LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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!’

Dreams of Sugar Plums

Dreams of Sugar Plums have been dancing in the heads of ballerinas everywhere — and for many more nights than just the night be for Christmas;-) Whether it’s the moment a little girl puts on her first pair of ballet slippers, or sees the Sugar Plum Fairy work her magic onstage, a little spark ignites, fueling aspirations of one day dancing this quintessential ballerina role.  This dream is swiftly becoming a reality for Soloists Sara Esty and Jennifer Lauren, as they make their debut performances as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™.  Here, they share their excitement about performing this milestone role!

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

Jennifer Lauren. Photo © Gio Alma.

At eight years old, I performed as a polichinelle in my first Nutcracker and loved every minute of it! As I grew, I continued to perform in every Nutcracker and danced many different characters. The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy was always something I dreamed of dancing. It was the first principal ballerina role I had ever seen, and the only consistent role that came back each year. The first time I was cast to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy was with the Alabama Ballet. It was among the first principal roles I had danced. I was so in love with this role. The répétiteur for George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Darla Hoover, gave me my own special wand. I enjoyed dancing with it for six wonderful seasons. Fast forward to today, and for the first time in six years at Miami City Ballet, I am dancing the role that I have loved since I was a wide-eyed little polichinelle! The familiarity of this role brings happy memories of all the amazing Nutcrackers I have attended and performed. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with Lourdes Lopez and Kleber Rebello as my Cavalier. Lourdes has been encouraging and insightful in our rehearsals and the wealth of knowledge she has for this role inspires me. I can’t wait to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy with Miami City Ballet and create new memories with my wand!

Jennifer Lauren as the Sugar Plum Fairy with Alabama Ballet.

Jennifer Lauren as the Sugar Plum Fairy with Alabama Ballet.

Sara Esty

Sara Esty

As I write, I am watching a few of my friends in New York City ballet do the kids show of The Nutcracker. I’m in Lincoln Center and am reminded of how magical the show can be… There are so many happy children here! I can’t believe I am getting the chance to perform Sugar Plum this year. I have danced it just once before in my career (at home when I was a senior in high school), so I am very much looking forward to giving it another go with Miami City Ballet. It is one of the many coveted Balanchine roles, and to be able to have reached this goal is an amazing feeling. She is the quintessential ballerina, and queen of the land of sweets – who wouldn’t want to be her? Hopefully I will inspire the little girls around me, as the Sugar Plum Fairies did when I was growing up!

Sara Esty rehearsing the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with her Cavalier Jovani Furlan.

Sara Esty rehearsing the Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux with her Cavalier Jovani Furlan.

Experience the MAGIC of America’s #1 Holiday Tradition with tickets to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™!

Adrienne Arsht Center: December 19-24
Kravis Center: December 27-30
Broward Center: January 3-5

 

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: 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!

ITS A WRAP! Jennifer Lauren Shoots Final Program of 2012-13 Season

Soloist Jennifer Lauren will bid farewell on Instagram as we say good-bye to the 2012-2013 Season during Program IV: Broadway and Ballet at the Adrienne Arsht Center May 3-5. She will be catching the best of Broadway, Ballet and Baseball….what? Yes, Baseball! When MLB All-Star Mike Piazza makes his debut as the Gangster in George Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Jennifer will be snapping shots of all of the backstage action! Don’t miss out on the fun. Follow her at #JenLaurenMCBPhotos.

Jennifer Lauren

Jennifer Lauren

For our final program of the season, Jennifer will be performing the “blue girl” in Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering. We asked her why she enjoys this role so much and here is what she had to say:

I enjoy being in “Dances” because it feels like you are dancing with your family.  I always tell Jeanette and Patricia that its fun to be their other sister for an hour.

Jennifer Lauren performs Dances at a Gathering with Jeanette (left) and Patricia (center) Delgado.

Join Jennifer and the rest of MCB’s amazing dancers for our final program of the season this weekend at the Arsht Center.

Behind the Ballet: The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Starring in George Balanchine’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier™, Soloist Jennifer Lauren breaks down this delightful, yet tragic love story!

See it performed LIVE as part of Program III: The Masters!

Kravis Center: Feb. 22-24
Broward Center: Mar. 1-3
Adrienne Arsht Center: Mar. 8-10

Jennifer Lauren Guests on Instagram!

After an exciting opening weekend of Program II: Tradition and Innovation, Soloist Jennifer Lauren is taking over our Instagram feed to keep up the momentum for performances at the Broward Center.  Look out for her behind-the-scenes shots (#JenLaurenMCBphotos) and performance in George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 and Liam Scarlett’s new work Euphotic.

Jennifer Lauren

Fun fact about Lauren: She comes from a family of artists! Before dancing with MCB, Lauren’s mother made many of her costumes, including the tutu below from Alabama Ballet’s production of Swan Lake. Her father also photographed almost every performance.

Jennifer's mother made this costume!

You can catch Jennifer live during Program II: Tradition and Innovation at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Jan. 18-20.  For tickets call our box office at 305.929-7010 or visti miamicityballet.org.

Jennifer Lauren in Pointe Magazine’s The Hardest Role

Soloist Jennifer Lauren is featured in the October/November issue of Pointe Magazine!

© Gio Alma

In the feature The Hardest Role, Jennifer discusses how she overcame challenges in her role as the Sleepwalker in George Balanchine’s La Sonnambula.

“Our eyes are such a big part of dancing, and then you have this role where you’re not supposed to use them. It felt like I was dancing blind.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Our Nutcracker Memories – Part 2

This adorable two-part series comes to an end as Rebecca King talks to the Delgado sisters, Jennifer Lauren, and Tricia Albertson about their Nucracker memories!

Click here to see Our Nutcracker Memories – Part 1.

Packing for Paris

Post by Jennifer Lauren, Soloist

Celebrating MCB’s 25th anniversary this past season was very exciting.  Amongst all the wonderful performances, we had something in the back of our minds: PARIS! I was thrilled to find out we would be performing there for three weeks.  The next question I had in my mind was, how am I going to pack for this long stay? How many pointe shoes should I bring? Do I really need five different kinds of eyeshadow and lipstick?  I’ve never really been outside the country, much less actually lived and worked in Paris for three weeks.

It’s been a little overwhelming to prepare for this trip, but thanks to our wonderful MCB production/wardrobe staff, we were given a great advantage. We were able to ship our pointe shoes/ballet slippers and one theater case on the boat headed to Paris last week. Some of you may be asking what a theater case is. For me, it’s a suitcase devoted only to items needed for a long weekend, or tour, of performances. Most of us have one that we haul around from theater to theater all season long. To keep up with everything I’m taking in my theater case, I wrote it all down. We were told whatever came to Paris on the boat had to come back on the boat. Even our used pointe shoes. We were also told we wouldn’t see our cases for a whole month after the tour.

Here is my list:

-My trusty MCB Company Dancer jacket and sweat pants. :)

-A picture of my husband that he printed for me to take to all theaters. (It says “Grow old with me. The best is yet to be!”)

-A small bookmark with me and my best friend, Kyle, dancing together in Alabama.

-A fortune from a fortune cookie.

-Two formal dresses and a pair of high heels that I will wear to any MCB related events.

-My blue down booties.

-Hairspray, hair pins, hair nets and two brushes.

-Five pairs of fake eyelashes and eyelash glue.

-Liquid eyeliner, white and brown eyeliner and a pencil sharpener.

-Studio fix (pressed powder) and concealer.

-My palette of all my eye shadows.

-I could’t put my lipsticks in my case because of the heat on the boat, but I really can make due with just one good color for all the shows.

-Five pairs of tights, two skirts, three pairs of leg warmers, eight leotards and one pair of ballet slippers — all for company class that my boss, Edward Villella teaches.

-A packet of corn cushions and toe nail clippers. (Both very important to have on hand at all times.)

Last but definitely not least, 14 pairs of pionte shoes, (with the elastic and ribbon already sewn) to get me through one of the best experiences of my life!