No Place Like Home
Post by Michael Sean Breeden, Corps de Ballet
When I joined Miami City Ballet in 2006, I was overwhelmed by the embarrassment of artistic riches before me. I was trained at the School of American Ballet, where my fellow students and I would obsessively watch videos of Farrell, McBride, Martins and Villella, longing to be a part of that era. I didn’t know until I came to this company that the vibrancy, musicality and beauty of those dancers and the wonderful ballets was still so vividly alive. MCB was dancing the most sophisticated repertoire with the utmost respect to the wishes of the choreographers whilst imbuing it with their own sense of daring, rhythm and joy.
Making the decision to leave all this to work for another company last season was one of the most difficult I have ever made. After just a brief time away, however, I found making the decision to come back to be one of the easiest I have ever made.
Being away from Miami City Ballet gave me fresh perspective and appreciation for everything we do in this company. I realized that the qualities I thought to be great in this company are also unique to it. There are some things that no audience member will ever really know; our willingness to help and cooperate with one another to achieve the best artistic product, the comradery among the dancers, the extra care and time we spend learning the history of the ballets, seeking extra information that might enhance our performance. But there are the many, many things which our audience is privy to every evening MCB takes the stage; the richness and quality of movement, the speed and musicality, the detail and nuance that each performer in our company brings to their roles.
Last year I was fortunate enough to be brought back to MCB as a guest in the pas de trois of Ballet Imperial. The experience of performing the ballet was wonderful in all the ways that performing a great ballet with your closest friends promises to be, but it was watching the ballet from the front on my show off that was the more revealing experience.
I could have picked out any one of the 24-strong corps de ballet to watch for the duration of the ballet and it would have been wholly satisfying. Yet, watching them all together, immersing themselves in Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music and Balanchine’s pristine and elegant steps, took me to a place I have never experienced in live theater. Leading the charge was Jeanette Delgado, in her debut in the role, energizing the corps de ballet and setting fire to the famously virtuosic and tricky steps. Famed dance critic Arlene Croce was also in the audience and she told me that, having seen many of the ballet’s performances in its more than 60 year history, she thought this to be the definitive performance of its entire existence.
After all those years wishing I could have been dancing in an era long gone, it was watching this performance that I finally gave in. The only time I want to be dancing in is the present, with this company, alongside my wonderful friends and peers.
There is a wonderful season ahead of us that I can’t wait for our audience to see. Les Patineurs challenges its dancers with stamina-pushing classicism, Piazzolla Caldera promises to showcase the individuality and versatility of our company and Apollo is classic Balanchine that MCB can pull off like no other company. Having now witnessed their magic for myself, I’m so grateful to be back dancing with these incredible artists. I know that the transcendent experience I had watching Ballet Imperial is a gift the company will be giving again and again throughout this year.