have been a student for the past year (I am originally from South Carolina). After the audition class, which was taught by the company’s artistic director, Lourdes Lopez, I knew that I wanted to study here. Ms. Lopez and all of the teachers I have had so far at Miami City Ballet School are committed to making each student the best dancer they can be. Throughout the summer program, my goals are to strengthen and refine my technique and artistry, along with becoming a more well-rounded dancer. I feel very motivated and honored to be here at Miami City Ballet!

A typical day for me starts with getting ready and eating breakfast at the University of Miami dorms. We then hop on a school bus that takes us directly to the beautiful Miami City Ballet facilities. Each level has a two hour technique class in the morning, followed by an hour of pointe/variations. After our lunch break, we return to the studios and have either a jazz or modern class followed by some sort of “cool down” class (such as Pilates™, stretch & strengthen, or conditioning). I love the intensity of the program, and the variety of classes offered has made me realize how important it is to be a versatile dancer. My ultimate dream would be to become a professional dancer with the Miami City Ballet or a company in Europe.

On the first day of classes, I was extremely nervous! My first ballet class was taught by Geta Constantinescu, who I had heard only good things about. She is a very methodical teacher and really stresses the importance of adding breath to our movement (including having us make exaggerated breathing noises during combinations!). I was excited to hear that Geta would also be my repertory teacher. My level is learning excerpts from the first act of Giselle, which is one of my all-time favorite ballets! The rehearsal process has been tedious, but enjoyable at the same time! We spend a lot of time perfecting our stage craft, which includes presence, staying in line [formations], and the focus of the head and eyes. It is a lighthearted piece and I enjoy working on it!

One of my favorite teachers so far has been Mr. Olivier Pardina. In his class, Mr. Pardina takes the time to explain every detail and correction, with a special emphasis on port de bras and the use of the head. He has eyes like a hawk and can spot a mistake from across the room! One correction of his that has really stuck with me is to “always dance as though the stage is too small for you.” A lot of the time, I get so caught up with the technical aspects of a combination, that I forget to really move and emote. On top of being a very intelligent teacher, Mr. Pardina is also extremely friendly and approachable.

I have been having a lot of fun outside of the dance studio as well! On the weekends, my friends and I love walking around South Beach and shopping on Lincoln Road. This past week was the big Fourth of July Cruise, which included dinner, dancing and fireworks, while sailing around the beautiful Biscayne Bay. At one point it started pouring rain, but that didn’t stop the dancing! Everyone had a blast! It has been so cool to meet people from all over the world, too. So far I have met people from Canada, France, Brazil and Mexico. I cannot believe how fast the program is going, and I am very excited to see what the next three weeks have in store for me!

Yours truly,

Caroline Stevens

Here I am posing in a phone booth on Lincoln Road:-)

Beautiful Miami Beach!

Summer Dance Diary: Week ONE

Sneak a peek at Miami City Ballet School’s Summer Dance Diary…but, make sure you don’t get caught! Student Alexandra D’Alessandro shares her insights on her first week of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program in our first VIDEO diary entry of the series.