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.”

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced its support of Miami City Ballet pledging $2.5 Million over three years, with $1 Million of that gift taking place in 2015.

“At Knight Foundation, our mission is to make the arts general in Miami. Everywhere you go, we want you to have an encounter with art,” said Dennis Scholl, VP/Arts at Knight Foundation. “Whether on the local or global stage, presenting the Nutcracker or new works like Heatscape that blend the visual arts with dance, Miami City Ballet is an integral part of our growing cultural community.”

The Ford Foundation has made a commitment to MCB of $1.5 Million over three years. In an overwhelming show of support, the MCB Board of Trustees is matching the Ford Foundation gift with an additional $1.5 Million in new contributions.

“Miami City Ballet is at the forefront of new, exciting work in the genre, redefining classical ballet in this country,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

“In terms of both daring programming and meaningful arts education, MCB is raising the bar and reaching non-traditional, young audiences who will experience the exquisite power of ballet in all of its many forms.”

Adding to the tremendous show of support for the Company, Claudia and Steven Perles have made a $1 Million gift for a new production of George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shakespeare’s timeless tale of love, magic and illusion, with a fairytale cast including 24 children and six vocalists, is re-imagined as a reflection of the South Florida region by two international artists with ties to Miami: Internationally acclaimed visual artist Michele Oka Doner for original costumes and sets, and MacArthur Award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney for dramatic direction. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will close MCB’s 30th Anniversary Season, with performances March 18 through April 10, 2016.

“We are pleased and honored to be part of this magical production,” says MCB Board Member Claudia Perles. “Miami City Ballet has brought so much joy to my life, and such tremendous artistry to South Florida, and well beyond. This new production of Midsummer will create an exceptional artistic statement, highlighting the brilliant choreography, inspired dancing, and stunning collaboration of world-renowned artists.”

This new production and unique artistic collaboration is a dream project for MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, who says, “I am overjoyed to bring Mr. Balanchine’s magical 1962 masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream to dancers and audiences. It is perhaps the most brilliant narrative ballet of the 20th century and an additional gratification for us: the central role of Oberon was created on our Founding Artistic Director, Edward Villella. To present a reframing of this work is a perfect example of Miami City Ballet, a company steeped in tradition, with our eyes on the future.”

“This type of national funding is truly unheard of for arts organizations in the region,” says MCB Executive Director Michael Scolamiero, “It represents a turning point for Miami City Ballet as we prepare to launch a landmark season, including a more robust schedule of domestic and international touring.”

In this 30th Anniversary Season, interest in MCB across the nation has never been higher, with invitations to perform in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. “We look forward to presenting many of our signature works in some of the nation’s most prestigious venues, giving audiences in these cities the opportunity to see, first-hand, the excitement we are creating throughout North America this season,” says Scolamiero. MCB’s full tour schedule will be announced in detail this spring.