Miami City Ballet has endured hurricanes and precarious finances. It has basked in triumphs at home and in New York and Paris. And in a city often known for discarding its past, it has not only lasted 30 years, but triumphed.
By Christina Veiga
Twice a week, 7-year-old Camila Rodriguez goes to school with her hair in a neat bun wrapped in pink flowers.
She has to be ready as soon as the school bell rings to hop on the Ballet Bus.
Realizing tuition isn’t the only barrier keeping deserving kids from learning to dance, Miami City Ballet is bridging access to its elite programs by providing not only scholarships, but a free ride.
“That’s the thing: to be able to get out of work, pick her up from school, bring her here, wait — this is like a blessing,” said Camila’s mother, Patricia Rodriguez.
Luring new dance audiences, through cheap tickets and crowd-pleasing variety, has been a goal of Fall for Dance since its inception in 2004. The 12th edition of the festival opened on Wednesday at City Center, and the program, one of the most memorable in recent Fall for Dance history, must have produced at least a few converts. “Did you fall for dance?” asks a discount voucher in the program, urging ticket buyers, a little desperately, to come back for more.
If you can relax into that evangelical atmosphere, and the crowds, Fall for Dance is potentially a lot of fun, even for the already dance-obsessed.
MIAMI CITY BALLET’S 30th ANNIVERSARY SEASON OPENS WITH RED CARPET CELEBRATION, PERFORMANCES OF GEORGE BALANCHINE’S SWAN LAKE, JEROME ROBBINS’ FANCY FREE AND LIAM SCARLETT’S VISCERA
October 23-25, 2015 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami,
November 7-8, 2015 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale,
and November 13-15 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – (September 24, 2015) – Miami City Ballet will kick off its landmark 30th Anniversary Season with a red-carpet opening night celebration at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, on October 23, 2015 at 6:30pm.
Ticket holders are invited to join the company 90 minutes prior to curtain on the Arsht Center’s Thompson Plaza for the Arts for an open-air reception with specialty cocktails, a live DJ, photo ops and a toast to 30 years of ballet. No RSVP necessary.
Program One opens the season with three fan favorites, including Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s one-act version of the most famous of all ballets, set to Tchaikovsky’s most dramatic and evocative score. The program also features the return of Viscera, a rhythmic and intensely physical work created on MCB by Liam Scarlett, widely considered to be England’s most promising new choreographer; and Fancy Free, Jerome Robbins’ and Leonard Bernstein’s breakthrough World War II ballet – the story of three sailors making the most of their 24-hour shore leave in New York City, and the basis for the hit musical “On The Town.”
MCB’s 30th Anniversary Season is presented in loving memory of R. Kirk Landon, a remarkable philanthropist, leader and beloved friend to Miami City Ballet.
Tickets start at just $20 and are on sale now. To purchase tickets or to learn more, visit miamicityballet.org or call the MCB Box Office at 305.929.7010 or toll free at 877.929.7010.
Thirty years ago, the nation’s top pop stars came together to record “We Are the World” to much success; the world of menswear was turned on its head by two men named Crockett and Tubbs; and the first dot-com name was registered. It was also the time when Toby Lerner Anson set Miami’s cultural revolution in perpetual motion by co-founding the Miami City Ballet…
A great ballet company is judged by several achievements, including its number and quality of dancers, variety and quantity of the repertoire, national and global touring schedule and how often it commissions outside choreographers.
Miami City Ballet has all of that, Lourdes Lopez believes, as well as a school where dancers are professionally trained to join the company.
A former soloist and principal dancer with New York City Ballet, Ms. Lopez became the artistic director of Miami City Ballet two years ago, bringing a nearly 40-year career in dance, television arts reporting, teaching and arts management.
She said the company is building on all aspects of what denotes a world-class troupe. “You can’t do it all at once,” she said. “It’s like a student in school whose teachers keep looking at what more they need for a full education.”
In just a short time, however, Ms. Lopez has seen the Miami Beach-headquartered company grow and add layers to its national and global reputation.
Over the weekend, Miami’s cultural institutions welcoming residents and visitors alike to DWNTWN Art Days. From workshops with Miami City Ballet and Mini Comic Book Convention at the Arsht Center to artist-led tours around downtown, the weekend was full of cultural events for everyone to enjoy.
Pictured: MCB Dancer Lexie Overholt and Friends. Photo by Chris Carter.
South Florida’s current rich cultural scene is largely rooted in the ’80s, a decade during which many of the city’s key arts institutions and events were launched, transforming what was largely derided as a cultural wasteland into a city with all the elements of an artistically vibrant community.
This extraordinary burst of civic and creative energy was all the more remarkable in that it followed a series of disasters: the violent “Cocaine Cowboy” drug cartel struggles in the ’70s, the Mariel boatlift and the 1980 Liberty City riots, which famously led Time magazine to dub Miami “Paradise Lost.” Instead, a small group of artistic and civic visionaries, backed by political and business leaders who saw (or were persuaded to see) the arts as a lifeline for their beleaguered city, started the enterprises that would turn Miami into a thriving artistic center. Here are the stories of those ventures’ beginnings, and of the transformation of South Florida.
Miami City Ballet in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. March 18-20 at the Adrienne Arsht Center, April 1-3 at the Kravis Center and April 9-10 at the Broward Center.
Miami’s terrific hometown ballet company celebrates its 30th season with substantial favorites (such as Liam Scarlett’s rocket-powered Viscera and George Balanchine’s exquisite version of the second act of Swan Lake on Program I) and intriguing company premieres (Justin Peck’s breakout ballet Year of the Rabbit on Program III and New York City Ballet artistic director Peter Martin’s Barber Violin Concerto on Program II). But the blockbuster is its original production of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which re-imagines this rarely done, evening-length version of Shakespeare’s magical tale for Miami, with direction by Tarell Alvin McCraney and new sets and costumes by Michele Oka Doner.
As Miami City Ballet celebrates its new season – and 30th anniversary – founder Toby Lerner Ansin keeps dancers on their toes
Miami City Ballet founder Toby Lerner Ansin was thrilled to win the prestigious Dance/USA Champion Award earlier this year at Pérez Art Museum Miami. But she got an even bigger kick out of her daughter Stephanie’s introductory speech.
“It was really phenomenal,” says Lerner, 74, a cultural pioneer whose MCB launched 30 years ago. “Everyone was complimenting me on what a beautiful job she’d done.”
For Ansin, ballet and family are intertwined. Stephanie Ansin is following in her mother’s cultural footsteps as founder/artistic director of the Miami Theater Center, and Ansin’s granddaughter studies ballet at the Miami Conservatory – the same place Toby did.
It was a drippy night at the Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday: The last performance of this year’s Chicago Dancing Festival pretty much laid to rest the notion that a free concert under the stars is necessarily a good thing. Yet many folks — including fully exposed unfortunates huddled under ponchos and umbrellas — stuck it out to the end of this two-hour show without intermission …
… also new was Miami City Ballet, which made its Chicago debut at this year’s festival. Strong and elegant, it brought Twyla Tharp’s wonderfully atypical “Sweet Fields” back to our city: Her company performed it here in 1996, shortly after its premiere.