LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Your Summer Intensive Questions Answered!

You sent us your questions about MCB School’s Summer Intensive…and our students have answered! Meet Carlos and Victoria — two current school-year students who are also Summer Intensive veterans!

Carlos Valdes and Victoria Huaroto

Carlos Valdes and Victoria Huaroto

Victoria:

Bring the ballet basics – any pink ballet tights, any solid color leotards, ballet slippers, pointe shoes (enough for 5 weeks in Miami’s humidity), warm-ups to wear prior to class and after.  For jazz, bring jazz shoes and any style of black bottoms whether it’s black shorts, leggings or jazz pants.  If you have a yoga mat, bring it for the stretch and strengthening and yoga classes; however, if you don’t have one, the Gyrotonics mats are available to students in the studios.  Bring hair supplies to efficiently put your hair in a secure bun.  Bring regular clothes as well as clothes for special outings on the weekends or the Fourth of July celebration.  And most importantly bring a good attitude to get as much as you can from the summer!

The dorms are at University of Miami and are very nice — each student has one other roommate.  If you know someone who is also attending the summer you can request to dorm with them when you register for the summer.  If not, you are paired with another dancer, usually your age and with a similar personality with you.  The Miami City Ballet School pairs the students very well and your roommates from summer are often friends you will keep in touch with for years to come.  The office will send an email prior to the start of the intensive (in early May) with who you are sharing a room with. That way when you arrive in Miami you already know who your roommate is!

FB question

Carlos: Right now there are 33 boys in the program and classes range between 20-25 students.

Pas de Deux classes are in my opinion the most enjoyable part of the Summer Program. The first week of the program teachers tend to experiment with different combinations to determine the general level of the class. Starting from week two, classes are set to fit the level of students and their needs as dancers. By the time you reach weeks three and four, lessons become more demanding. Normally, instead of asking for 2-3 pirouettes in a simple beginning combination, students will be pushed for more, while always preserving cleanliness and grace. I happened to be working on presses and a variety of lifts by the 4th week last summer. Teachers also stress the vital connection that must exist between dancers, when sharing the stage as partners. There is not one specific partner for each class. This allows you to deal with different dancers, which improves your experience when partnering overall.

Many events and different field trips are arranged by the school throughout the five weeks to ensure students also enjoy their summer time. For instance, it has become a tradition over the years to take students on a boat for the Fourth of July celebrations. This boat sails through the bay of the downtown Miami, as festivities take place all around the city and on board, and as fireworks explode in the sky. Chaperones ensure safety in every single activity held by the school. Students also tend to spend time at the beach during the week depending on curfew times. This is probably the most common activity among students.

Weight training classes are usually one hour long. Lessons start with an active warm-up, varying from stretching to cardio exercises, to prepare for the muscle work later on. Once students are warm, different weight-lifting exercises take place. More stretching and relaxation exercises are incorporated into the end of the class to smoothly transition to the next class or to end the day. The first week, teachers assess the physical fitness of the students. This happens to be the first week coming back from the one-to-two month break between school and summer for some students. Therefore, instructors are very careful in giving exercises for students in order to prevent injuries throughout the program. The next two weeks, classes improve and become more demanding. Nonetheless, safety is always key. The fourth week of classes, lessons focus more on recovery since this happens to be the most exhausting week of the whole program. This class can be particularly useful when learning how to manage your body in order to prevent injuries in the future.

Instagram question 2

health_fooddiary:

MCB School: For that age group, we recommend auditioning for the 5-week Summer Intensive!

naatalieelynn:

Victoria: The dress code is the traditional full length pink tights with any solid color leotard.  For shoes any ballet slippers, it doesn’t matter whether they are canvas or leather.  For the jazz class, jazz shoes are required with any black bottoms (examples are black tights, shorts, jazz pants).  For the modern classes the dancers are barefoot with any black bottoms as well.  For the other classes consisting of stretch and strengthening, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, the dancers may where any appropriate dance clothing as long as the teachers can see the form of the students. Boys must wear white ballet slippers.

alyssa_275:

Victoria: Yes, you do need to register for the two week summer intensive audition, but not in advance. You can download the registration form by clicking HERE and bring the form with you to the audition. 

Instagram question 1

jadecase_xoxo: 

Victoria: Black jazz shoes are preferred. The rest of the classes will be barefoot or ballet shoes.

kallionpointe: 

Victoria: Each day the students will have at least one class on pointe if not multiple whether it’s variations class, pointe class, or repertoire.  Depending on the level the student is placed will also determine how many classes a student has on pointe.  The higher levels will sometimes even have the center work of ballet class on pointe.  The amount of pointe shoes depends on the level of dancer and the feet of the dancer.  This past summer I brought 5 pairs of pointe shoes one pair per week, but also keep in mind the humidity of Miami during the summer this will also make a dancer go through pointe shoes faster.  I would always bring more than you think just in case. 

We are looking forward to seeing everyone this summer!

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!

Summer Dance Diary: Week FOUR

Student McKenna Collins writes about her fourth week at MCB School’s Summer Intensive Dance Program in this week’s Summer Dance Diary!

McKenna Collins

Dear Diary,

We have just completed the fourth week of classes at Miami City Ballet (MCB) School’s 2013 Summer Intensive Program and I’m feeling very accomplished and inspired!

Coming into this program as an Apprentice with Madison Ballet in Madison, Wisconsin, I was eager to begin learning from such a renowned school. After having finished the fourth week, it is clear to me as to why it is one of the best schools in the country. From the spacious facilities to the worldly teaching staff, this program has been an incredible learning and growing experience…and it’s not even over yet!

This is my first summer with Miami City Ballet as well as my first time in Miami. Coming from a state where you can drive for miles and only see fields of corn and lots of cows, it’s a very different atmosphere here in the city! From the moment I stepped into the beautiful studios just off of South Beach and met all of my wonderful teachers, I knew this would be a great summer.

The Ladies of Level III!

Having participated in various summer intensives, such as Ballet Chicago, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, I was looking forward to continuing my Balanchine training here at MCB School. We have been covering a wide range of styles from classical to neoclassical, and learning from some of the most experienced dancers in the world. But, with experience comes expectation! Week four has been the toughest of them all so far.  The teachers are really challenging us to perform at our highest level possible every day and to strive for more in every class. It’s that kind of support and encouragement that motivates me to work hard and be the best that I can be!

One of my favorite parts of MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program is the amazing faculty that we have had the privilege of studying under! Each of them is so accomplished and gifted — it is humbling to be able to take class and receive corrections from them. Something that I have noticed in most of my classes here is the emphasis the teachers put not only on making each movement technically correct, but also on dancing the movements. Being in such a prestigious environment has motivated me and fueled my passion for dance even more!

McKenna working hard in the beautiful South Beach studios!

As the weeks progress, so has our repertory piece come together. It’s an honor to have Ms. Maribel Modrono as our Repertoire choreographer. She has set a beautiful neoclassical contemporary ballet piece on our level, which we are very excited to perform in just 6 days. She is so creative and passionate about what she does — it is truly inspiring to learn from her!

After a long day of rehearsals, my roommate and I love nothing more than being able to walk right out the doors and on to the beach! We spend our free time shopping on Lincoln Road, trying new foods and of course, soaking up the sun. Celebrating my birthday here was also a once in a lifetime treat.

Relaxing after HOURS of dance class!

Overall, MCB School’s Summer Intensive Program has been an eye opening journey for me that I will never forget. The friends I have made here I will cherish forever. The corrections I have received I will take back home with me and continue to perfect. I have grown as not only a dancer, but also as a young woman here this summer and had the experience of a lifetime!

Yours truly,

McKenna Collins

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.

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.

Our 5-Week Intensive Caught on Instagram

With the company out for the summer, students from across the country have flocked to our studios for MCB School’s 5-Week Summer Intensive Program. These ambitious students will train rigorously, six days per week, taking a range of dance classes including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, variations, and pas de deux, among other classes, for five weeks strait! At the end of the program, these students will showcase how their hard worked has paid off in performance on July 26. And to capture all of the action on Instagram is … Michael Holden! In addition to attending the summer program, Michael is a part of the pre-professional year-round program at MCB School. Knowing the ropes here at MCB, Michael will document these next five weeks and reveal the discipline, endurance and passion it takes to be an aspiring dancer making his or her way through one intensive ballet program! Follow Michael at #MichaelMCBphotos!

Michael with MCB School student Mayumi Enokibara posing for Paquita. Photo © Daniel Azoulay.

Fun Fact about Michael: His dream vacation is to visit to Denmark, where his grandfather is from!

Want a sneak peek of our Summer Programs? Enter the studios of MCB School in our latest video featuring an interview with MCB School Director Darleen Callaghan.

Ella Titus captures MCB School on Instagram!

While the company is off for the summer, aspiring ballerina Ella Titus from MCB School will be taking over our Instagram feed this week! She will be snapping behind-the-scenes shots of MCB School students preparing for their upcoming Student Showcase, May 17-19.  The Student Showcase celebrates the hard-work, hours of training, and dedication that these outstanding students withstand each year in pursuit of becoming professional dancers.  Follow Ella #EllaMCBphotos to check out the dance stars of tomorrow!

Ella Titus in costume for Petipa's Paquita.

Fun Fact about Ella: Ella’s first performance with Miami City Ballet was when she was 7 years old. She was an angel in The Nutcracker and principal dancer Jennifer Kronenberg was the Sugar Plum Fairy! For five years, she performed MCB’s Nutcracker in her hometown Clearwater, Florida, when she was a little girl.

Ella Titus as a little girl in MCB's The Nutcracker

Follow Ella for the most up-to-date action at MCB School and watch her onstage during the Student Workshop performances, May 17-19, at the in-house Lynn & Luis Wolfson, II Theatre, right here in our Miami Beach studios!

Back to MCB School

Post by Vanessa Woods, MCB School Resident Assistant

It’s the hump week in Miami City Ballet’s 5-week Summer Intensive Program. The bus ride on the way to the studio this morning was eerily quiet with sleeping ballet dancers, however by mid day, there is an energy buzzing through the air. I am one of the six chaperones living at the University of Miami with the 120 students. It’s almost surreal being back here because 10 years ago I came to this very summer program as a student. Then in 2006 I came back and studied here year-round before landing my first job. I have been dancing professionally ever since, currently with the Saint Louis Ballet. In an ever-changing world, it seems not much has changed here. It still has the incredible teachers, staff and fellow dancers who all come together to make this program a unique and a valuable learning experience.  Sixteen-year-old McKenna Karnes says that getting to have classes with so many different teachers is a real highlight. The real standout teacher is Mr. Edward Villella himself whom the girls got giddy talking about. They describe him in awe, saying, “he’s not scary” and love how he dances to the music throughout class.

The 2012 RAs! (I'm the second on the left)

After powering through a semi slow-moving first two weeks, little time elapses before friendships emerge that seem life-long. At the studio, students are focused but have a real sense of camaraderie as they lounge around the hallways resting or changing shoes in between their rigorous 4-5 classes a day. When we get back to the dorms, rare do I find a student not huddled in among a group of giggling bun-heads.  Regularly, you catch a gaggle of them flocking from the dining hall to scamper off to the pool, TCBY, Starbucks or some other popular close by destination. Last Wednesday broke up the busy week with our July 4th IndepenDance cruise. Packed into a two-story boat, the students dressed to the nines parade aboard after concluding a full day of classes at the studio. Soon, there is a pile of shoes growing and sweaty dancers crowd the top level of the boat for non-stop dancing leading up to the breathtaking fireworks overlooking the water. Even with training some six hours a day, it seems the students always have a reserve of energy saved for the lucky chaperones at night.

Hanging out on Biscayne Bay

By week three, the ever-important act of icing becomes key and many dancers are seen waltzing around the dorms with bags of ice for their various ailments. After a week of hard work and limited sightseeing, the students are able to sign up for exciting weekend excursions. Last weekend we went to Lighthouse Beach at Key Biscayne and Parrot Jungle. On Saturday’s beach trip, we unloaded our busses-o-ballerina and after turning a few heads, the dancers enjoy some sun on the sand, turquoise warm waters and traditional Dominican snacks under a shady pavilion.  With the snorkeling and Spiderman in IMAX trips this weekend combined with the end of program show just weeks away, the students have much to look forward to. After ten years since doing this summer intensive, I am amazed at how quickly the adaptation process to this whole type of program takes place. With quick adjustment to dorm life, dancing all day, making new friends, having roommates and eating cafeteria food, one would think these students have been doing this for years…then you realize, with this kind of talent, many of them have.  Still, there are some adjustments no amount of experience can prepare you for. When asked what she misses most about home life, 16 year old Morgan Povinelli says with smiling conviction, “home cooked meals”.

Remembering MCB School Days – Ashley

Post by Ashley Knox, MCB Corps de Ballet

Performing in Miami City Ballet School’s Showcase was a defining moment in my life. The experience helped me make the decision to become a professional dancer. This may seem late to other aspiring or professional dancers, but at that point in my life I was still undecided between college and ballet. My mind started to change once I stepped on stage. It was as if I had stepped into a dream, a dream not everyone has the chance to live.

Ashley Knox (as a student) in Serenade. Choreography © George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.

That year we performed at The Jackie Gleason Theater, now known as the Fillmore. I was cast as the “Russian Girl” in George Balanchine’s Serenade. It was such a challenging role, very technical with high leaps and fast turns. I developed so much as a dancer with the opportunity of working with Nancy Raffa and Eric Quillier. Within the school environment I was able to slowly build strength and confidence over months of rehearsing. The hard work definitely paid off. By the time we were in the theater, I was ready and so excited! I loved, and still love, every aspect of performing — from preparing my shoes to applying my stage makeup and feeling the adrenaline rush while the overture begins. I had such a wonderful time dancing with my friends to the music of Tchaikovsky in beautiful long light blue tutus…what a dream. I remember one moment in particular, just before the “Russian Dance” in the ballet. The “Russian Girl” advances forward through the other dancers as if time has stopped only for her. She appears to have no awareness of her surroundings as the other corps girls cross in front and behind her. It was my favorite part and I remember thinking “take this all in, this may be your last time dancing on stage.” A chill came over me and I danced like I had never danced before. Then and there I realized I couldn’t possibly give this up! Ten years later I am still dancing with Miami City Ballet. I often think of my experience in the School to remind myself why I dance: because I love being a part of the magic. I hope that I help enchant the audience and take them to another world. I am so grateful to Edward and Linda Villella for their dedication to the School and to the Company. I would also like to express my appreciation for the support of donors. As a scholarship student, I would have never been able to live my dreams without their help.

Ashley Knox in Viscera. Photo © Mitchell Zachs