A Conversation with Principal Conductor Gary Sheldon – Part 1

As we wrap up our 25th Anniversary Season, we are so grateful for such a wonderful year and all the things that came along with it — including the grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Knight Arts Challenge that made having live music possible once again. With live music came principal conductor Gary Sheldon! We recently chatted with Gary about his move down to sunny Miami Beach and his time here with MCB.

Check out the first of this two part series.

A Special Relationship

Dancers have often expressed how amazing it is to have live music during performances again! There’s a special relationship that develops between the dancers and the orchestra that makes a world of difference, not only for the performers but for the audience as well. It changes everything. Some of the dancers shared with us some tidbits on this special relationship.

This was all made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Knight Arts Challenge. The 2011 challenge is already underway. You too can see your ideas come to life. The Knight Arts Challenge is accepting applications from organizations or individuals! Click here to apply. Hurry, the deadline is tomorrow, March 2.

The missing link

Post by Principal Dancer Jennifer Kronenberg

I can only imagine how very excited our patrons and audience members were to learn that Miami City Ballet has been awarded a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation (as part of its Knight Arts Challenge) that will allow us to perform with orchestral accompaniment for the next three seasons. But they should know how thrilling this news is for me and the other dancers as well! The elated feeling that most dancers get when performing to live music is almost indescribable. For as much as it enhances a performance from an audience member’s perspective, the experience that it gives performers is immeasurable. It truly brings the ballet to life…it is the last piece of the puzzle…the missing link that adds a fourth dimension to the performance for everyone.

Dancing to live music really keeps us “on our toes,” so to speak. We are forced to be completely present, aware and “in” the moment at all times; listening carefully for any changes in tempi. We are not at all permitted to function on “automatic,” as we sometimes do subconsciously, simply dancing to a recording that we rehearse to everyday. We adore the challenge presented when with an orchestra — we are forced to dance with the music-as one would dance with a partner. It certainly makes our performing experience all the more alive and enjoyable. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to connect with and really feel the music that is accompanying me. It is a great partnership that exists between the musicians, the conductor, and the dancers, providing a uniquely whole and fulfilling performance for everyone. Having an orchestra for our upcoming seasons will be a gift for all of the dancers, as well as for the audience, and I, for one, am glad that we’re being given our missing link back!

Jennifer Kronenberg in La Sonnambula. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Joe Gato.

See La Sonnambula in Program II of the 25th Anniversary Season. Don’t miss out on what promises to be an extraordinary year — complete with the return of Opus One Orchestra! Get your season tickets now to make sure you have the best seats in the house. Click here for more information.