LOURDES LOPEZ / ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Neil Marshall snaps shots on Instagram

Corps dancer Neil Marshall takes over our Instagram feed this week as the company works with the young, talented Liam Scarlett on his second world premiere for MCB. Neil first joined the company in 2007 and returns to MCB this season after one year dancing with Oregon Ballet Theatre.  We are so happy to have him back!

(c) Gio Alma

Fun fact about Neil: According to the dancers, Neil has quite the affinity for baking…especially cakes, cookies and ice cream.  Yummy!

Symphonic Dances Rehearsal

We are just days away from the World Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances with The Cleveland Orchestra in the pit! Jeanette Delgado has recently given us an insight on rehearsals for the new ballet, now check out these images to see the extraordinary choreographer working with the Company.

The new work will grace the Adrienne Arsht Center stage on Thursday, March 1, 2012 for a one-night-only event! Click here for more information.

Inside Alexei Ratmansky’s Rehearsals

Post by Jeanette Delgado, Principal Dancer

“If it’s not about the port de bras, then it doesn’t make sense.” -Alexei Ratmansky.

As dancers we speak with our bodies. At times we get so consumed with how our legs and feet are working that we lose sight of the significance of our upper body. Alexei Ratmansky has reminded us of the importance of each gesture and has helped me visualize movement in a completely new way. He offers fresh concepts, things I’ve never really thought of before and it has expanded my creativity and hopefully my dancing!

Symphonic Dances is very balletic but there are so many unique qualities to each movement. Ratmansky is so specific about exactly how your body should move and what your intention should be that it looks and feels like a completely different style of dance.

In an interview with Dance Magazine, Ratmansky says that “every movement could be done in a hundred different ways.” Here are some of the challenging and exciting intricacies of movement he has shared with us! Of course, our artform is visual and it’s tough describing movement with words, but I will do my best…

- Improvise with your coordination. For instance, making the transition of our port de bras slower than the legs; soft with our arms while quick with the legs and finishing the movement with the arms still reaching softly. Or moving our head and shoulders last, after our feet, hips, and body move to create suspense.

-Paint lines in the air with your hands to make movement more interesting!

-Before running somewhere, feel your upper body falling out, out, out… Reach forward longer than your legs & the last thing to finally fall forward is the leg that’s behind you. This is where the impulse to run forward comes from.

- Play with the shifting of your weight and when to do it. This is one of my favorite things and also the hardest! An example is in a jump called a pas de chat, where he asked us to begin the jump traveling forward and then midway through travel backwards. Normally the jump would  continue moving forward. You also continue reaching forward with your arms as you would normally, another contrast between upper and lower body coordination!

-Think of your legs starting from higher up, from the waist to make your line longer. Also keep your hips croisé more, in other words, never let your body get too flat to the front. This helps to keep a three dimensional quality which is very important on stage.

Keep an eye out for these individual qualities in Symphonic Dances! Hopefully it will be as interesting and exciting to watch as it has been to learn and to dance!

A Conversation with Alexei Ratmansky

On March 1, 2012,  Miami City Ballet will present the World Premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances, in collaboration with The Cleveland Orchestra. Set to music by Sergei Rachmaninoff of the same name, the new ballet will premiere at Adrienne Arsht Center for a one-night-only event. Alexei has been trotting the globe choreographing for top-notch companies this season, but took the time to talk with us about Symphonic Dances.

As part of the program, the Company will also perform George Balanchine’s La Valse, and TCO will kick off the evening with Carnival Overture. Tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime performance start at just $25 and are on sale now at miamicityballet.org.

Reflecting on the World Premiere of Viscera

After much anticipation, Liam Scarlett’s Viscera opened on January 6 to standing ovations, and received rave reviews by The Miami Herald and Dance Magazine. Before returning home to the Royal Ballet, Liam reflected on the World Premiere in this emotional video by corps dancer Rebecca King, which takes us back to the joyous night.

If you missed Viscera at Adrienne Arsht Center, you can see it this weekend (Jan. 27-29) at Kravis Center and at Broward Center on February 3-5. Click here for more information.

A Conversation With Maestro Gary Sheldon on the Music for Viscera

Post by Rebecca King, Corps de Ballet

As we gear up for the World Premiere of Viscera tomorrow evening at Adrienne Arsht Center, we’d like to continue the conversation on the music: Lowell Liebermann’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra.  I had the pleasure of discussing the piece with Mr. Liebermann earlier this week to get his perspective on the powerful score. Today we bring you a conversation with our very own, Maestro Gary Sheldon.  Throughout the season, audience members will spot him in the orchestra pit, leading the Opus One Orchestra.

Mr. Sheldon and I talked a little bit about the music and it’s interpretation through dance:

RK: Have you ever conducted a Lowell Liebermann work before?
GS: This is the first time I’ve conducted a work by Lowell Liebermann.  It’s especially helpful and inspiring to be able to consult with the composer and I’ve had the opportunity to discuss the music with Mr. Liebermann who lives in New York.

RK: What do you see as the defining element of this piece?
GS: I can see why Liam Scarlett was drawn to the music.  The accents and phrases in the music are clearly defined, making it inviting to choreograph.  While the idiom is relatively modern, with clashing dissonances, the form of the music is quite classical, making this music easy to digest on first hearing.

RK: As you anticipate conducting this piece for Miami City Ballet for the first time on Friday, January 6th, what do you most look forward to?  What element, if any, do you anticipate to be a challenge?
GS: It’s always exciting to work with a choreographer on a new work for me as a musician, just as it is for the dancers.  As part of the creative process, I have the opportunity to shape the music in ways that support the dancers and meet the choreographer’s vision.
I always enjoy presenting a new work to the orchestra.  My greatest challenge in conducting a new score is to reflect the nuances of the music as represented by the choreography to the orchestra.

RK: What should the audience be listening for when they are sitting in the audience?
GS: I think that the music will be quite accessible to the audience, as Liam Scarlett’s choreography itself is so ‘musical’.  The choreography mirrors the music in a natural and beautiful way.

RK: You have sat in on quite a few rehearsals for Viscera.  Mr. Scarlett told the dancers how important the music is to his piece, citing it as the main source of his inspiration.  After studying the music, how was the experience of seeing the music come to life?
GS: There is nothing quite as exciting as seeing the music come to life onstage when the choreography is so naturally entwined in it.  Liam has created an outstanding ballet that audiences are sure to enjoy.


Come and experience this powerful piece of music come to life through Miami City Ballet’s World Premiere of Liam Scarlett’s
Viscera! For ticket information, click here.

Naming the World Premiere

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet is about two months away from its world premiere on the Adrienne Arsht Center stage! Before he went home to The Royal Ballet, Liam chatted with us about naming the plotless ballet and finally voiced the name of the piece!

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet premieres in January 2012 at Adrienne Arsht Center, followed by performances at Broward Center and Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Liam Scarlett: The Man Behind The World Premiere – Part 2

Before Liam Scarlett returned to London, he filled us in on what’s been going on with the World Premiere since we last spoke. He dishes on finishing the piece in ten days, designing the costumes himself, and naming the ballet!

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet premieres in January 2012 at Adrienne Arsht Center, followed by performances at Broward Center and Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Jeanette Delgado on Liam Scarlett and the World Premiere

MCB’s World Premiere is officially complete! Liam Scarlett has returned home and the dancers are taking some much-deserved time off. But we can’t get enough of the Liam craze! We chatted with principal dancer Jeanette Delgado recently and she seemed to agree with the rest of the dancers who were thrilled with Liam’s work and presence at MCB.

P.S. – There is a special surprise for Jeanette at the end of the video. Enjoy!

Liam Scarlett’s new ballet premieres in January 2012 at Adrienne Arsht Center, followed by performances at Broward Center and Kravis Center. Click here for more information.

Working with Liam Scarlett

Liam Scarlett of The Royal Ballet spent the last three weeks with MCB working on the World Premiere, which premieres in January 2012. Enthusiasm filled the building, and dancers and staff alike were thrilled with the developments coming from the studios. Sara Esty, newly-promoted soloist, collected some thoughts on what is was like to work with Britain’s hottest choreographer, Liam Scarlett.