LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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!

 

A Chance to Shine

Not many apprentices get the opportunity to perform a leading role in their first year with a professional ballet company. However, during Program II: See the Music, one of MCB’s newest members had that chance! Leanna Rinaldi writes about her experience learning and performing Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat below.

Leanna Rinaldi

Leanna Rinaldi

Having the opportunity to perform Jardí Tancat, choreographed by Nacho Duato, is an absolute honor. As an apprentice, the first few days of rehearsals were a little intimidating, being around such amazing dancers. To be quite frank, learning and executing the choreography for Jardí Tancat was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done mentally, emotionally and physically. Luckily, we had répétituer Kevin Irving patiently teaching us and showing us how each meticulous movement should be executed. The steps in Jardí Tancat are unlike what we usually do at the ballet. In most ballets we almost always have to pull ourselves up and think of being weightless, while in Jardí Tancat we have to be grounded deep into the floor and be heavy with our movements. I’ve always loved this style of dance and I had a lot of modern training when I was younger, so it was refreshing to kick off those pointe shoes and have the opportunity to dance this wonderful piece. The first time I performed it onstage was very surreal. It felt like I had a deep relationship with each dancer onstage and could feel everyone’s energy and emotion. There are no wings, so there are no distractions coming from offstage. We just have each other and the music. We were so proud of what we had accomplished together. Dancing Jardí Tancat was so exhilarating that when it came time for bows, I asked myself, “What just happened?”  It was truly an amazing experience and I feel like it has pushed me as a dancer and helped with other areas of my dancing.  Jardí Tancat  is an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my career! – Leanna

Leanna rehearsing with Shimon Ito.

Leanna rehearsing with Shimon Ito. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Leanna and the cast of Jardi Tancat.

Leanna and the cast of Jardi Tancat.

There is still time catch Leanna perform in, what the Miami New Times called, “a gem, a major addition to the company repertory… beautiful” during Program II: See the Music at the Kravis Center. Get your tickets here!

 

INSIGHTS: Jardí Tancat

Kevin Irving — répétiteur and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre — shares the meaning behind Nacho Duato’s profoundly Spanish work Jardí Tancat. This ballet is unlike anything you have ever seen Miami City Ballet perform! Catch it during Program II: See the Music — Jan. 24-26 (Broward Center, Ft. Lauderdale) or Jan. 31- Feb. 2 (Kravis Center, West Palm Beach).

Read the Miami New Time’s RAVE review of this work!

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!

What’s on INSTAGRAM this week?

Tonight, the worlds of Broadway and ballet literally collide during our first Open Barre of the 2013-2014 Season. The original Anita from the Broadway production of West Side StoryChita Rivera joins us onstage to discuss working with Jerome Robbins, while the company gives a sneak peek of the “triple threat” premiere of West Side Story Suite. This will be the first time that our dancers test their signing talents in front of a live audience….and to capture it all on Instagram is dancer Jovani Furlan!

Jovani Furlan

Jovani Furlan

Jovani will not only be taking you behind-the-scenes of Open Barre this weekend, but will also be documenting the exciting work happening in our studios next week with Répétiteur and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre Kevin Irving. Kevin is here to set Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat – the profoundly Spanish, lyrical work that allows our dancers to kickoff their pointe shoes and dance barefoot! As the former ballet master and head of the artistic department with Nacho Duato’s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Spain, Kevin has intimate knowledge of Duato’s choreography that he will instill in our dancers before we bring Jardí Tancat to the stage during Program II: See the Music.

Jeanette Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Jardi Tancat.

Jeanette Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Jardi Tancat.

Sneak peek of the action on Instagram!

Sneak peek of the action on Instagram!

Make sure to follow Jovani on Instagram #JovaniMCBphotos to catch all of the exciting happenings here at the ballet!

Want more on Chita Rivera? Check out our Pinterest Board to see more legendary roles performed by one of Broadway’s leading ladies!

Photos:
Headshot © Daniel Azoulay.
Jardí Tancat © Gio Alma.