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!
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.
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.
If you know and love this image, along with several other awe-inspiring dance photos, than you have probably heard of photographer Jordan Matter and his New York Times bestseller Dancers Among Us. This week, Jordan takes his talents to the Magic City to exhibit his work at Spectrum Miami and Select Fair, both running December 4-8th in Midtown and South Beach respectively. During his visit, Jordan will also partake in two live photo shoots with Miami City Ballet dancers Renan Cerdeiro, Jovani Furlan and Emily Bromberg!
The first shoot will take place during the Opening Preview of Spectrum Miami on Wednesday, December 4, from 6-10pm (come before 8pm to make sure you catch the shoot). This will be a rare opportunity to preview Jordan’s exhibit and see how he works with the dancers to capture these extraordinary shots.
The fun continues on Thursday, December 5, when Jordan and MCB dancers hit up South Beach for a live photo shoot on Ocean Drive! Follow us on Twitter #JordanShootsMCB to find our exact location and times to come out and watch the photo shoot!
Jordan already has some experience shooting MCB dancers — here’s a shot of former MCB dancer and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ contestant Alex Wong!
While most of you are digging your nose deep into cookbooks and fighting the crowds at the local grocery store, we are preparing for Thanksgiving with rehearsals of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™!This weekend, we head to Naples for our first Nutcracker performance of the season!Dancer Rebecca King will be capturing the magic of this holiday classic on our Instagram feed and shares how The Nutcracker has become an annual Thanksgiving tradition in its own right below. Follow Rebecca #RebeccaMCBphotos!
We have heard that in the rest of the country the seasons are changing. Yet, here in Miami, the only thing we have noticed is a slight drop in the humidity. (We are really roughing it here in the tropics). So, for Miami City Ballet dancers, the truest indicator of the change in seasons is performing The Nutcracker in Naples. For the past seven years that I have been with MCB, Thanksgiving and Naples have always gone hand-in-hand. Most years we spend Thanksgiving together on the gulf coast in anticipation of the Nutcracker’s kickoff the next day. Being together for Thanksgiving is something that has become a tradition for all of us — creating wonderful memories of spending a very special holiday together as a family.
Nutcracker casting is up on the board in the studios, we are packing our theater cases, and drawing names for Secret Santa — the holidays are officially here in Miami.
MCB Thanksgiving 2012 in Naples!
Experience the magic of the The Nutcracker at any of our home venues located in South Florida! GET TICKETS NOW!
Adrienne Arsht Center: December 19-24
Kravis Center: December 27-30
Broward Center: January 3-5
Nothing brings in the holidays better than Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™! With Thanksgiving just days away, here’s a special preview of the magic we’ll be making onstage to officially kickoff the holiday season. Enjoy!
Last week, répétiteur and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet TheatreKevin Irving visited our studios to teach our dancers Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat. This profoundly Spanish, soulful work challenged our dancers to move differently, breaking free from their typical ballet vocabulary. Dancer Chase Swatosh describes his experience learning Duato’s unique choreography below!
Rehearsing Jardí Tancat and trying to learn Nacho Duato’s distinctive movement vocabulary was an awesome experience. I feel like every time I learn a new dance style, a new technique, or a new physical activity I gain a deeper knowledge about my own physicality and the amazing multitude of ways in which our bodies can move. There were many challenges for me in learning this new style of movement that is so different from classical technique. The movement in Jardí Tancat is characterized by parallel positions, a low center of gravity, fluidity, and gestures of sowing seeds, harvesting, and yearning for raindrops (Jardí Tancat means “enclosed garden” in Catalan). The movement has a heaviness to it, requiring the dancers to stay low to the ground and use the momentum of their body weight and head to link steps together, instead of maintaining an upright center the whole time. This can be disorienting to the dancer in certain moments, but perfectly necessary in order to achieve the right movement quality that creates the atmosphere of Jardí Tancat. We were fortunate to have the ins and outs of this piece taught to us patiently and articulately by répétiteur Kevin Irving. He was a pleasure to work with and really gave us a sense of the spirit of Jardí Tancat and the purpose behind the movement. I can’t wait to perform this piece and share it with our audience as part of an incredible Program II. I hope that you will get as much out of it as I do!
Chase getting partnering tips from Kevin Irving
Renan Cerdeiro and Jeanette Delgado in Jardi Tancat.
Christopher Wheeldon breaks down the ballet that made him one of today’s most important choreographers in our latest INSIGHTS video! Catch the final performance of this work during Program I: First Ventures at the Kravis Center, November 15-17. GET TICKETS NOW!
We are back in performance mode this week, as we prepare for our Season Opening at the Kravis Center this weekend! First Ventures has been the perfect way to start the new season. From George Balanchine’s Serenade — the first ballet he created in America — to Christopher Wheeldon’s “edgy and electrifying Polyphonia“, as described by the Miami Herald, and Balanchine’s joyful, virtuoso Ballo della Regina, each ballet inspires a sense of excitement and anticipation for the rest of the season. To create lasting memories and capture our final performances of Program I: First Ventures on Instagram is corps de ballet dancer Suzette Logue!
We asked Suzette what ballets she is most excited to perform this weekend. Here’s what she said!
‘Ballo Della Regina’ and ‘Serenade’ are two of my favorite ballets to perform. There is such great energy in Ballo and Serenade has a soft but commanding presence that captures you from the moment the curtain goes up!
Look for Suzette onstage this weekend!
Suzette and Adrianne Carter having a ‘merde’ moment before ‘Serenade’ backstage.
For a sneak peek at the ballets we are performing this weekend, check out the following blog posts!
Tonight, the worlds of Broadway and ballet literally collide during our first Open Barreof the 2013-2014 Season. The original Anita from the Broadway production of West Side Story, Chita Rivera joins us onstage to discuss working with Jerome Robbins, while the company gives a sneak peek of the “triple threat” premiere of West Side Story Suite. This will be the first time that our dancers test their signing talents in front of a live audience….and to capture it all on Instagram is dancer Jovani Furlan!
Jovani will not only be taking you behind-the-scenes of Open Barre this weekend, but will also be documenting the exciting work happening in our studios next week with Répétiteur and Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre Kevin Irving. Kevin is here to set Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat – the profoundly Spanish, lyrical work that allows our dancers to kickoff their pointe shoes and dance barefoot! As the former ballet master and head of the artistic department with Nacho Duato’s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Spain, Kevin has intimate knowledge of Duato’s choreography that he will instill in our dancers before we bring Jardí Tancat to the stage during Program II: See the Music.
Jeanette Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro in Jardi Tancat.
Sneak peek of the action on Instagram!
Make sure to follow Jovani on Instagram #JovaniMCBphotos to catch all of the exciting happenings here at the ballet!
Want more on Chita Rivera? Check out our Pinterest Board to see more legendary roles performed by one of Broadway’s leading ladies!
Legendary Balanchine ballerina Merrill Ashley discusses the ballet that made her a star! Discover what makes Ballo della Regina “sparkle” in our latest INSIGHTS video and see it at the Broward Center during Program I: First Ventures this weekend! Get your ticket now!
A special thanks to the Ballo della Regina Committee for helping Miami City Ballet make this timeless work possible!
Michele Herbert, Merrill Ashley, Jacqueline Kott, and Claudia Perles (left to right) after the opening performance of ‘Ballo della Regina.’