Our summer in one sentence

The dancers have officially been back for one week! Now that the summer layoff is over, some of them share a one-liner about their time off.

“I cleared my mind.” –Bradley Dunlap

“I helped set Swan Lake on the Summer Program’s Advanced Two dancers.” –Rebecca King

“I traveled to NYC, Canada, and lastly Los Angeles where I went to go see/support former MCB dancer, Alex Wong, on So You Think You Can Dance!” –Cindy Huang

“I married my best friend.” –Callie Manning

“I taught for the MCB Summer Intensive.” –Jennifer Kronenberg

“I taught at the Miami City Ballet School Summer Intensive and rested in Miami with family and friends!” –Patricia Delgado

“I spent time with my family up north and celebrated my grandma’s 90th birthday!” –Ashley Knox

“This summer I ate tons of lobster and enjoyed being home in Maine with my family!” –Sara Esty

“I began studying to get a Florida real estate license.” –Carlos Guerra

“This summer I ‘staycationed’ here in Miami and taught inspiring little ballerinas at the MCB summer course!” –Jeanette Delgado

“I celebrated my one year anniversary with my husband this summer!” – Jennifer Lauren

“I spent my summer becoming familiarized with the subway lines running in and out of Brooklyn.” –Zoe Zien

“This summer I danced in Miami and Seattle, and went home to Southern California to visit my family.” – Chase Swatosh

“I went to Italy and Switzerland and had the best food and wine!!” –Tricia Albertson

“This summer I became the ambassador for the non-profit organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now, and organized a walkathon for October 2, 2010 on South Pointe Park! Come out and walk to raise awareness and put an end to child sex trafficking!” –Amanda Weingarten

“I went to Europe… and Dollywood!” –Michael Breeden

“This summer I spent my layoff with my wonderful family and friends at home in St. Petersburg, FL.” -Nicole Stalker

“Over the summer, I followed a deer into the woods and found a rare white deer to photograph as well!!! It was AWESOME!” –Leigh-Ann Esty

Sisters, and principal dancers, Patricia and Jeanette Delgado vacation together in Acapulco!

Jennifer’s summer update

Post by Principal Dancer Jennifer Kronenberg

A typical layoff period for MCB dancers can range anywhere between two to three months depending on the season. Though it’s wonderful to have a lengthy vacation after a hard season, it can be difficult to go so long without dancing…and income. Carlos and I typically try to find guest dancing or teaching work during some of our time off, not only to provide for ourselves financially but to keep ourselves busy and in shape.

This year, instead of the long three months off that we had last season, we were lucky enough to have just six weeks between last season’s end and the start of rehearsals for the upcoming season. Carlos and I did dance for the first few weeks, rehearsing for two performances we were invited to participate in at the Virginia School of the Arts for their 25th Anniversary Gala. After that we decided that we needed a break and headed off to the Dominican Republic.

Some may find it strange that we enjoy vacationing in tropical places when we live here in Miami and are at an arm’s length from the beach every day. The fact is though, that we just don’t have the time to take advantage of it…and can never really relax when we’re so close to home; there is always something to do or take care of! So, we ran away to hide…from friends, family, commitments…from life itself, and it was AMAZING!

We had such a fantastic time on our honeymoon four years ago, that it set the standards pretty high for us as far as vacations go. I never really expect to have as great a time as we did then…but this time I was pleasantly surprised. This resort was not nearly as fancy, we didn’t venture out on any excursions, and we didn’t have the “butterfly” tummies of newlyweds, but we simply forgot about the universe and enjoyed each other’s company.

Every day began with a trip to the gym (to work off all of the food we ate!). We then spent the rest of each morning and afternoon lounging on the beach — talking, laughing, sleeping…whatever. It was so nice to be stress free, with no agendas to keep to, no schedules to follow. We shared a terrific couple’s spa treatment one day…massage, rose petal Jacuzzi, champagne, the works! We just talked and talked, and I was reminded how very much in love I am with the man I married. We spend so much time together day after day in the studio that sometimes I forget what he’s like as Carlos the person, separate from Carlos the dancer. Well, this summer I remembered, and I’m so glad that I did. He’s definitely my Romeo…dancing or not.

Michael’s summer update

Post by Michael Sean Breeden

The layoff period between seasons is a much-needed time in a dancer’s life. We are able to sit back and reflect on the past season now that the demands of performing are over. Best of all, perhaps, the time off allows us to take vacations that will leave us refreshed and mentally ready to come back for another season.

For the second consecutive year, myself and fellow corps de ballet members Ezra Hurwitz and Neil Marshall have embarked on an extensive European vacation. We began in London, went to Paris and then on to the Cote D’Azur and Provence in the south of France and are presently in Barcelona. One great thing (among the many) about being on vacation in Europe is that it is so rich in art and steeped in its long-held traditions. We often miss out on other art during the season due to our hectic schedule and there is no better time to get our fix than during the layoff.

In addition to seeing major sights, we’ve been spending hours in many, many museums — small and large — with art work ranging from the Renaissance to Surrealism. We wandered through Monet’s gardens and had new-found appreciation for his work when we later saw it in various museums. We stopped in at Dali’s bizarre and stunning house in Figueres, Spain, full of huge-scale works that have impeccable attention to detail. Presently, we’ve been running through Barcelona taking in all the revolutionary Gaudi architecture that seems light years ahead of its time, or any time really.

While architecture and painting are art forms that differ very greatly from ballet, one can still learn much through appreciation. The skill and dedication necessary to have created these masterworks is more than admirable and these are lessons than can be applied to any trade.

We did, however, find time to go to the ballet. In London, we saw the Royal Ballet perform a mixed bill of contemporary and new works. Even though they were working with new choreography, one can still see the great English training and style vividly in almost all of the dancers. It is especially fascinating because it is an almost 180-degree difference in style from the way we dance at Miami City Ballet. They are all about elegant placement and soft poetry whereas we love physical strength, attack and freedom of movement. Even the musicality is different. They often ‘coast’ through the music, gently dancing along the surface of it, while the Balanchinean way is to directly inhabit and reflect it.

Before we jetted off to Europe, I also had the chance to see the New York City Ballet gala, an evening of two premieres by Benjamin Millepied and Alexei Ratmansky. Having worked with Benjamin for my SAB (School of American Ballet) workshop and gone to school with two of the ballet’s principals and many of its corps, it was a particular pleasure to see how much all these artists had grown. While it is nearly impossible to keep up with your peers during the season, it is always wonderful during layoff to see what directions their careers have taken.

While I am sad that my trip is coming to an end, and I’ve enjoyed experiencing the arts and cultures of several different countries, I always come out of a layoff looking forward to coming back to class and rehearsals. This trip has left me feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to be back in the studio.

With Ezra and Neil at Notre Dame

On a boat ride in Cote D'Azur

Pont du Gard in France

Neil enjoying the view

Brad’s summer update

Since the dancers went on layoff at the beginning of May, it’s been pretty quiet here at 2200 Liberty Avenue. Luckily, some of them will be blogging and keeping us updated on their whereabouts throughout the summer. The troupe will be back in June for a brief rehearsal period, but have had plenty of time for fun and relaxing before returning to the studios.

First at bat – Brad fills us in on what he’s been up to during his time off.

Post by Bradley Dunlap

Over the past couple of years I have on-again off-again taken yoga classes. The practice offers great relief to an overworked body. As ballet dancers we spend a lot of time over-rotating our hips and yoga helps to alleviate a lot of that stress. After taking yoga, I would come in to work the next day feeling free, powerful, and ready for anything. I noticed a stronger breath and looseness, especially in my above average tight hips. It was awesome. I was looking forward to a break from dancing so I could spend some time to further my education in the practice. And here it is! It has been wonderful. I spend my time at Miami Yogashala, which is only a few steps from the ballet’s home. Great teachers have gotten me into positions I never knew were possible and I am pushing my body to new boundaries. Along with my yoga, I have been taking Gyrotonic classes from our ballet mistress Crista Villella. Her effort in the class to bring me new awareness is marvelous. I have also been rolfing, which is an intense form of massage to help realign the body. My IT bands [iliotibial bands] did not want to be messed with but David, my rolfer, had no mercy. The effects have been wonderful.

Along with taking time to work on preparing my body for the next season, I also think it is important to relax. To achieve that…..Disney World!!!! Besides one quick day trip, I have never experienced the Disney experience. Dreams really do come true! I felt like a kid and it was great. My biggest worry was which ride was next and deciding if I wanted a corn dog or pizza. I have to say, Epcot was my favorite park with Hollywood Studios in at a very close second. I spent it with my lovely lady Leigh, her sister Sara and my best friend. MCB dancers Callie, Didier, Stephen, and our friend Alan were also in attendance. The trip was perfect — even down to the weather. With three weeks left of vacation and no excuse to procrastinate, I hope to get some stuff done around the apartment like painting and putting pictures on the walls. However Roland Garros (Tennis French Open) does start in 5 days so we will see…