Rita Finds Home

Oct 1 – Nov 3, 2023

Tickets are are currently sold out for October 1 family matinee. Feel free to come in to be waitlisted, however seating is not guaranteed. 

For the 2023 Ballet for Young People performances, guest will enjoy a new story ballet relevant to the South Florida community.

Rita Finds Home tells the story of Rita, a young artist, who paints and dreams of one day living in the big city despite the lush tropical island she lives in. When a hurricane thrusts Rita and her mother into a new life in an urban metropolis, she struggles to adapt to her new environment. Feeling lost and like everything she knew, including her talents, were washed away by the storm, Rita embarks on a journey that helps her re-define what home means to her. With a little help from her new friends and her family, Rita’s spirits lift as she explores the beauty of her new city, igniting a new sense of home, and the realization that her talents never left her.

This 45-minute production comes to life with brightly colored costumes and props. The audience will be transported to the Caribbean and then to the big city by the beautiful sets. Rita Finds Home is a co-production with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.

Amy Hall Garner
Karla Estela Rivera
Elisa Chavarri
Erica Lynette Edwards


Upcoming Family Matinees

The following shows are open for families to experience the Rita Finds Home together. Families across South Florida are invited to register for tickets to for the following locations:

MCB Studios, Miami Beach Sunday October 1st, 2023 2:00pm – 3:00pm


Upcoming Student Matinees

Student matinees welcome school students and teachers to experience the magic of ballet throughout the school year. Each student receives an Educational Guide that teaches them about the many components of ballet performance.


Arsht Center, Knight Concert Hall Wednesday October 25th, 2023 11:00am – 12:00pm
Broward Center, Parker Playhouse Tuesday October 31st, 2023 10:00am – 11:00am
11:30am – 12:30pm
Kravis Center (Sensory-Friendly) Friday November 3rd, 2023 11:00am – 12:00pm


Amy Hall Garner is a native of Huntsville, Alabama, and a graduate of The Juilliard School. Her work has been praised internationally and commissioned by Ailey II, ABT Studio Company, Collage Dance Collective, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, Barnard College, The University of the Arts, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Point Park University, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Recently, she has received virtual commissions from BalletX, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process Digital Series, ABT Studio Company, and a dual company collaboration between the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Miami City Ballet. She personally coached Grammy Award winner Beyoncé, providing additional choreography for The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Theatrical choreography credits include: The Color Purple (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and Invisible Thread, associate choreographer (Second Stage Theater). In 2018, she was selected to participate in Alvin Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab supported by the Ford Foundation. Garner was one of the first recipients of The Joffrey Ballet’s Choreography of Color Award (now titled Winning Works). In December 2020 she was named a Toulmin Fellow as part of a new program between the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU and National Sawdust to foster collaboration between women composers and choreographers with the aim of creating new works in the virtual medium. Amy Hall Garner is an adjunct professor at New York University’s New Studio on Broadway at Tisch School of the Arts.

“As a choreographer, educator, and mother, the story of Rita Finds Home connects to my passion of finding the arts at an early age. The exposure to the arts during my formative years changed the trajectory of my life. My hope is that through the wonderful story written by Karla, the movement, and the beautiful illustrations by Elisa, children are introduced to three elements of the arts that initiate and spark curiosity and creativity within their ‘home.’” – Amy Hall Garner

Karla Estela Rivera is a writer, performer, activist, and arts advocate that has leveraged her gift of storytelling to uplift and create opportunities for, with, and in divested communities. For over a decade, Karla has balanced her artistic practice and serving in community-based organizations, beginning as a teaching artist and youth worker, to making national history in systems-level leadership and policy. She now proudly serves as the founding executive director of the Arts Administrators of Color Network (AAC).

Prior to her role at AAC, she had the honor of being the executive director of the historic Free Street Theater. She is currently a company member of 2nd Story, is a co-host of the Creative Generation’s Why Change? Podcast, and the author/narrator of the first-ever commissioned young audiences piece for the Joffrey Ballet, Rita Finds Home (a co-production with the Miami City Ballet).

Karla continues to perform in venues and zoom rooms across the country, actively teaches storytelling and consults on arts education, social justice, and advocacy initiatives. She is a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and holds a BA from Columbia College Chicago, with graduate studies at New York University.

IG & Twitter: @kestelarivera
LinkedIn: karlaerivera

Elisa Chavarri is a freelance illustrator originally from Lima, Peru. She did much of her growing up in Northern Michigan, where her family kept their Peruvian culture and Latin roots alive. Elisa’s client list includes Sesame Street, American Girl, National Geographic Learning, Hallmark, and Highlights.

As an artist and immigrant who came to this country at a young age, I feel a strong connection to Karla’s story and its protagonist, Rita. It speaks to me how the obstacle of feeling displaced in a new environment can be overcome by the beauty of keeping your own culture alive as you are embracing a new one. I am inspired by the use of art in self-expression, in processing emotions, and in unifying people, therefore my hope is that this piece will convey a feeling that the arts are for everyone and that ‘home’ is within you.”

Erica Lynette Edwards is an accomplished change leader with demonstrated success as a facilitator, consultant, and public speaker. As a ballerina with The Joffrey Ballet, she performed lead roles throughout a rewarding 15-year career, dancing in hundreds of performances in the United States and abroad. During that time Ebony Magazine declared her a “Young Leader in the Future of the Arts” and the Chicago Tribune gave her the title “Black History Maker.” When she retired from the stage, she became an artistic and administrative senior leader as Joffrey’s Director of Community Engagement. Under her visionary leadership, the department grew to support the city of Chicago through a focus on community partnerships rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Erica’s career promoting engaging conversation and welcoming communities has earned her many honors, including multiple features in Dance Magazine, giving a TEDx talk, and being selected as a member of the prestigious Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40.” Erica has independently expanded her DEI services and now captivates a wide variety of clients with authentic and innovative programming. Highly skilled in delivering consistent success and effective change, Erica is committed to creating workplaces where everyone can flourish. ericalynette.com