LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

This Week at MCB—YoungArts Salon Series & Justin Peck in Studio

It’s been an exciting week at Miami City Ballet. Our dancers are wrapping up an intense few weeks in the studio rehearsing with choreographer Justin Peck, where they’ve been learning a brand-new ballet that will premiere during the final program of the 2014-2015 Season in March.

Justin and Sufjan on stage at the YoungArts Salon Series. Photo via Miami City Ballet Instagram.

Justin and Sufjan on stage at the YoungArts Salon Series. Photo via @miamicityballet on Instagram.

After getting a sneak peek into yesterday’s rehearsal, our team headed over to watch Justin speak at the YoungArts Salon Series in downtown Miami. During the discussion, titled, “The Art of Collaboration,” Justin, along with singer-songwriter and musician Sufjan Stevens, talked about their most recent partnership on the ballet, Everywhere We Go, which premiered earlier this year at New York City Ballet and featured a nine-movement orchestral score.

The discussion was an insightful look into what inspires Justin as an artist. He credits everyday life as one of his biggest muses; his love for experimenting with and mixing different art forms; and locally by the street art throughout Miami’s Wynwood and downtown neighborhoods.

In fact, the new work he’s choreographing on our dancers—Justin’s second with the Company—will showcase art design by the popular street artist Shepard Fairey – best known for his work on the Obama Hope poster and his large murals adorning local streets and establishments such as the Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.

MCB Dancers in studio with Justin. Photo via @bexking on Instagram.

MCB Dancers in studio with Justin. Photo via @bexking on Instagram.

In a recent post on the MCB blog, dancer Michael Breedan notes, The company has developed a passion for new choreography in the past years, with choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett making works on us. Justin’s new work promises to fulfill its dancers and audiences in the same way those great choreographers did. His ballets abound with fresh, exciting and innovative use of the corps and so many visually striking dance images that repeated viewings are practically a must. He has a musical response that actually enhances the score, rather than uses it for effect. Each step in his works unfolds naturally, with fluidity, grace and style.”

Our dancers wrap up rehearsal with Justin today, and we must say, we can’t wait for the finished product! 

Learn more about choreographer Justin Peck here.

And make sure to follow us on Instagram for exclusive looks into rehearsal with our dancers!

 

 

Dancers’ Picks of Next Season

Our 2013-2014 Season has just come to a close, but we are already gearing up for the new season ahead! Our dancers return to the studios on June 9th to begin learning next season’s ballets, starting with up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck’s new work with street artist Shepard Fairey! Below, corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden shares his excitement about the ballets he can’t wait to perform.

Dancer

Michael Breeden

As one season comes to a finish and we reflect on the transcendent moments experienced onstage, it’s impossible for us dancers to not imagine all that’s in store next year. With the 2014-2015 Season beginning in June, we don’t have to wait too long before we get our hands on the most anticipated works of the year.

For me, there are some obvious highlights. Two great Balanchine works, ‘Symphony in Three Movements’ and ‘Allegro Brillante’, are back in the repertoire for the first time since 2009. Though the two works came from one great mind, they are alike only in the fact that they are brilliant works set to genius compositions (‘Allegro’ to music by Tchaikovsky, and ‘Symphony in Three’ to music by Stravinsky). ‘Allegro’ is Balanchine’s full-out essay on classicism as captured in 12 minutes. ‘Symphony in 3′ is a massive work with kaleidoscopic formations utilizing the entire company, as the dance echoes the driving score. I’ve danced both of these works before and every time they come back, I love them more. Balanchine’s genius continually reveals itself with each performance to both dancers and audience members, and it’s an experience I never take for granted.

Balanchine

Miami City Ballet dancers in Symphony in Three Movements. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Joe Gato.

Dancer

Jeanette Delgado in Allegro Brillante. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Alexandre Dufaur.

Balanchine works are a company staple that I always looks forward to, but choreography tailor made for the company is less frequent. The ballet I’m looking forward to most next season is a world premiere by Justin Peck, appearing during Program IV: Points of Departure. The company has developed a passion for new choreography in the past years, with choreographers like Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett making works on us. Justin’s new work promises to fulfill its dancers and audiences in the same way those great choreographers did. His ballets abound with fresh, exciting and innovative use of the corps and so many visually striking dance images that repeated viewings are practically a must. He has a musical response that actually enhances the score, rather than uses it for effect. Each step in his works unfolds naturally, with fluidity, grace and style.

Choreography

Justin Peck works with dancers Tricia Albertson and Renato Penteado on his ballet ‘Chutes and Ladders.’ Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

Full disclosure: Justin and I were suite mates at the School of American Ballet ten years ago, so it may be tempting to accuse me of bias. While I certainly enjoy his success as a friend and am happy to see him achieve so much at such a young age, I think a single viewing of one of his works is enough to know that bias has nothing to do with appreciating true talent. The wealth of knowledge and creativity that Justin has as a dance maker is just starting to be explored, and I couldn’t be more excited that the next step will be with Miami City Ballet.

Read the New York Time’s review of Justin Peck’s most recent work for New York City Ballet — Everywhere We Go. Discover the other ballets we are performing next season here and lookout for Michael onstage!

Dancer Appearances this Summer!

For most of us, summertime means relaxing vacations, spending time with friends and family, or simply slowing down to relish in the lazy summer heat. For our dancers, summertime means something quite different! While many take advantage of a quick trip for travel or sentimental homecoming, most of them ramp up for a series of guest appearances with other dance companies and teaching gigs at dance studios nationwide. Here is a look at where some of our dancers are performing and teaching this summer!

Thursday, May 1 from 6:15pm-8:15pm:
Rebecca King will be teaching a master class at The Dancers Studio in Stuart, FL. She will also be teaching students sections for George Balanchine’s beloved classic, Serenade. For more information, call 722.692.7125 or visit their Facebook page! We asked Rebecca why she enjoys teaching during her summer months off, and here is what she had to say:

As professional dancers we spend most of our time in the studio.  But, it’s not every day that we get to stand in the front of the studio, essentially switching roles. It may seem that students get the most from their teachers, but in my case, I always find that I learn so much from these young pupils. Watching their thought process and work ethic is not only inspiring to me, but educational as well.  Seeing them take a correction and apply it to their dancing and witnessing a change, is extraordinarily rewarding. I am so looking forward to this collaborative learning experience.  


Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4:
Reyneris Reyes
and Tricia Albertson will be performing Cinderella in Fredrick, MD with the Maryland Regional Ballet. For more information click here.

Christopher Wheeldon

Tricia Albertson and Reyneris Reyes in ‘Polyphonia.’


Monday, May 5:
Patricia Delgado
will be performing at the 4th Annual Dance Against Cancer Benefit in New York City. She is dancing Justin Peck’s Sea Change — a ballet to a touching piano piece by Shubert that he choreographed on Patricia and three dancers from New York City Ballet last summer in Nantucket. Read more about the benefit here.

Patricia has also been guest teaching at the Manhattan Youth Ballet in New York City. Here’s what she had to say about her teaching experience, “Had my first classes this week and had the best time! I love getting to work with young and energetic driven kids who are so enthusiastic and eager for information. It’s so inspiring!”

Dance teacher

Patricia teaching at MCB School’s 2012 Summer Intensive.

Monday, May 5 – Sunday, June 1:
Shimon Ito and Emily Bromberg will make guest appearances together in a series of performances, including Festival Ballet Providence’s production of Peter Pan (May 16-18), a performance of Liam Scarlett’s Viscera with Route 11 Dance Festival in Virginia (May 5-10), and Act III of Sleeping Beauty in New York City with Asaka Ito Ballet School — Shimon’s mother’s dance studio (June 1)! And the best part, Emily’s four-legged friend ‘Puck’ will be joining them for the entire adventure!

Ballet jump

‘Puck’ is used to hanging out with dancers. Here he is with dancer Jovani Furlan from our photo shoot with photographer Jordan Matter.

Friday, May 16 – Sunday, May 18:
Ariel Rose will be returning to his home studio Ballet Academy East for a guest performance with their studio company in Balanchine’s La Source. For more information click here.

Friday, June 6 – Sunday, June 8:
Michael Breeden will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Pennsylvania Ballet at the Kennedy Center. Michael is particularly excited for this performance, as he will be back onstage with several Miami City Ballet and School of American Ballet alum who he hasn’t danced with in years! For more information click here.

Monday, July 14 – Friday, July 18:
Tricia Albertson will be teaching at the Toledo Ballet in Toledo, OH, followed by Renato Penteado, who will also be teaching there from Monday, July 28 – Friday, August 1.

As you see, our dancers are very busy over the next couple of months. We can’t wait until they return to our studios on June 9th to start learning Justin Peck’s new work, which will debut next season! Learn more about the new season here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Creative Exchange of Music and Dance

After visiting a rehearsal at Miami City Ballet studios, New World Symphony (NWS) fellows began meeting regularly with a group of our dancers to examine the relationship between sound and movement, resulting in a creative exchange between the talented young artists. Corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden explains how this organic relationship will materialize onstage in the very near future!

Michael Breeden

Michael Breeden

Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony have long been the two pillars of Miami’s arts world, attracting acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The dancers and musicians work in the same neighborhood, frequent each other’s performances, and have always expressed how wonderful it would be to work together. After decades as South Florida’s premier arts organizations, it is with great excitement that we prepare for our first full-evening performance together on March 18th — a creative exchange between the dancers of Miami City Ballet and the fellows of New World Symphony.

The two organizations agreed that New World Symphony’s free Inside the Music program would be an ideal outlet for featuring the creativity of the dancers and the musicians. Soon, a small group of artists from each organization were brainstorming on programming, the evening’s format, and the myriad other decisions that go into bringing an evening of music and dance to life. The musicians suggested works they wanted to play, dancers stepped up to choreograph, and we began to work feverishly at putting together a performance almost entirely in our spare time.

photo 2

Adriana Pierce and Leigh-Ann Esty work on a rehearsal schedule for the dancers and musicians.

Adriana Pierce and Leigh-Ann Esty work on a rehearsal schedule for the dancers and musicians.

Even though both the musicians and dancers are extremely busy with their individual seasons, an opportunity like this simply couldn’t be passed up. As the performance date approaches and the final touches come together, the excitement among the dancers is palpable. This is an event Miami arts lovers will not want to miss, as well as the beginning of a long and fruitful artistic relationship!

-Michael

NWS fellows sitting in on company class.

NWS fellows sitting in on company class.

Inside the Music on March 18 will feature nearly 30 of our dancers, seven of whom — Renan Cerdeiro, Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty, Adriana Pierce, Ariel Rose, Eric Trope and Zoe Zien — will debut original choreography created specifically for the event! More details and information on the performance here!

Meet the Toy Soldier!

In the first act of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Uncle Drosselmeyer reveals three large gifts. Watch our latest video to find out what’s inside!

Get your tickets soon to America’s #1 Holiday Spectacular! CLICK HERE

Adrienne Arsht Center: Dec. 19-24
Kravis Center: Dec. 27-30
Broward Center: Jan. 3-5

MCB Summer: Michael Breeden in LONDON!

Corps de ballet dancer Michael Breeden tells all about his trip to London and Liam Scarlett’s newest creation as part of our ‘MCB Summer’ series.

Michael Breeden

After the rigors and ecstasies of a season at Miami City Ballet have ended, it has become something of a tradition for me to take a trip to Europe to decompress and soak in the art that we don’t often get a chance to see while we are kept busy dancing. I chose London as my destination this year, having become close to the immensely talented choreographer Liam Scarlett during the creation of his ballets Viscera and Euphotic. I would be arriving just in time for the Royal Ballet’s world premiere of his first full-length Hansel and Gretel.

Off to London!

Attending with my fellow MCB dancer Ezra Hurwitz (my partner Neil Marshall was unfortunately unable to come), we did not know what to expect. I knew the ballet was to be performed in the round (which is highly unusual), in a black box theater to an original score by a man used to working in film and television. Liam’s works for MCB have been highly classical in structure and dance vocabulary, so I was impressed and surprised when Hansel and Gretel turned out to be completely outside the the range of what I’d seen Liam do and, indeed, what I’ve seen most anyone do in the realm of ballet.

Set in the 1950′s, Liam explored a dark, seedy world where the protagonists are left to fend for themselves when their alcoholic father and indifferent sexpot stepmother prove to be inept to care for them. Gretel, the older sister, has grown up quickly and protects Hansel whenever necessary. The Witch, rather than being comically ugly or cruel, is a fully fleshed out character, a nightmarish result of child abuse and psychosis, but with a childish demeanor that appeals to Hansel and Gretel and lures them into his lair. Liam also introduces the Sandman as a second villain, goading the Witch to be more cruel, more exacting in his torture.

The second act proves to be as suspenseful and squirm-inducing as a well-constructed Hollywood thriller (think ‘Silence of the Lambs’ or ‘Seven’). Particularly grotesque is the sexual tension that arises between the Witch and Hansel. The seemingly cynical ending implies that Hansel and Gretel are perhaps doomed to end up as dissatisfied with life as their parents, leaving one uneasy. This is a production for adults, through and through.

Seeing Liam expand his range and challenge my own ideas about what is or isn’t appropriate for the ballet stage proved to be a valuable experience. Its the kind I relish having while on break, so I have time to digest it and ruminate about what it means to me about my own approach to art and my own thoughts and opinions on ballet, specifically. It was a perfect way to kick off the summer layoff.

Michael at the Royal Opera House

Ezra and I also made our way to see a West End production and spent time looking at the Turners at the Tate Britain. Being the consumer of art rather than the producer stimulated my brain in a way that made me ready to return to this season with a fresh approach and new perspective. The upcoming season is a full of new challenges, ranging from the thorny, difficult-to-count score in Episodes to the completely foreign dance vocabulary of Nacho Duato in Jardí Tancat.

Though they may seem a world apart from the art I experienced these past few weeks, expanding one’s ideas and preconceived notions about art is always relatable from one piece of art to the next in a way that will hopefully enhance my own work as I prepare for another exciting year at MCB.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We are feeling the ROMANCE at Miami City Ballet! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we caught up with dancers Michael Breeden, Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, and  Patricia Delgado to learn about their favorite ballet LOVE stories.  Here is what they had to say!

Michael Breeden, Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg and Patricia Delgado

Michael Breeden, Corps de Ballet – My favorite ballet love story is La Sonnambula. Tragic love stories always have major issues separating their leads, like a curse or feuding families, but in Sonnambula, your heroine is literally in another state of consciousness, unable to fully grasp the poet before her. It’s immensely sad, and the ending where she carries him off into eternity is heartwrenching. Not exactly an uplifting Valentine’s Day story, but beautiful nonetheless!

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra in Balanchine's La Sonnambula

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, Principal – My favorite ballet love story is Romeo and Juliet. It is so incredibly romantic – they fall in love at first sight, risk everything to be together, are so deeply bound that they can’t bear to live without one another, and eventually sacrifice their lives for each other. I think it’s ultimately the deepest, most profound and tragic love story there is.

Patricia Delgado, Principal – My favorite ballet love story is Romeo and Juliet.  It has always been a favorite of mine to watch.  But when I got the opportunity to dance Juliet when Miami City Ballet did Cranko’s version a couple years ago, it touched my heart even more!  The ballet takes you on a journey through so many aspects of love; innocent and naive love at first sight, painful and passionate love, tragic love and in the end sadness, with a glimmer of hope that true love never dies!  I will treasure that experience forever!

Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg in Cranko's Romeo and Juliet

Photos: Dancer Headshots © Gio Alma. La Sonnombula and Romeo and Juliet © Kyle Froman.

From Our Dancers to You on Opening Night!

We are thrilled for tonight’s opening of Program II: Tradition and Innovation.  We caught up with some of the dancers before the curtain so that they could share their excitement about the ballets they are performing with you!

Michael Breeden

Michael Breeden, Corps de Ballet, on George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 — “Dancing to Mozart is what I love most about Divertimento No. 15. Balanchine rarely choreographed to Mozart, but the marriage of these two geniuses in the ballet provides a wonderful experience for audience and dancer alike.”

Tricia Albertson

Tricia Albertson, Principal, on George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15“I love dancing Divertimento No. 15 because there are so many opportunities to interact with my friends and colleagues.  I have at least one special moment with each principal!”

Patricia Delgado

Patricia Delgado, Principal, on George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant — “To be able to share the stage so intimately not only with my wonderful partner Renan, but with with our incredible Pianist and Violinist is what I look forward to most tonight.  It is a dream for me to be able to dance this ballet and I can’t wait!”

Renato Penteado

Renato Penteado, Principal, on Don Quixote Pas de Deux after Marius Petipa — “What I like most about dancing this ballet is that Don Q is a very strong male character with a lot of powerful moments like jumps and turns that are very exciting.”

Mary Carmen Catoya

Mary Carmen Catoya

Mary Carmen Catoya, Principal, on Don Quixote Pas de Deux after Marius Petipa “When I dance Don Quixote I feel like I’m connected to my spanish family — I can feel it in my blood.”

Jeanette Delgado

Jeanette Delgado, Principal, on Liam Scarlett’s Euphotic — “Dancing Euphotic feels like an intimate journey. The movement Liam has created along with the mesmerizing music has taken on a life of its own. I am so excited to share this special work with the audience!”

Sara Esty

Sara Esty, Soloist, on Liam Scarlett’s Euphotic — “I cannot believe opening night is here! I thought this day would never come and I can’t wait to show the world our hard work. Being apart of this ballet means the world to me and I’ve loved watching it grow into a masterpiece. Working with Liam has been a dream come true.  I hope everyone enjoys it as much as we enjoy dancing it!! I’m so excited!”

No Place Like Home

Post by Michael Sean Breeden, Corps de Ballet

When I joined Miami City Ballet in 2006, I was overwhelmed by the embarrassment of artistic riches before me. I was trained at the School of American Ballet, where my fellow students and I would obsessively watch videos of Farrell, McBride, Martins and Villella, longing to be a part of that era. I didn’t know until I came to this company that the vibrancy, musicality and beauty of those dancers and the wonderful ballets was still so vividly alive. MCB was dancing the most sophisticated repertoire with the utmost respect to the wishes of the choreographers whilst imbuing it with their own sense of daring, rhythm and joy.

Making the decision to leave all this to work for another company last season was one of the most difficult I have ever made. After just a brief time away, however, I found making the decision to come back to be one of the easiest I have ever made.

Being away from Miami City Ballet gave me fresh perspective and appreciation for everything we do in this company. I realized that the qualities I thought to be great in this company are also unique to it. There are some things that no audience member will ever really know; our willingness to help and cooperate with one another to achieve the best artistic product, the comradery among the dancers, the extra care and time we spend learning the history of the ballets, seeking extra information that might enhance our performance. But there are the many, many things which our audience is privy to every evening MCB takes the stage; the richness and quality of movement, the speed and musicality, the detail and nuance that each performer in our company brings to their roles.

Last year I was fortunate enough to be brought back to MCB as a guest in the pas de trois of Ballet Imperial. The experience of performing the ballet was wonderful in all the ways that performing a great ballet with your closest friends promises to be, but it was watching the ballet from the front on my show off that was the more revealing experience.

I could have picked out any one of the 24-strong corps de ballet to watch for the duration of the ballet and it would have been wholly satisfying. Yet, watching them all together, immersing themselves in Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music and Balanchine’s pristine and elegant steps, took me to a place I have never experienced in live theater. Leading the charge was Jeanette Delgado, in her debut in the role, energizing the corps de ballet and setting fire to the famously virtuosic and tricky steps. Famed dance critic Arlene Croce was also in the audience and she told me that, having seen many of the ballet’s performances in its more than 60 year history, she thought this to be the definitive performance of its entire existence.

After all those years wishing I could have been dancing in an era long gone, it was watching this performance that I finally gave in. The only time I want to be dancing in is the present, with this company, alongside my wonderful friends and peers.

There is a wonderful season ahead of us that I can’t wait for our audience to see. Les Patineurs challenges its dancers with stamina-pushing classicism, Piazzolla Caldera promises to showcase the individuality and versatility of our company and Apollo is classic Balanchine that MCB can pull off like no other company. Having now witnessed their magic for myself, I’m so grateful to be back dancing with these incredible artists. I know that the transcendent experience I had watching Ballet Imperial is a gift the company will be giving again and again throughout this year.

Dances at a Gathering. Photo © Leigh-Ann Esty.

Program I: Fire and Ice will be performed at Broward Center on October 26-28, and on November 30 – December 2 at Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Meet the Dancers – Michael Sean Breeden

Dances at a Gathering. Photo by Leigh-Ann Esty

With fellow dancers Ezra Hurwitz and Neil Marshall by the London Eye.