Remembering MCB School Days – Nicole

Post by Nicole Stalker, MCB Corps de Ballet

I came to Miami City Ballet School in the fall of 2007. I was sixteen, had just graduated high school, and was excited to train at the school of my dream company. I have now been a dancer with Miami City Ballet for four years, and am currently a member of the corps de ballet. I grew up watching the Company perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. I was lucky enough to perform many of the children’s roles with the Company, including my two favorites of Marie and Chinese Tea. Needless to say, Miami City Ballet already meant a great deal to me before I even came to train at the School.

Nicole, as Marie, with her Fritz

Although I only spent one year as an MCBS student, I can honestly say that it was one of the most influential years of training I ever received. The insight and knowledge given to me by my teachers, Carter Alexander and Geta Constantinescu, taught me how to combine artistry and technique, and then apply it to my dancing. They also instilled in me a level of confidence I needed to be successful. One of my favorite performance experiences during my time at Miami City Ballet School was our Student Showcase. I was a member of the corps de ballet in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, and also danced the “Bluebird Pas de Deux” from the classic Sleeping Beauty. Having the challenge of dancing in the corps of a Balanchine ballet one night, then performing a classical pas de deux the next night was wonderful for a student, as the two styles of ballet are so different and need completely different approaches. From my experience, I can say that Miami City Ballet School provides every opportunity a young dancer needs to become a professional.

Nicole dancing with MCB in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Choreography © George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust.

Remembering MCB School Days – Kara

Post by Kara White, MCB Corps de Ballet

Some of my favorite memories from the School are of the preparation for the Student Showcase. Every dancer puts so much energy and focus into the program and all that hard work pays off when you finally perform! As a MCBS student, you get the opportunity to perfect each movement and you learn something new every day to help you grow as a dancer. I personally loved performing the principal role in Square Dance during the Showcase. It is one of the greatest performing experiences and memories I have as a dancer.

Kara White and Andrei Chagas (as MCB School students) in The Four Temperaments. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Alexandre Dufaur.

Remembering MCB School Days – Jessica

Post by Jessica Shults

I look back on my MCB School days with the fondest of memories, and a huge amount of gratitude for the wonderful growth and opportunity I was allowed to experience there. I joined the School in its inaugural year. I was 11 and had just been dancing in Boston over the summer with my aunt. She was also a dancer who actually had performed on the Boston Ballet stage with Edward Villella in her youth. She told me that “Eddie Villella was opening a company school and that I had to go there”- so I did.

Jessica Shults as a MCB School student.

We were still in the MCB studios on Lincoln Road back then and I loved every moment! We would take classes with the Lincoln Road crowd staring in and then finish up the day by running over to Granny Feel Goods or the Cuban Café on the corner for eats. I have always said that the very best part of the School was being able to study alongside the Company. I would peek into the doorway everyday and watch Company rehearsals or Edward teaching class. I gained so much by just observing and I also figured out pretty fast that there wasn’t anything more that I wanted to do than dance with those incredible dancers and work for that amazing, charismatic director. When I was just 16 I auditioned for the Company. My teachers told me to go for practice so that I would be ready for the real thing the following year when I graduated. Soon after the audition I was called into Edward’s office and asked to join the Company on tour to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! I left his office trembling, went downstairs to my friends, and broke down in tears. They thought something was wrong but I was just so overwhelmed with happiness and excitement! The following year I finished my senior year dancing with the Company as an apprentice and continued on to dance for the next 10 years with those very dancers and director that I had admired so much. I am so honored to have had all the opportunities that both the School and the Company provided for me and grateful to both Edward and Linda for their commitment to building such a fine and exceptional arts organization here in Miami, my home.

Jessica Shults © Lucrecia Diaz

Jessica continues to be part of the Miami City Ballet family as a member of MCB’s Upper Room — the Company’s young professionals group.

The 2012 Student Showcase is May 18-20! Click here for more information.

Remembering MCB School Days – Jeanette

With the Miami City Ballet School Student Showcase just around the corner, some MCBS alumni are reminiscing about their days at the School. Did you train at MCBS? Share your memories with us by emailing amartinez@miamicityballet.org and you can end up on our blog!

Don’t miss the ballet stars of tomorrow at Miami City Ballet School Student Showcase – May 18-20.

Post by Jeanette Delgado, MCB Principal Dancer

I came to MCB School at 9 years old and grew up loving and learning all about ballet! I am now a principal dancer with the Company. I wouldn’t be the dancer I am today without the encouraging and nurturing environment that Edward and Linda Villella created at their school! We were part of a family, and it wasn’t until my first class back after a summer program at American Ballet Theatre that I felt nervous it would all change. I was 16 years old and I remember walking into a familiar studio and seeing lots of unfamiliar faces! It was shocking, exciting and nerve wrecking all at the same time. It was the first time a group of students from all over stayed after the summer program to study here for the year! There were some changes — but they were all good! I remember being inspired right away and feeling like I was part of the beginning of something great! Now I realize the best part of that experience was that the place I always loved and felt comfortable at, grew and became more professional without losing the friendly and supportive environment that felt so special!

Jeanette Delgado as a student at MCB School.

Jeanette Delgado as Swanilda in Coppélia. Photo © Joe Gato.