Lourdes Lopez, A Life for Dance

On August 14, 2021, Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez was honored with “A Life for Dance” achievement award from the prestigious International Ballet Festival Miami (IBFM). Read her touching acceptance speech including her tender recognition of so many that preceded her, and her firm belief that ballet truly belongs to everyone in our community.

Lourdes Lopez:

“Good evening. My deepest apologies for not being able to participate in this wonderful evening of dance with all of you and sharing the beauty of this art from with this community.

I’d like to thank all the dancers who so generously are sharing their talent this evening.

And of course, a very special and heartfelt thank you to Jennifer Lauren and Rainer Krenstetter. Our beautiful MCB Principals for agreeing to be a part of this festival and for representing the company and Balanchine so magnificently.

Lastly, thank you to Eriberto Jimenez and everyone at the International Ballet Festival for this Lifetime in Dance award.

Not only because as performers we are coming back to live performances – on stage, but also because I am celebrating my 10th anniversary as Miami City Ballet’s Artistic Director.

This last week I looked at the list of past awardees – of the Lifetime in Dance Award and I could not believe the list in front of me.

There were so many dancers and artists listed that I had grown up watching. Dancers who had influenced me and who had inspired me.

So many dancers, who through their artistry had show me what all that ballet was capable of. Dancers like Carla Fracci, Violette Verdy, Lupe Serrono, and Marcia Haydée – dancers who I actually first saw dance here in Miami.

There were ballet friends of mine from New York, like Fernando Bujones and Frederick Franklyn, whose friendships I cherished.

Willi Burman, another awardee was one of my teachers while I was a professional, and our very own Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella.

And of course, Miami Hispanic Ballet’s Founder Pedro Pablo Pena, who did so much for Miami’s Ballet community.

It was unbelievable to think that I was going to be listed among these luminaries of ballet and I thought…

Is it possible that I’ve arrived? Is it possible that after 47 years dedicated to ballet that I truly can be listed among them?

But the answer to that question was, no. I have not arrived.

No he llegado – me falta.

Porque a log largo de mi carrerra cuando me preguntaban Lourdes – de dónde eres?

Lourdes, where are you from?

Siempre respondi, Yo soy cubana naci en Cuba. Y cuando joven mis padres, mas mi Mama, siempre me decia… Lourdita acuérdate que tu eres cubana – nunca se te olvide.

Para mi ser Latina y cubana ha sido una responsabilidad y un orgullo que llevo profundo en me corazón.

Pero me queda un anhelo.

En cuánto esta comunidad Latina de Miami siente que los bailarines del Miami City Ballet – los ballets, nuestras produciones, todo que sea Miami City Ballet y todo que sea su escuela ballet…

Le pertenezca.

Y cuando verdarderamente Miami City Ballet forme parte del tejido social de esta comunidad Latina.

Entonces en ese momento yo si he llegado. Y a este logro me sigo dedicando.

Muchismas gracias por tan lindo regalo y que dios los bendiga.”

— Lourdes Lopez


Photo credit: 1. Mcb_17_Jewels: MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez rehearsing George Balanchine’s Jewels. Choreography by George Balanchine. © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo ©: Alexander Iziliaev. 2. NYPL: Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. “New York City Ballet production of “Divertimento No. 15″ with Lourdes Lopez, choreography by George Balanchine (New York)” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1979. 3. _c70160: MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez rehearsing George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. Choreography by George Balanchine. © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo © Daniel Azoulay.