LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Meet Our New Dancers!

You have now met dancers Brianna, Ariel, Sarah, Christina, Nieser, Eric and Damian. Our last new dancer, but certainly not the least, joins the MCB family as a company apprentice. Meet the final new face of the bunch — Leanna Rinaldi!

Leanna Rinaldi

MCB: Where are you from?

Leanna: Frisco, Texas.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Leanna: Miami City Ballet School.

Leanna performing Balanchine's 'Allegro Brillante' during the 2013 MCB School Student Workshop Performance.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Leanna: A day without stress.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Leanna: Joining Miami City Ballet!

Leanna rehearsing Balanchine's 'Serenade' with the company.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Leanna: To travel the world!

MCB: Indulgence?

Leanna: Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream and The Bachelorette.

MCB: Inspiration?

Leanna: Music and the dancers I have the privilege to dance with!

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Leanna: My faith in Jesus Christ, my family, friends and ice cream.

Leanna with her brother and dogs.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Leanna: Being called upon last minute to perform Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances with MCB.

MCB: Dream role?

Leanna: Anita in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, Principal in Balanchine’s Who Cares? and Duo Concertant.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Leanna: It is such a warm and welcoming environment and all the dancers inspire me to work hard every day! And it doesn’t hurt that it’s on the beach.

See Leanna along with our other new dancers make their debut during Program I: First Ventures!

Meet our New Dancers!

We have only two more new dancers to introduce to everyone! This next new dancer joins the “MCB Family” and also an immediate family member — his uncle, principal dancer Reyneris Reyes. We are pleased to introduce you to corps de ballet dancer Nieser Zambrana!

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Where are you from?

Nieser: Pinar del Rio, Cuba.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Nieser: Raul Sanchez Arts School, with Alejo Carpentier and The National School of the Arts in Havana.

MCB: What companies did you dance with before coming to MCB?

Nieser: National Ballet of Cuba and Orlando Ballet.

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Nieser: My birthday.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Nieser: The day I was coached by the greatest ballet master, Mikhail Baryshnikov.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Nieser: To live in the desert.

MCB: Indulgence?

Nieser: Dance.

Nieser Zambrana

MCB: Inspiration?

Nieser: To see my uncle’s performances.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Nieser: My mom.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Nieser: My first ballet competition when I was 13 years old.

MCB: Dream role?

Nieser: Giselle.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Nieser: Because it’s a big company, great dancers, and I love the city.

Nieser Zambrana

See Nieser onstage during Program I: First Ventures!

Meet our new dancers!

You may have seen this new dancer onstage last season when she was an apprentice with the company. Now, as a member of the corps de ballet, you will be seeing much more of her! Meet Christina Spigner!

Christina Spigner

MCB: Where are you from?

Christina: Paradise Valley, Arizona

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Christina: Miami City Ballet School

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Christina: Doing something adventurous, exploring someplace new, and experiencing new and interesting cuisine with the people I love.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Christina: The moment I was asked to rehearse and perform with Miami City Ballet.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Christina: Opening up a pre-professional dance school that would not only teach ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary, but  would also incorporate an educational component. The curriculum would include kinesiology, anatomy, nutrition, and cross training/body awareness methods, including Feldenkrais and Pilates, and body maintenance classes. This would be my dream to develop healthy and happy dancers who are knowledgeable about their instrument, how to take care of it, and be able to use that knowledge to enhance their technique.

Christina Spigner performing a stunning leap during a MCB School photo shoot.

MCB: Indulgence?

Christina: Anything chocolatey! I have a bit of a sweet tooth!

MCB: Inspiration?

Christina: Danny Tidwell ( soloist with Norway’s National ballet ) and Miami City Ballet’s own Patricia and Jeannette Delgado.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Christina: My family , friends, dancing,and my favorite store Whole Foods.

Having a Dog Gone Good time;-)

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Christina: Every year the company plays Secret Santa and part of the fun  is to reveal who your Secret Santa is in a creative or interesting way. So in MCB’s last performance of The Nutcracker, I was dancing my final ‘Waltz of the Flowers’, and during the part where the flowers  kneel  in a box formation the dancer across from me looked at me and mouthed ” I am your Secret Santa!” I almost screamed out loud — I was so surprised and excited to find out who she finally  was . She put a note in my dressing room saying she would meet me in the ‘land of the sweets’ and boy did she!

MCB: Dream role?

Christina: Kitri from Don Quixote, and my dream ballet to perform in would be In The Upper Room. In The Upper Room is one of my all time favorites and the instant I saw it performed, I dreamed of being  apart of that dynamic and powerful work someday.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

When I first came here as a student I peered into the studio where the company rehearsed and fell in love. I loved the diversity of the dancers, the diversity of  the repertoire  in a Balanchine based company, and was also drawn to the company’s energy and dynamism.

Christina Spigner flies through the air in a MCB School photo shoot.

Lookout for Christina onstage this season when the 2013-2014 Season opens on October 18 at the Arsht Center with Program I: First Ventures.

Meet our new dancers!

Today, we introduce another recent graduate from Miami City Ballet School who is joining us as new member of the corps de ballet this season. Meet Damian Zamorano!

Damian Zamorano

MCB: Where are you from?

Damian: La Habana, Cuba.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Damian: Escuela Nacional de Ballet Alejo Carpentier (in Cuba), Escuela Nacional De Danza Clásica Y Contemporánea (in Mexico), and Miami City Ballet School.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Damian: Compañia Nacional De Danza in Mexico City.

MCB: Describe your perfect day:

Damian: I don’t have a preference. I find something very special and unique in every day I’m blessed to live.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Damian: One of my proudest moments was when I received the invitation to join the company [MCB]. I always dreamed about being part of a big professional company and seeing my dream become a reality overwhelmed me with joy.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Damian: Flying!

MCB: Indulgence?

Damian: I am a big technology fan. I love to see and own new gadgets. Whenever possible, maybe on a yearly basis, I indulge in the latest updates of either cell, tablet, computer or any other new electric device.

Trying out another gadget:-)

MCB: Inspiration?

Damian: Both my parents, who are also professional dancers, are my true inspiration and pride. They have always been there and readily available, helping me and guiding me to do my best. In addition, I enjoy learning from watching videos of my idols performing like Leonid Sarafanov, Ronaldo Sarabia (former dancer with MCB), Carlos Acosta, Baryshnikov, Fernando Bujones, and many more.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Damian: My family, internet, my friends, ballet.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Damian: One of my most unforgettable moments was reaching the finals of a reality TV show called “Ópera Prima” at the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Damian performing Giselle for the reality TV show "Ópera Prima"

MCB: Dream role?

Damian: One of my favorite roles is in Flames of Paris. I feel that this ballet requires a great deal of strength and physical stamina. I trust such choreography could become one of my most desirable goals.

Damian performing Flames of Paris - a role he dreams of dancing again and again!

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Damian: At MCB, I have learned a lot about Balanchine and his approach to this art form. I knew very little about it before. Since then, I have a new perspective and understanding about my profession that I love and respect.

Lookout for Damian onstage this season when the 2013-2014 Seasons opens on October 18 at the Arsht Center with Program I: First Ventures.

Meet our new dancers!

Our next new dancer comes to us straight from Miami City Ballet School! Meet corps de ballet dancer Sarah McCahill!

Sarah McCahill

MCB: Where are you from?
Sarah: Harwinton, CT.
MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?
Sarah:  Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, Albano Ballet and Miami City Ballet School.

Sarah practicing for her first MCB School Student Workshop Performance with student Elias Baseman.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.
Sarah: To win the Powerball!!!!!!!!!
MCB: Proudest moment?
Sarah: When Lourdes [Lopez] informed me I would be a part of Miami City Ballet’s Corps de Ballet for this season!
MCB: Wildest dream?
Sarah: To go skydiving with the love of my life ( haven’t met him yet…).
MCB: Indulgence?
Sarah: Tres leches cake, REAL ice cream, pancakes, cupcakes, sleeping in…I have a lot.
MCB: Inspiration?
Sarah: Happy people, Sylvie Guillem, and Svetlana Zakharova.
MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.
Sarah: My rock — my little sister, Kelley.
MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?
Sarah: The first time I fell flat on my face performing the lead in Le Sylphide within the first five minutes of being onstage.
MCB: Dream Role?
Sarah: Black Swan, no doubt.

Rehearsing William Forsythe's 'In the Middle Somewhat Elevated.' Sarah admits, "I will always be proud to have had the opportunity and the rights to perform!"

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?
Sarah: When I was 13 I told my mother I was going to dance with Miami City Ballet someday (I don’t remember this but she does). She helped me to fulfill this dream by taking the first step and setting up my audition for their summer program. I guess it was fate and a lot of hard work but I finally got in!

See Sarah onstage at the Arsht Center when our 2013-2014 Season opens on October 18!

Meet our new dancers!

This week, we would like to introduce you to another new face — corps de ballet dancer Eric Trope. Look out for him onstage this season, or according to one of his self-proclaimed indulgences, at a late night karaoke bar singing his heart out:-0

Eric Trope

MCB: Where are you from?

Eric: Poolesville, MD.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Eric: I trained at Maryland Youth Ballet and School of American Ballet.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Eric: Pennsylvania Ballet.

Eric rehearsing Matthew Neenan's 'At Various Points' with Pennsylvania Ballet.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Eric: On my perfect day, I’m surrounded by my siblings (all five of them)  in Massachusetts where we used to spend our summers as kids and we’re probably fighting about where we should eat lunch.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Eric: One of my proudest moments was surviving working on a llama and alpaca farm with my sister in Alaska last summer. In terms of my career, getting to be involved and choreograph for Pennsylvania Ballet’s Shut Up and Dance for the past four years. The show raises money for MANNA,  whose mission is to provide meals empowering individuals to battle illness and improve their quality of life.

Llama or alpaca? Eric in Alaska over the summer.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Eric: In my wildest dream, I’m starring in an all male version of Les Miserables alongside Niel Patrick Harris and John Hamm, with every song in falsetto.

MCB: Indulgence?

Eric: Late night karaoke to Counting Crows.

MCB: Inspiration?

Eric: My biggest inspiration would be my father for the way he lives his life unselfishly and modestly.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Eric: Fiona Apple and Avocados.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Eric: My last year in SAB’s workshop, I accidentally wore the lead’s costume for the male regiment of Stars and Stripes when alas I was only in the corps.

MCB: Dream role?

Eric: Phlegmatic in The Four Temperaments, The Statics Pas in N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, Apollo, Tony in West Side Story Suite, Prodigal Son, Fancy Free, Brown Boy in Dances at a Gathering.

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Eric: I am already so inspired by my fellow dancers and their passion for what they do.  I am very excited to be able to dance the company’s expansive repertory as well as explore the diverse culture of Miami.

Hiking in The Samaria Gorge in Crete.

See Eric Trope onstage when our 2013-2014 Season opens at the Arsht Center in October!

Meet our new dancers!

Our next new dancer has been busy learning the Paul Taylor solo in George Balanchine’s Episodes this week. Get to know corps de ballet member Ariel Rose here on our blog, before he hits the stage next season!

Ariel Rose

MCB: Where are you from?

Ariel: New York, New York, but recently moved from Richmond, Virginia, where I was previously dancing with Richmond Ballet.

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Ariel: I trained at Ballet Academy East, Fiorello LaGuardia High School for Arts and Performing Arts, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet School.

MCB: What companies have you danced with professionally?

Ariel: Boston Ballet, Ballet Municipal de Lima and Richmond Ballet.

Ariel performing Coppélia as a guest soloist with the Ballet Municipal in Lima, Peru.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Ariel: Spending the day outside in any way possible during which I can write, draw and casually spend time with friends. Then also cooking up something new and interesting at the end of the day.

MCB: Proudest moment?

Ariel: Dancing onstage in London at Covent Garden in the Linbury Theatre last year with the Richmond Ballet felt like I had really accomplished something. Performing for a foreign audience really felt like we were showing people something for the very first time.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Ariel: I’d love one day to take a really long international ballet tour like many companies used to do in the 80’s and 90’s. Traveling is so important in developing ones own perspective on life and the world. One always comes back a little wiser and more knowledgeable.

Ariel in Sorrento, Italy -- one of the European destinations he backpacked to after Richmond Ballet's tour in London.

MCB: Indulgence?

Ariel: My favorite food is definitely sushi, but all my friends know that I have an absolute obsession with Belgian waffles!

MCB: Inspiration?

Ariel: Some of today’s leading dancers such as Joaquin De Luz, Marcelo Gomes, Jeffrey Cirio and Jaime Diaz.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Ariel: My friends and family. Having people that you know are there for you, for all of your successes and failures, makes life feel a bit safer and better. Especially in a career like professional ballet, life can be difficult at times, but the people one chooses to hold close in their life can really help you through.

He spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin! (Charlie Brown reference ;-))

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Ariel: The silence following the end of a performance of Salvatore Aiello’s The Rite of Spring this past May, on the exact day of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky composing the score.  After the piece’s conclusion, there was a moment of silence because the people were still in shock and absorbing what they had just seen. Then all of a sudden, there was an uproar of cheers and all 2,000 people were up standing out of their seats. It was indescribable.

MCB: Dream role?

Ariel: “The Prodigal Son”, the slave in Le Corsaire and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room — (watch an excerpt performed by MCB!)

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Ariel: For the experience of performing new, but also historic repertoire and to also grow technically and artistically to my personal next level.

See Ariel Rose onstage when our 2013-2014 Season opens at the Arsht Center in October!

Meet our new dancers!

As we prepare for the opening of the 2013-2014 Season, Miami City Ballet welcomes several new faces to the company! Over the next few weeks, we are getting up close and personal with our “newbies” on our blog before they take the stage in October. So without further ado, we introduce you to MCB corps de ballet member Brianna Abruzzo!

Brianna Abruzzo

MCB: Where are you from?

Brianna: New York, NY

MCB: At which dance schools did you train before coming to MCB?

Brianna: School of American Ballet (11 years), San Francisco Ballet Summer Program, MCB Summer Program, Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Program, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the Chautauqua Festival.

MCB: What companies have you trained professionally with?

Brianna: As a student, I trained with New York City Ballet.

MCB: Describe your perfect day.

Brianna: Meet some friends at a local café for brunch, pamper myself with a mani/pedi (I’m a real girly girl). Take a walk around Central Park (I could never get tired of exploring the park). End the day with going to the movies.

Brianna in Central Park

MCB: Proudest moment?

Brianna: When I got offered a position in MCB. I said to myself “I did it!” I couldn’t believe it.

MCB: Wildest dream?

Brianna: Living, dancing, singing, acting and baking in Paris.

MCB: Indulgence?

Brianna: Mac and Cheese.

MCB: Inspiration?

Brianna: Misty Copeland and Tiler Peck inspire me because they are impeccable dancers who continue to improve daily. Wendy Whelan also inspires me because she is world renowned, yet she is still down to earth and genuine.

MCB: Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

Brianna: My cat Armani. He is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met. People who normally dislike cats like Armani.

MCB: Most unforgettable onstage moment?

Brianna: Performing at the Costume Gala in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art surrounded by water in the Egyptian exhibit. It was such a glamorous night and the beautifully dressed celebrities treated us dancers as if we were the celebrities.

Brianna rehearsing with her choreographer for the SAB Student Choreography Workshop

MCB: Dream role?

Brianna: Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (I cry every time).

MCB: Why Miami City Ballet?

Brianna: MCB has a bit of everything; the amazing Balanchine rep that I couldn’t live without and contemporary ballets. MCB also has choreographers coming and staging new ballets quite often. I love that process and it was an important factor for me in choosing a dance company. MCB is also not too far from home, it’s a city (a fun one too), I have relatives close by, and who can say no to days off relaxing on the beach? Everyone in the company was immediately nice and welcoming. This made it one of the easiest decisions for me.

Brianna leaped at the opportunity to join MCB:-)