LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Adriana Pierce makes her debut on Instagram!

Corps dancer Adriana Pierce is taking over our Instagram feed in the midst of a very busy week for Miami City Ballet.  Right now, the dancers are battling reptiles as they make their way across Alligator Alley for the opening of our repertory season in Naples.  After two days in Naples, the company will venture east to Palm Beach for the closing of Program II: Tradition and Innovation.  Adriana will capture the final performances of Liam Scarlett’s Euphotic, two Balanchine favorites, and the popular Don Quixote Pas De Deux, wrapping up a sensational second program of our 27th season. #AdrianaMCBphotos

Adriana Pierce

Fun Fact about Adriana: Her most prized possession is a framed, signed photo of Liza Minnelli!

Photo © Gio Alma.

Patricia Delgado on Duo Concertant

When asked what ballet she was most excited about performing this season, Principal Patricia Delgado knew right away that it was George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant.

Patricia Delgado

Patricia recounts, “I remember seeing the ballet when I was a student at Miami City Ballet School, and thinking, ‘I have never seen anything like this!’  The dancers simply stand and listen to the music onstage, admiring and respecting it, which sets the mood of the piece so beautifully.  It is unlike any of Balanchine’s other ballets. The spotlighting effects and stylized choreography evoke drama and love, making the piece completely mesmerizing.  Although I have been with Miami City Ballet for 12 years, I have never had the opportunity to perform the ballet, until now.  I always thought it would be a dream to dance that pas de deux, so when I saw it selected for Program II, I thought, ‘I can’t wait!’ Knowing Duo Concertant was in the programming inspired me to get me through my injury last season.”

Patricia also explained the significant role that a répétiteur — someone who teaches a ballet’s steps and interpretation of roles —  plays to the process of bringing specific works to the stage. “Répétiteurs often have personal experience working with a ballet’s original choreographer and are charged with keeping the ballets alive.  The Balanchine Foundation sent répétiteur Ben Huys to stage Duo Concertant and perfect our movement so that it reflects the original intent of “Mr. B” himself.  It’s the most rewarding process for the dancers to work with the répétiteur because we get all of the backstage stories and details of the choreography.  Then you can do the ballet justice onstage and make it your own.”

Ben Huys checking Patricia's costume before performing Duo Concertant at the Arsht Center

See Patricia perform in George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant as part of Program II: Tradition and Innovation, January 18-20, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Photos: Headshot © Gio Alma. Stage shot by Rebecca King.

Naming a World Premiere

Liam Scarlett discusses the challenges of naming a ballet and reveals the title of his newest work for Miami City Ballet.  See it during Program II: Tradition and Innovation.

Leigh’s View of Program II

Post by Leigh-Ann Esty, Corps de Ballet

I am so thrilled to be sharing more photos with the MCB family! It has been such a pleasure taking photos of Program II. I love how each new ballet presents new challenges to me as a photographer. It is neat to be able to dance the ballets and then shoot them with my camera. I hope you enjoy the latest photos I have taken!

The first two pictures are of La Sonnambula. I love this ballet. I really enjoyed taking photographs of it because of the lighting. The set is darker than a usual Balanchine ballet, so there were a lot of shadows cast on the dancers. It made for an artsy feel to the photographs, not to mention a little creepy!

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra dance La Sonnambula. I love this moment because it is the first time we see the sleepwalker. Her presence is haunting and mysterious. I love how she floats like a ghost and captures your attention for the entirety of her dance.

Callie Manning and Carlos Guerra in La Sonnambula. Callie plays the intriguing character of the Coquette. I would love to dance this role someday! The music and flirtatious choreography would be a fun challenge.

The next photo is of Diana and Actaeon. Mary Carmen Catoya and Kleber Rebello star in this beautiful pas de duex that Edward Villella once danced himself. It was so nice to see one of our most prized principal ladies (Catoya) paired with an up and coming young talent (Rebello). Their chemistry was delightful! I liked taking photos of this because both of these dancers have such beautiful lines and make such gorgeous positions that they like to balance in. It is such a joy for the photographer when this happens, because it makes for a more exciting and beautiful picture!

The next few pictures are of the company premier Baker’s Dozen by Twyla Tharp. This is one of the most enjoyable pieces I have watched our company do. I love how it is chill and jazzy. I actually have the pleasure of dancing this piece as well! It is so fun for me to take pictures of a piece that I also dance in, because I know the exact timing of a good picture. It feels like I am cheating sometimes when people ask, “How did you know when to take that picture?” It is pretty sweet having an insider’s look at the piece, learning it well, then being able to capture it on film. I love it!

Patricia Delgado and Renato Penteado dance as the 4th couple in Baker's Dozen. Their duet is fun and spunky, always playing around with each other like old buddies.

Bradley Dunlap tosses Sara Esty into the air for an exciting suspension in Baker's Dozen. I loved capturing this moment!

Yang Zou, Jennifer Kronenberg, Carlos Guerra, Haiyan Wu, and Renato Penteado in Baker's Dozen. This group has some fun energy between them, throwing inside jokes around between steps. This happens a lot in this piece, which makes it so fun to watch for details.

Isanusi Garcia Rodriguez leans on Bradley Dunlap as he jumps into the air, forming a perfect diagonal all the way down to Sara Esty's finger tips. I LOVE this photo! It has such appealing aspects to it. It's neat to see shapes being formed through movement.

The last few photos are of George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, a huge crowd pleaser! I love this ballet! It is so fun to dance, especially the finale where everyone is turning at once. It creates such an exciting atmosphere for the audience.

The corps of Miami City Ballet in the first movement of Western Symphony. This is one of my favorite movements!

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra lead the first movement.

It's so cute to see a married couple dance together. The chemistry is fun to watch!

Well, that about sums up my favorite photos. I find myself super lucky to have opportunities to take pictures of such beautiful artists. This program is quite enjoyable to watch. There is such a mix of different choreography that I find it pleasing for all sorts of audiences.

Enraptured in two major Balanchine roles

Post by Michael Sean Breeden

When I was a young dancer at the School of American Ballet, I became enraptured with the world of Balanchine. I had always known that it was music that made me want to dance, but the steps in his ballets seemed to pour forth directly from the music in ways that sparked my imagination like never before. Each new ballet I saw or learned revealed different facets of his genius to me. I knew that I wanted to make dancing these ballets my life.

The majority of the repertoire we dance at Miami City Ballet is George Balanchine’s work and being in this Company has given me many wonderful opportunities to dance corps and demi-soloist roles in his ballets. In ballets like “Diamonds” and Square Dance there is nothing like sharing the greatness of the stage, music and choreography with your peers who, in this Company, we are lucky to say are also our closest friends. While I have relished these opportunities, I was very excited to have the chance to perform two major roles in ballets by Balanchine done in Program II: Divertimento No. 15 and Valse Fantaisie (1953).

Divertimento No. 15 is a Balanchine classic danced by many companies around the world, and the only major work he ever made to music by Mozart. Balanchine said it was the greatest divertimento ever written and he paid homage to Mozart by accompanying it with some of his finest choreography. The ballet is a classical dancer’s dream, with each step perfectly blending Balanchine’s own choreographic innovations with tributes to past masterwork by Petipa. After navigating through typical opening weekend jitters, I find myself presently comfortable enough to find ways to make each show unique. Trying to fill the music differently or find new moments to relate to your partners onstage is a wonderful way to make the ballet come alive for you and the audience. Getting to perform a lead role in a classic like “Divert”, as the dancers call the ballet, is one of the most rewarding onstage experiences I have had yet.

While “Divert” is a revered classic, the 1953 version of Valse Fantaisie we perform is a gem that is little seen and would be all but extinct if it were not for Miami City Ballet. Having danced the 1967 version of Valse Fantaisie as a member of Boston Ballet II, it has been a particularly interesting experience for me to perform the earlier version. While both have many merits, they are similar only in sweep and lightness; little links the two choreographically. Being able to compare two very different perspectives by George Balanchine on a single piece of music has proven fascinating.

Both ballets have provided me with great challenges and pleasures. “Divert” is a masterful exercise in classical simplicity and elegance, while Valse Fantaisie (1953) challenges its dancer’s stamina and requires them to devour space. While it is bittersweet to be nearing my final performances of these ballets, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope that one day I will find myself performing in them once more.

Michael Sean Breeden and Tricia Albertson in Divertimento No. 15. Choreography by George Balanchine. Copyright The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Sayre Berman of the Miami New Times.

Don’t miss your final chance to see Michael in Program II this weekend.

Miami City Ballet WOWS The New York Times reviewer at Program II

“People leapt to their feet at each performance…after every work there were cheers from all parts of the large auditorium…the company, dancing five first-rate works, was looking better than ever…The virtues of unforced energy and warm enthusiasm are beautifully apparent here…I was struck by how acutely and eagerly responsive to fine details of style these (MCB) dancers are.”

Read Alastair Macaulay’s full review — In Florida, Fresh Talent Takes to the Stage, Along With a Veteran Team

Mary Carmen Catoya and Rolando Sarabia in "The Golden Section". Photo by Alex Dufaur

Sara Esty leaps into “The Golden Section”

This past weekend, Sara Esty filled in for Principal Dancer Jeanette Delgado during Program II at Adrienne Arsht Center. After dancing the corps part in Divertimento No. 15 and one of the principal roles in Valse Fantaisie (1953), Sara had to change quickly into her gold costume and leap into “The Golden Section”.

We talked to Sara about this busy, yet exciting, weekend.

Corps member Zoe Zien dances in Valse Fantaisie (1953)

Zoe Zien took the stage on opening night of Program II with fellow corps de ballet dancers Sara Esty and Jennifer Lauren in Valse Fantaisie (1953). These are very coveted roles since principal dancers are usually the ones who dance them. Zoe talked to us about this very exciting opportunity.

A Trip Down the “Diamonds” Path

Post by Principal Dancer Deanna Seay

The approach and passing of the New Year is an ever present reminder of the passage of time, as well as a reminder to get back to work. No sooner is Nutcracker over than we find ourselves hurtling towards Program II and some of Balanchine’s most deceptively difficult ballets. That the Company will return after the holiday break to perform Divertimento No. 15 is no small feat; Divertimento No. 15 is exacting and meticulous, an exercise not only in beautiful, clean technique but also in perfume, style and garden-party freshness. It should appear effortless and enjoyable, each ballerina displaying a distinct personality while exuding the joy of dancing. Valse Fantaisie (1953) is just as unforgiving as Divertimento No. 15, but where Divertimento requires porcelain perfect ballerinas, Valse needs dancers that fly about with the greatest of ease. The solo passages here move- sweep, rather- from one side of the stage to the other, filling the space with beautiful, full, bounding movement that never allows the dancers one moment of rest.

While I have been trying to tackle the challenges of one of the ballerina roles in Divertimento No. 15, my own special assignment for this program, recently added to Program II, is the pas de deux from “Diamonds.” Even though I have danced the role for ten years, it still continues to reveal its secrets to me. When I first approached this part, I tried to make myself into the dancer the role required- or at least the restrained, perfect dancer I thought was required. Originally created for Suzanne Farrell, there was not much that I could imitate, but I did my best to pretend that I might possibly be as perfect, mysterious and elusive as she must have been. Over time I realized that “Diamonds” is not about restraint or perfection in the least. Suzanne Farrell was known for her abandon, spontaneity, mystery and numerous other wonderful traits, and the perceived perfection she achieved in “Diamonds” came about because she was true to herself and her own way of moving.

When a dancer first looks at a role, it is impossible not to fantasize about how the role might look and the “things” a new dancer may want to “do” with a role. Looking at “Diamonds” now, though, after ten years, I realize that maybe it isn’t about what I want to “do” with a role. The role isn’t mine to shape, place a mark on, or to possess in any way; rather, I am the one who should be shaped and possessed by the role. I don’t mean to refer to my first approach, either, of becoming what I thought the role should be. To dance a Balanchine role is to serve the choreography and the music; to be chosen to present a role in one of his ballets is to be humbled by the responsibility of becoming the medium for which the role communicates with the audience. As dancers, we work to purify our “language”- the steps through which we bare our souls to express the essence of choreographic ideas. To add anything more than who and what we are becomes a distortion…and false.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is about truth. As I study “Diamonds” now, the steps speak to me differently than they did ten years ago, directing me towards a truth that is more elemental than the physical truth of perfect execution. In the past where I felt that I needed to polish each step, I now let the music take me on a journey and lead me places that are products of that particular moment in time. Each day in the studio becomes a new journey down this “Diamonds” path, allowing me to spontaneously respond to whatever magic may be present in the most honest way possible.

Deanna Seay in “Diamonds”.  Photo by Joe Gato.

Deanna Seay in “Diamonds”. Photo by Joe Gato.

Don’t miss Deanna’s performance of “Diamonds Pas de Deux” this weekend at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. For tickets click here.