Last year, Teen Vogue‘s “Strictly Ballet” infiltrated the elite world of NYC’s School of American Ballet. We got to meet a few of its most promising students, including Mimi Staker, who’s now a corps member of New York City Ballet, and Jasmine Perry, now an L.A. Ballet corps member. It was a fascinating account of life at SAB—what the training is like and the pressure that comes with being a student at one of the most prestigious schools in the country.
Miami City Ballet has received $4 million in grants from major foundations and another $2.5 million in board donations, company officials said.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, one of the company’s most consistent supporters, has pledged $2.5 million over three years. Of that total, $1.5 million comes from a fund set up in 2012, when the company was awarded a $5 million, five-year grant, the largest in its history.
A new $1 million grant is designated for new work and strengthening the organization. That grant required a match in debt forgiveness or new or increased donations, which has been met, Executive Director Michael Scolamiero said.
The company has received its first grant from the Ford Foundation — a $1.5 million, three-year grant for general support as well as enhanced education and outreach.
Ballets dreamed up by Justin Peck feel at once classical and new, an energy that has become distinct to the young choreographer’s work. In just a few years, Peck has become one of the most sought-after choreographers in the world of ballet.
At 27, he is both a soloist dancer and the resident choreographer for the New York City Ballet – the second person in history to hold the position. As a member of one of the most renowned creative engines in the world, Peck has made a name for himself as the ballet world’s “next big thing.”
“I’m just trying to make classical ballet and then other people come to me and tell me that it looks like this whole new fresh thing to them and it’s always so surprising to me and also something that I get excited about.”
This month, Peck’s most recent work, “Heatscape” debuted for Miami City Ballet against the backdrop of brightly colored murals. Peck worked with Shepard Fairey, the street artist best known for his iconic “Hope” poster commissioned for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. The partnership is the first of its kind for Fairey, who has primarily worked in street and graffiti art.
Beloved ballerina Mary Carmen Catoya’s performance in George Balanchine’s Raymonda Variations, scheduled for April 19, 2015 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, will mark the conclusion of her distinguished sixteen-year tenure with Miami City Ballet.
Following her departure from MCB at the end of this season, Ms. Catoya will continue her career as an acclaimed ballerina, appearing as a guest artist both nationally and internationally.
La pieza de resistencia de esta temporada del Miami City Ballet se presenta este fin de semana en el Ziff Ballet Opera House del Adrienne Arsht Center. Se titula Heatscape, y es la creación del coreógrafo más en boga del momento en Estados Unidos, Justin Peck. Siendo tan joven –de 27 años– ya ha producido varias piezas para el New York City Ballet y un pas de deuxpara el New World Symphony Orchestra en 2013, con bailarines del MCB, Chutes and Ladders.
Pero ahora se trata de una producción en toda regla, con la participación de toda la compañía, y con un título que el propio coreógrafo anota es una reminiscencia del título de la obra de Merce Cuningham, Summerspace, solo que Miami es más caliente.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”