Lexie Overholt gets behinds the lens!

This week, corps dancer Lexie Overhold gets behind the lens of our Instagram feed, snapping shots of the company preparing for another round of Nutcracker performances at the Arsht Center. While Lexie will be capturing the Nutcracker magic during the weekend, she will also be documenting all of the action occurring at our studios in Miami Beach.  The company is working hard in rehearsals for Program II: Tradition and Innovation, which opens at the Arsht Center in the New Year!  Look out for some fabulous photos of dancers in Liam Scarlett’s new world premiere, Balanchine’s Duo Concertant and Divertimento No. 15, and the popular Don Quixote Pas de Deux!

© Gio Alma

Fun fact about Lexie: She has her own non-profit organization!  It is a scholarship and community outreach based organization for dancers by dancers, and is in the process of receiving its 501(c)(3) status. Stay tuned!

Neil Marshall snaps shots on Instagram

Corps dancer Neil Marshall takes over our Instagram feed this week as the company works with the young, talented Liam Scarlett on his second world premiere for MCB. Neil first joined the company in 2007 and returns to MCB this season after one year dancing with Oregon Ballet Theatre.  We are so happy to have him back!

(c) Gio Alma

Fun fact about Neil: According to the dancers, Neil has quite the affinity for baking…especially cakes, cookies and ice cream.  Yummy!

Dressing Viscera

Liam Scarlett not only choreographed Viscera, but he also designed the costumes for the World Premiere! Haydee Morales, MCB’s Costume Designer and Director, worked closely with Liam to bring his vision to the stage.

Haydee had a chat with us about Liam and the Viscera costumes.

Reflecting on the World Premiere of Viscera

After much anticipation, Liam Scarlett’s Viscera opened on January 6 to standing ovations, and received rave reviews by The Miami Herald and Dance Magazine. Before returning home to the Royal Ballet, Liam reflected on the World Premiere in this emotional video by corps dancer Rebecca King, which takes us back to the joyous night.

If you missed Viscera at Adrienne Arsht Center, you can see it this weekend (Jan. 27-29) at Kravis Center and at Broward Center on February 3-5. Click here for more information.

A Conversation with Lowell Liebermann, Composer of the Music for Viscera

Post by Rebecca King, Corps de Ballet

Miami City Ballet will be premiering Viscera, a new work by emerging young choreographer Liam Scarlett this Friday, January 6, 2012!  On the first day of rehearsals for Viscera, Mr. Scarlett told us that the music was his main source of inspiration and gathered us around him to just listen to the entire work.  Three weeks later, upon the ballet’s completion, he left us with an extremely musical piece to sink our teeth into.

In anticipation of the World Premiere, I’d like to give you a sneak peak into the orchestra pit for a discussion of the music, Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, with American composer Lowell Liebermann. Mr. Liebermann composed this work in 1983, at age 22. This was his first time combining a piano with an orchestra.  In the orchestra pit there will be strings, a piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, an English horn, two clarinets, a bass clarinet, two bassoons, a contrabassoon, four French horns, three trumpets, three trombones, a tuba, and a percussion section with the timpani, a small triangle, cymbals, a suspended cymbal, a bass drum, and a ratchet!

In order to find out more, I spoke with Mr. Liebermann about the piece:

RK: First off, could you give us a little bit of your personal history with Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra?  What were you looking to accomplish with this work?

LL: It’s actually hard for me to remember where my mind was that far back!  I do remember that I wrote the work in a white heat during the summer in Southampton.  The whole piece was written and orchestrated in 11 days.  The second movement was inspired by a passage from De Quincey’s “Confessions of an Opium Eater” called “Dream Fugue.”  And all three movements quote a tune from the “Anne Cromwell Virginal Book” called “Fortune is my Foe.” The last movement, called “Maccaber’s Dance” was written after reading an account of the Black Death, which told the story of a Scotsman named Maccaber, or MacCawber, who moved to France in medieval times and instituted a Dance of Death to try to ward off the plague, which came to be known as the “Danse Macabre.” Evidently I was a quite serious 22-year-old!

RK:  How do you orchestrate a 20 minute piece in only 11 days?!
LL: By staying up all night and drinking heavily.

RK: On average, how long does it take you to compose new works?
LL: It depends on the length of the work, but I am a procrastinator, so I tend to think about pieces for a very long time, and scribble them down on paper in a very short time.  Nowadays the process of orchestrating and copying is much speeded up by music notation programs, but when I wrote the 1st Piano Concerto, that was all written in pen and ink.

RK: During the writing process, did you ever envision ballet being set to this piece?
LL: No, not at all.  But ballet was actually my first big love: my introduction to classical music was with some old 78’s I had as a 5-year-old of the Nutcracker Suite. I would put them on the record player and attempt to pirouette and mimic ballet steps that I saw on TV. I wanted to take ballet lessons at that age, but my parents wouldn’t let me…

RK: In 2002, Robert Hill choreographed a ballet on American Ballet Theatre set to this piece of music.  What was it like to see your work come to life through ballet?
LL: It was exhilarating! Normally a composer doesn’t see physical manifestations of the effect of his music, so to see all those bodies set into motion is a wonderful thing.

RK: Has technology changed the process of composing in recent years as compared with the year 1983 when you wrote this 1st Concerto for Piano?
LL: It hasn’t changed the process of composing at all:  I still compose at the piano with pencil and paper.  But again, the process of orchestrating (which is a much more mechanical thing than composing) and copying are much speeded up and enhanced.

RK: What is now playing on your iPod?
LL: I’m not even sure where it is right now! The only thing on it is actually my own complete works: I only use it when travelling to do a residency at whatever university or school so that I don’t have to lug along a suitcase of CDs. Otherwise, since I spend my working days either composing or practicing for performances, I tend not to listen to a lot of music in my down time. And when I do, I prefer it live.

Come and experience this powerful piece of music come to life through Miami City Ballet’s World Premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Viscera! For ticket information, click here.

Naming the World Premiere

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet is about two months away from its world premiere on the Adrienne Arsht Center stage! Before he went home to The Royal Ballet, Liam chatted with us about naming the plotless ballet and finally voiced the name of the piece!

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet premieres in January 2012 at Adrienne Arsht Center, followed by performances at Broward Center and Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Liam Scarlett: The Man Behind The World Premiere – Part 2

Before Liam Scarlett returned to London, he filled us in on what’s been going on with the World Premiere since we last spoke. He dishes on finishing the piece in ten days, designing the costumes himself, and naming the ballet!

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet premieres in January 2012 at Adrienne Arsht Center, followed by performances at Broward Center and Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Jeanette Delgado on Liam Scarlett and the World Premiere

MCB’s World Premiere is officially complete! Liam Scarlett has returned home and the dancers are taking some much-deserved time off. But we can’t get enough of the Liam craze! We chatted with principal dancer Jeanette Delgado recently and she seemed to agree with the rest of the dancers who were thrilled with Liam’s work and presence at MCB.

P.S. – There is a special surprise for Jeanette at the end of the video. Enjoy!

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet premieres in January 2012 at Adrienne Arsht Center, followed by performances at Broward Center and Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Working with Liam Scarlett

Liam Scarlett of The Royal Ballet spent the last three weeks with MCB working on the World Premiere, which premieres in January 2012. Enthusiasm filled the building, and dancers and staff alike were thrilled with the developments coming from the studios. Sara Esty, newly-promoted soloist, collected some thoughts on what is was like to work with Britain’s hottest choreographer, Liam Scarlett.

Liam Scarlett: The Man Behind The World Premiere

Liam Scarlett, who choreographed his first piece at the tender age of 11 for his fellow students at The Royal Ballet School and is now The Royal Ballet’s most successful young choreographer at age 25, has accepted a commission from MCB to create his first work for an American company. Needless to say, we are ecstatic that he’s finally here! The still-to-be-named ballet, set to Lowell Liebermann’s “Piano Concerto No. 1,” will premiere in January 2012.

Liam recently chatted with us about how this opportunity presented itself to him, and some inside on the piece and the way he works. Stay tuned for more!