LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Dancers’ Top Moments of 2013-2014!

With the opening of Don Quixote at the Arsht Center tomorrow, comes the closing of another season of extraordinary dance. Each ballet has created a unique experience on our journey to learn more about this rich, multifaceted art form. From the grounded, lyrical movements of Jardí Tancat to the geometric, sharp choreography of Polyphonia; from the alluring dance in the moonlight of Balanchine’s Serenade, to his atonal, yet unexpectedly harmonious Episodes; and from the ‘West Side Story’ we fell in love with years ago, to a story we are still discovering with Symphonic Dances — this season has pushed the boundaries of our audiences and dancers, alike.

As the season quickly comes to a close, dancers Ariel RoseTricia Albertson and Nathalia Arja will share their favorite moments of 2013-2014 and what this year has meant to them. First up, is this week’s Instagram guest and corps de ballet dancer Ariel Rose.

Dancer

Ariel Rose

This season has been quite a memorable one  for me. It was certainly a year in which many things came together both on and off the stage. I believe that this season has been one of tremendous growth, and despite it being my first year in Miami, it feels like more than a year’s work has been accomplished. Joining a new company is always difficult. If one is a little insecure and slightly extra anxious like I am, it can be even more difficult to make a first impression that reflects one’s true identity. There is always a slight need to prove yourself, despite past professional experience. 

To be honest, starting with ‘Polyphonia’ was a bit of a heart attack. Not only is it not a ‘corps de ballet’ work, but it is a very complex piece by none other than Christopher Wheeldon — one of the most well known choreographers in the world, who actually ended up coming in person to oversee a rehearsal or two right before Program I: First Ventures opened! I believe that this experience pushed the dancers (especially the younger, less experienced ones like myself) to grow and mature in terms of our confidence, style and artistry.

Christopher Wheeldon

MCB dancers in ‘Polyphonia.’

I believe another highlight of this season was Nacho Duato’s ‘Jardí Tancat’.  Despite this piece’s earthly and grounded beauty in its presentation, the process of learning and embodying that manner of dancing was another experience that put us dancers in a somewhat uncomfortable place. There were often struggles in terms of strength, stamina, coordination and achieving the right style and ‘look,’ not to mention all the while maintaining our more classical repertoire. I think our struggles as a ‘clan’ of sorts during this process united us more intimately, which in turn gave everyone the support they needed to get through it successfully. Perhaps the irony of this effect was that it bled onto the stage in our portrayal of farmers in the fields of Catalonia, struggling wearily together under the scorching sun, yet never once giving up because of this supportive network we created between one another.

Jardi Tancat

Ariel Rose and Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg in Jardi Tancat

Program III: Triple Threat was incredibly rich in history. Balanchine’s Episodes is a landmark of sorts. It is a work that perhaps although misshapen, archaic and somewhat absent of lyrical sense, makes one pay even more attention to detail and visual imagery. I believe that this program, along with the company’a premiere of West Side Story Suite took us through ballets that our artistic staff and the répétiteurs had very close ties with. I felt that the repertoire on this particular program was very explicitly passed down to us dancers and that despite our achievement in performing these works, we were all mentally enlightened as well.

West Side Story

MCB dancers in West Side Story Suite

Now at the end of the season, Don Quixote feels more celebratory than anything else. Despite people’s varying opinions on the classic ballet itself, it is a somewhat fitting close to this season as we all stand on stage together during the act three wedding pas de deux, watching Basilio and Kitri accomplish the dynamic and difficult choreography. It is moments like these, standing and admiring onstage, that I feel connected. I feel part of something larger than myself. I don’t feel like it’s about my individual ballet career. I feel that we are accomplishing something together. As our director and leader Lourdes Lopez has expressed many times throughout this season, these programs have truly culminated in a journey, not just allegorically but in reality as well. A lot has been accomplished this year —  not just terms of great performances, but also in personal growth and development. I believe what is even more exciting for the audience than seeing great performances is seeing the artists themselves evolve and develop from one season or program to the next. From a personal standpoint, I could not feel more privileged or honored to have been invited to become part of this organization and contribute my small part to the journey it has embarked on. All I can say is “to be continued”. 

Watch Ariel and the rest of our amazing dancers onstage during Don Quixote this weekend at the Arsht Center. More info and tickets here!

Like Ariel and Lourdes Lopez said, each season is a journey. By joining Miami City Ballet for each distinct program, a new artistic experience is created, enriching lives in unique ways. Check out what we have planned for 2014-2015 journey here!

 

Helen Ruiz snaps shots on Instagram!

We are rapidly approaching our final performances of Program II: See the Music at the Kravis Center this weekend. Half-way through the season, we are in the middle of the artistic journey that Lourdes Lopez has planned.  We have celebrated a joyous opening with Program I: First Ventures and are now relishing in the music of four distinct ballets that breathe new meaning into Balanchine’s famous words — see the music, hear the dance! Corps de ballet dancer Helen Ruiz will be taking over our Instagram feed to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our dancers preparing in the studio for their performance and onstage at the Kravis Center. Make sure to follow Helen at #HelenMCBphotos to go behind the ballets and see the music on Instagram!

Helen Ruiz

Helen Ruiz

This season I had the opportunity to dance Polyphonia and Concerto Barocco, which were both very musical and challenging. The fun part about dancing Polyphonia was that I got the chance to work with Christopher Wheeldon! Dancing Concerto Barocco makes me realize how lucky I am to be working in a ballet company that performs several Balanchine ballets, giving the corps de ballet amazing opportunities. — Helen

Helen rehearsing with Christopher Wheeldon.

Helen rehearsing with Christopher Wheeldon.

It is the corps that is the star here and as always, Miami City Ballet’s troupe is not only technically precise and unrelievedly energetic but loaded with self-assurance and character.
ConcertoNet.com on Concerto Barocco. Read the full review here.

Don’t miss the last opportunity to see why critics are RAVING about Program II: See the Music. GET TICKETS NOW!

INSIGHTS: Polyphonia

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!

The Man Behind ‘Polyphonia’

A very important guest is paying MCB a visit! He happens to be the artistic genius behind one of the ballets that is making its company premiere during Program I: First Ventures.  You guessed it! The mastermind behind Polyphonia – Christopher Wheeldon!

Christopher Wheeldon via timeout.com

Christopher Wheeldon via timeout.com

Polyphonia was Christopher Wheeldon’s first ballet that he choreographed after retiring from a successful dance career with New York City Ballet to become the company’s first-ever Artist in Residence. Keeping in line with our theme of “firsts” for First VenturesPolyphonia was also Wheeldon’s first breakthrough work, propelling him into the choreographic spotlight. Wheeldon has now choreographed countless ballets for companies across the country and around the world, including The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet, New York City Ballet and several others. He also co-founded the New York-based dance company Morphoses with our very own Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez  in 2007. Currently he is the Artistic Associate at The Royal Ballet. Critics have deemed Wheeldon as one of the principle, 21st century choreographers actively defining the future of ballet — and we CAN’T WAIT to see what that looks like!

While only time will tell what the future of ballet looks like, we are so fortunate to have Wheeldon here for two days to work with our dancers and witness this progression take place. Capturing it all on Instagram is Rebecca King!

Rebecca King

Rebecca King

We asked Rebecca to share her excitement about having Wheeldon in our studios to work on Polyphonia and here is what she had to say:

Having Christopher Wheeldon in studio with us this week is an absolute honor.  We began rehearsing ‘Polyphonia’ in August and have been working on it regularly since.  Now that we are so familiar with the steps and the music, it will be an amazing and special experience to have the ballet’s creator come in to coach us.  We will be able to hear about the intentions of the steps and the purpose of the work as a whole, which will bring a very special perspective to Miami City Ballet’s interpretation of ‘Polyphonia.’  We can’t wait to see what is in store for us! Stay tuned for sneak peaks into the rehearsal process.

See Rebecca and the rest of the company perform this milestone work during Program I: First Ventures! Get your tickets now!

Adrienne Arsht Center: October 18-20
Broward Center: October 25-27
Kravis Center: November 15-17

Headshot © Rebecca King.

Discover ‘First Ventures’ with Lourdes Lopez

Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez shares the meaning behind First Ventures and why the first program of our 2013-2014 Season is not to be missed!

Begin your journey with Miami City Ballet by joining us for Program I: First Ventures!

Adrienne Arsht Center: Oct. 18-20
Broward Center: Oct. 25-27
Kravis Center: Nov. 15-17

‘Polyphonia’ from Behind the Lens

It’s another Monday at Miami City Ballet and we are kicking off the week with the arrival of Répétiteur Jason Fowler, who will be teaching the company Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia. Corps de ballet dancer Zoe Zien will bring you inside our studios as she takes over our Instagram feed during the 7-day rehearsal process.  Follow her #ZoeMCBphotos as she documents the company’s journey to the premiere of Polyphonia during Program I: First Ventures.

Zoe Zien

Polyphonia is considered Christopher Wheeldon’s breakthrough contemporary work.  After his hauntingly beautiful Liturgy pas de deux, Polyphonia will be the second Wheeldon work that MCB adds to its repetoire. The ballet adds six more dancers to the stage, who dance together as a group as the work opens, then transitions into a series of duets and solos that evoke distinct character and flair — we can’t wait to see how our dancers incorporate their unique personalities into the choreography! Here to teach it all is one of the original cast members from the 2001 New York City Ballet world premiere — Jason Fowler. Jason will help the dancers match their movement to the intense piano music of György Ligeti, and ensure that no choreographic detail is lost in preparation for our 2013-2014 Season opening in October, when the ballet premieres during Program I: First Ventures.

Dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we reveal interesting facts about Polyphonia during the rehearsal process. Watch the dancers in action as Zoe captures Polyphonia and daily MCB life on Instagram!

Check out our latest Pinterest board for a visual journey through Polyphonia.

Flexible subscription packages and single tickets to Polyphonia are on sale now as part of Program I: First Ventures.
Photo credits:
Headshot © Gio Alma.
Miami City Ballet dancers Emily Bromberg and Chase Swatosh in Polyphonia. Photo © Gio Alma.