Our next opening night story comes from corps de ballet dancer Nicole Stalker, sharing her scariest, but most memorable opening night!
I danced my very first Square Dance corps performance on opening night in Paris!! Square Dance is one of the most notoriously difficult Balanchine ballets in terms of both technique and stamina. I was so incredibly nervous, as I was the only one in the cast who had never performed the ballet before. I was worried about making it through the ballet while still maintaining good technique and stage presence. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling I had when the curtain went up and we waited in silence for that first violin note! Although I was terrified, I also consider it one of my most memorable performance experiences. We were all together in one of the most amazing cities in the world getting to do what we love! It is a memory I will cherish forever!
While most dancers are taking full advantage of their one week off before final performances of Program IV: Broadway and Balletat the Broward Center and Adrienne Arsht Center, corps dancer Adriana Pierce is taking over our Instagram feed as this week’s guest photographer. Not only will Adriana be snapping pics, but she is also creating a new work on dancers Leigh-Ann Esty, Sara Esty and Nicole Stalker , in collaboration with poet Barbara Lisette Anderson, for the month-long O, Miami Poetry Festival. Check out how Adriana bridges the worlds of ballet and poetry when our MCB ladies perform Poetic Fusion on Friday, April 12, at The LAB Miami. Follow her #AdrianaMCBPhotos.
We caught up with Adriana to learn more about her upcoming work. Here is what she said!
My choreography is usually derived from images, and so I often find inspiration from text. Barbara Anderson’s poetry has rich descriptive narratives and conjures up a lot of thoughtful imagery for the reader or listener. I’m having a lot of fun in the studio infusing my movement quality with her writing style, and, of course, working with any of the MCB dancers is always a dream.
Check out Poetic Fusion this Friday at The LAB Miami, and don’t miss our multi-talented dancers’ final performance of the 2012-2013 Season during Program IV: Broadway and Ballet.
Broward Center: April 26-28
Adrienne Arsht Center: May 3-5
Our guest photographer series on Instagram continues next week with corps dancer
Nicole will take over the feed starting Monday, August 20th for one week. She’ll be sharing lots of amazing photos from the studios, plus more!
Don’t get left out of the fun – follow us on Instagram!
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.
Artists of every kind depend on their instruments to create a masterpiece. Without proper care and maintenance, these instruments can lose their effectiveness. Ballet dancers’ bodies serve as the translation of our art form, and it is our responsibility as professionals to provide ourselves with the best possible care. Many dancers depend not only on physical therapy and strengthening exercises, but also on post-performance rituals. Although many of us share similar cool down techniques, each dancer tailors a specific routine to meet their individual needs.
Personally, I have found that ice is one of the most effective treatments for a tired body. Icing after a workout alleviates inflammation and pain. An ice bucket works wonders for me after a long day of rehearsals. I fill a bucket with ice and water, and then soak my legs below the knee for ten-to-twelve minutes. Although the process is far from pleasant, I find that doing this everyday at the end of the day during a rehearsal week helps me feel less sore and achy. Another great technique for relieving painful areas is an ice massage. I use this technique twice a day when my patellar tendonitis flares up. The easiest way to do an ice massage is to freeze a small paper cup of water, peel back the paper, and rub the ice block in circles over the injured area. Ice massaging is a great way to reduce swelling and pain quickly.
Icing takes up the most time during my maintenance routine. It is hard to force yourself to sit down and ice when getting home late at night after a performance, but it is extremely important in the long run. After I ice, I usually rub an anti-inflammatory gel on sore areas and wrap them in Saran wrap. Though it sounds strange, placing plastic wrap over the anti-inflammatory gel helps it absorb into muscles more efficiently. Lastly, if I am feeling particularly run down, or have had a rough day, I take Arnica tablets before bed. Arnica tablets are a homeopathic treatment used to reduce swelling and lighten soreness.
Not only is it important to take care of your body using these treatments, it is also important to refuel. Before a performance weekend, I drink plenty of water, eat high protein foods, and sleep as much as I can. Emergen-C packets have proven themselves lifesavers during the hours before a show when I am feeling fatigued. They easily dissolve in water and are packed with electrolytes and vitamins to give you a slight energy boost. Although it takes a process of trial and error, finding the right post-performance ritual is crucial to remaining happy and healthy.
Everyone has a special Nutcracker memory they will always cherish, whether it be a childhood experience or watching The Nutcracker for the first time as an adult. ‘Tis the season to reminisce about those special Nutcracker times. Corps de ballet dancer Rebecca King gathered some of the dancers to talk about their Nutcracker memories in this heartwarming video (which she produced =) ). Check back next week for Part 2!
Want to take part in the action? Leave a comment and tell us your favorite Nutcracker memory!