Remembering MCB School Days – Elizabeth

Post by Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keller, MCBS Teacher

Showcase is such a special time at Miami City Ballet School for both the students and the teachers. Because it wasn’t that long ago that I was in my students’ position getting ready for their first performance,  I can remember so clearly all of the hard work, dedication, emotions and magic that encompasses Showcase!

My fondest memory as a student performing in Showcase would have to be the first year the School was allowed to do George Balanchine’s Who Cares?.  I was dancing the principle role in “The Man I love” pas de deux and the “Turn Girl” variation. We started working on Who Cares? at the end of January and were fortunate enough to get to perform it as a part of the Ballet for Young People series before the big … Dun dun dun… Showcase weekend and the final show being danced at The Jackie Gleason. Every day leading up to Showcase we would work in a very detailed manner; breaking down every step and attempting to perfect it. The entire class was very professional, talented and close! We operated like our own mini company. I can honestly say that I made friends for life that year!  One day I will never forget is when Mr. Edward Villella came into rehearsal one evening a few weeks before our big weekend of performances. He walked in and right away the energy in the studio changed! Now, as a teacher, I am so lucky because I got to experience being on the other side when Mr. Villella came into my studio — and funny enough the energy in the studio was exactly the same!! I had a huge smile on my face and got a bit nervous because I was immediately taken back to my days as a student at Miami City Ballet School!! On that magical day when I was still in the School, every student was eager to impress, learn and soak up all of the knowledge Edward had to share. We broke down every step of the pas de deux and talked about the feeling and intention behind each step and what kind of dialogue my partner and I were having in every second of the pas. He told me to let my body sing and show the music. This one rehearsal changed everything about the pas de deux for me! It was then time for my “Turn Girl” variation. After my variation was over, a moment I will never ever forget , Edward came up to me and placed his hand on my cheek , smiled, shook his head up and down, looked me in eyes and said “That’s it! Good.” With a smile from ear to ear, I was finally able to take a deep breath and relax a little!  I took everything my teachers had taught me, Edward’s words and how I felt that special day in rehearsal and tried to recreate it during the big performance at the Jackie. As a teacher now, I always say what my teachers said to me, “You’ve done all of the hard work, now go enjoy yourself. Be in the moment!” As soon as the music started and I stepped out on that stage I remember the feeling of getting lost in pure happiness!!!!  Showcase was so magical for me as a student and I only hope that my students feel the magic, too!!