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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Swan Song

Miami City Ballet wraps up its season in style with star choreographer Justin Peck.

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Open Barre: Inside Glimpse of Ballet

Miami City Ballet’s Open Barre dance series returns to its intimate studio theater in South Beach on March 13 and 14 with a rarely-seen glimpse into the lifetime of training, discipline and artistry practiced by aspiring professional ballet dancers.

Open Barre: Practice Makes Perfect; The Evolution of a Dancer will feature performances from the MCB School Ensemble, including excerpts from Harald Lander’s Études, a one-act ballet that begins with traditional ballet exercises at the barre and ends with spectacular displays by advanced students,and will close with George Balanchine’s colorful and exuberant Western Symphony.

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MCB’s Balanchine, Tharp and Alston Come Off Beautifully

Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez’s vision for Miami City Ballet was apparent in the tasteful programming of Saturday’s performance at the Kravis Center, with the de rigueur Balanchine work leading off the evening followed by two company premieres.

Lopez who has been “shopping” for new works that would flatter and challenge the company, has been successful. For Program III: Passion and Grace, she brought a rarely seen contemporary work by avant-garde choreographer Tywla Tharp and a sleek contemporary take on the tale of Carmen by British choreographer Richard Alston. Like Balanchine, both of these dance-makers are known for their extremely musical choreography.

The program, ruled by the Delgado sisters, Patricia and Jeanette, with a welcomed sprinkling of new faces doing lead roles, was appealing, well-balanced and well-danced. The company looked strong and confident. The Opus One Orchestra played with gusto and aplomb and the production values were polished and refined.

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Miami City Ballet School Ensemble to Dance at Open Barre

Miami City Ballet’s next generation of dancers will be featured in the company’s Open Barre studio performance series, with the troupe’s new MCB School Ensemble performing.

The show, entitled Practice Makes Perfect: The Evolution of a Dancer, will feature the ensemble performing George Balanchine’s exuberant cowboy and dancehall girl romp Western Symphony, as well as excerpts from Harald Lander’s Études, which evokes the life of a young dancer from exercises to accomplished solos. The evening also includes a talk with MCB School director Darleen Callaghan and faculty member Maria TorijaMCB principal dancer Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg will sign copies of her book So, You Want to be a Ballet Dancer?

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