Incubator – Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet has got a brand new bag. The company made its reputation on high-quality performances of Balanchine, and it has a strong corps, one of the most cohesive in the country. But while it once stuck with proven masterworks and the infrequent commission, it’s also becoming a lab for new works.

Over the past few years, the company has commissioned distinguished ballets by Liam Scarlett, Alexei Ratmansky and now Justin Peck. Each choreographer made similar musical choices – dense symphonies or concertos by 20th century composers – and used the corps de ballet as a large intricate mass, often set off by a soloist or couple: the individual against the group.

“Heatscape,” the new work by Peck, was the centerpiece of the company’s final program of the season. It was a typical Peck ballet – densely packed musical visualization – only better. Peck chose Martinů’s first concerto for piano and orchestra: a long work of changeable moods from manic to lyric, but one that suits Peck’s innate style.

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Miami City Ballet Gets New Funding

Miami City Ballet announced on Friday that it had lined up $6.5 million in new support as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary next season with a national tour and a new production of George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with a dash of Florida flavor.

The gifts, which are being made by foundations, board members and individuals, will be “transformative” for the company, Lourdes Lopez, its artistic director, said in a statement.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation pledged to contribute $2.5 million over three years; the Ford Foundation pledged $1.5 million over the same time frame, which the ballet’s board agreed to match, and Claudia and Steven Perles donated $1 million for the company to mount the new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The Balanchine ballet has a special resonance in Miami: the role of Oberon was originally danced by Edward Villella, the New York City Ballet principal dancer who went on to become the founding artistic director of Miami City Ballet.

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Miami City Ballet Announces $6.5 Million in New Support

Includes Major Commitments by the Ford Foundation and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Miami City Ballet is thrilled to announce $6.5 Million in new support as the Company heads into its landmark 30th Anniversary Season. These generous gifts support one of the nation’s most prolific and diverse professional ballet companies, an elite pre-professional ballet training academy, and vibrant community-based dance education programs serving the South Florida region.

“This extraordinary support from two national foundations such as Knight and Ford, our Board members, and individuals as we launch our 30th anniversary is transformative,” says MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez. “It is a powerful indicator of our successful efforts introducing and sustaining high-quality art over thirty years and becoming an integral part of our South Florida community. This support lifts us to the next level as an important voice for dance, and ballet in particular, in the 21st century.”

“Miami City Ballet is a company on the move both literally and figuratively,” says Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Susan D. Kronick. “Our dancers are young, fresh, dynamic artists and our repertoire is increasingly distinctive. Our Board, donors, and audiences have been invigorated by Lourdes’ vision for innovative programming and collaborative commitment to arts education and outreach. Our artistic growth and deep community impact are thanks in large measure to these tremendous gifts.”

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MCB Founder Toby Lerner Ansin to be Honored by Dance/USA

Washington, DC – Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, is pleased to announce the 2015 Dance/USA Honorees:

  • Trisha Brown, founding artistic director and choreographer, Trisha Brown Dance Company, will receive the Dance/USA Honor Award in absentia.
  • Linda Shelton, executive director, The Joyce Theater Foundation, will receive the Dance/USA Ernie Award.
  • Raven Wilkinson, whose talent and skill enabled her to become the first African American woman to break the color line and dance with a major classical ballet company, will receive the Dance/USA Trustees Award.
  • Toby Lerner Ansin, founder, Miami City Ballet, will receive the Dance/USA Champion Award.

The awards will be given on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at the Opening Night Celebration, which kicks off the 2015 Dance/USA Annual Conference being held June 17-20, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The Dance/USA Annual Conference is the country’s broadest gathering of dance professionals, offering expertise from industry leaders, enriching professional development, and the tools to move the dance field forward. Early Bird Rates for the 2015 Annual Conference are available until April 17, 2015.

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Miami City Ballet in ‘Heatscape,’ a Fleeting Chase of Romance

By Alastair MacAulay

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — No ballet by the 27-year-old choreographer Justin Peck is much like another; with each assignment he sets himself new choreographic hurdles. But Mr. Peck has quickly become the most eminent choreographer of ballet in the United States — and two particular characteristics have propelled him to the top: the exciting formal architecture of his dances and the kinesthetic thrill of his movement.

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Street Art Takes Center Stage In Miami City Ballet World Premiere

Justin Peck is one of the country’s most sought-after ballet choreographers. Shepard Fairey is one of the most famous street artists in the world. Peck is resident choreographer with New York City Ballet and lives in New York. Fairey lives in L.A. Their first collaboration is happening in West Palm Beach.

Miami City Ballet performs the world premiere of “Heatscape” on Friday, March 27, before taking it to Miami and Fort Lauderdale in April. Hear how it all came together.

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Wynwood Walls Inspire Miami City Ballet and Justin Peck

Commissioned to create a new dance for Miami City Ballet, Justin Peck ran up against a wall — many, in fact. Lucky for him, these loomed among the ones with vibrant colors and suggestive figures that have turned the streets of Wynwood into an open-air art museum, a source of inspiration for the 27-year-old choreographer whose still brief but notable career includes a cache of critically-acclaimed ballets.
Shepard Fairey’s contribution to Wynwood Walls had a special impact on Peck. He endorsed recruiting the famed muralist to paint the backdrop for Heatscape, the world premiere in “Points of Departure,” MCB’s last program of the season.

“Shepard’s work translates well into a theater setting,” explains Peck. “It helps create a whole stage environment.”

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Dance Moves/Adventurous Moves

In a season marked by stellar reviews, the Miami City Ballet scored yet again with its 2015 gala, an evening marked by art, dance, music and serious fundraising at Wynwood’s Soho Studios. Plus, muralist Shepard Fairey’s graphic language informs choreographer Justin Peck’s latest collaboration with the Miami City Ballet. “I am interested in the place I am commissioned to create in,” says red-hot choreographer Justin Peck. “The dancers,  city,  climate, culture and style all play a part in influencing the creative process.”

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Review: Richard Alston’s ‘Carmen’ in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Richard Alston’s one-act “Carmen,” recently performed by Miami City Ballet at the Broward Center here, is the best “Carmen” ballet I’ve seen. That is less a compliment than it sounds: Most “Carmen” ballets are clunkily melodramatic and choreographically dismal.

This one, made for the Scottish Ballet in 2009, has its faults and problems, too. It uses Rodion Shchedrin’s arch arrangement of Bizet’s highlights (including two numbers from “L’Arlésienne”), for strings and percussion; and it follows the basic gist of the Shchedrin ballet (originally choreographed by Alberto Alonso) in retelling “Carmen” as a tale about four people — Carmen, her rival lovers José and Escamillo, and a female Fate figure (who here is scaled down into the Fortuneteller). Its virtues, though, both make it rare among “Carmen” ballets and add to your knowledge of Miami City Ballet’s excellent dancers.

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Miami City Ballet Enters Its Shining Moment Under the Direction of Lourdes Lopez

Miami City Ballet might only carry Miami in its name, but the company actually serves South Florida’s tri-county area: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, as well as Collier County (Naples) on Florida’s West Coast. That’s a lot of ground to cover for one classical ballet company, which comes with a lot of responsibility to such expansive and diverse communities. Even so, Miami City Ballet has not only survived, but in the last two seasons has begun to thrive like never before.

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George Balanchine’s ‘Dream’ highlights Miami City Ballet’s 30th season

Miami City Ballet has announced an ambitious slate of programming for its 30th anniversary season in 2015-2016. It features four company premieres, highlighted by the most significant George Balanchine work the troupe has done in years: the choreographer’s evening-length version of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A host of major and popular dances from the company’s repertoire are also featured.

Dream, on Program Four, promises to be one of MCB’s most ambitious productions ever. Balanchine choreographed the original 1962 ballet with MCB founding artistic director Edward Villella as the fairy king Oberon, and the cast includes 24 children and six vocalists. MCB will bring in two collaborators to help re-imagine the work in a South Florida context: acclaimed Miami playwright and director Tarell Alvin McCraney, who will do the dramatic direction, with renowned Miami Beach-born visual artist Michele Oka Doner creating new costumes and sets.

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MCB and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Launch “Ballet Bus”

MIAMI BEACH, FL – (March 18, 2015) – Miami City Ballet, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the office of the Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, announces the launch of Ballet Bus, a year-round dance scholarship program reaching deep into the Miami-Dade County community to provide arts education and access to students from all backgrounds. The pilot year of the program will target 17 children from District Title I Schools with both talent and need – and provide a long-term investment in each child.

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