Post by Ashley Knox, MCB Corps de Ballet
Performing in Miami City Ballet School’s Showcase was a defining moment in my life. The experience helped me make the decision to become a professional dancer. This may seem late to other aspiring or professional dancers, but at that point in my life I was still undecided between college and ballet. My mind started to change once I stepped on stage. It was as if I had stepped into a dream, a dream not everyone has the chance to live.
That year we performed at The Jackie Gleason Theater, now known as the Fillmore. I was cast as the “Russian Girl” in George Balanchine’s Serenade. It was such a challenging role, very technical with high leaps and fast turns. I developed so much as a dancer with the opportunity of working with Nancy Raffa and Eric Quillier. Within the school environment I was able to slowly build strength and confidence over months of rehearsing. The hard work definitely paid off. By the time we were in the theater, I was ready and so excited! I loved, and still love, every aspect of performing — from preparing my shoes to applying my stage makeup and feeling the adrenaline rush while the overture begins. I had such a wonderful time dancing with my friends to the music of Tchaikovsky in beautiful long light blue tutus…what a dream. I remember one moment in particular, just before the “Russian Dance” in the ballet. The “Russian Girl” advances forward through the other dancers as if time has stopped only for her. She appears to have no awareness of her surroundings as the other corps girls cross in front and behind her. It was my favorite part and I remember thinking “take this all in, this may be your last time dancing on stage.” A chill came over me and I danced like I had never danced before. Then and there I realized I couldn’t possibly give this up! Ten years later I am still dancing with Miami City Ballet. I often think of my experience in the School to remind myself why I dance: because I love being a part of the magic. I hope that I help enchant the audience and take them to another world. I am so grateful to Edward and Linda Villella for their dedication to the School and to the Company. I would also like to express my appreciation for the support of donors. As a scholarship student, I would have never been able to live my dreams without their help.
Post by Nicole Stalker, MCB Corps de Ballet
I came to Miami City Ballet School in the fall of 2007. I was sixteen, had just graduated high school, and was excited to train at the school of my dream company. I have now been a dancer with Miami City Ballet for four years, and am currently a member of the corps de ballet. I grew up watching the Company perform George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. I was lucky enough to perform many of the children’s roles with the Company, including my two favorites of Marie and Chinese Tea. Needless to say, Miami City Ballet already meant a great deal to me before I even came to train at the School.
Although I only spent one year as an MCBS student, I can honestly say that it was one of the most influential years of training I ever received. The insight and knowledge given to me by my teachers, Carter Alexander and Geta Constantinescu, taught me how to combine artistry and technique, and then apply it to my dancing. They also instilled in me a level of confidence I needed to be successful. One of my favorite performance experiences during my time at Miami City Ballet School was our Student Showcase. I was a member of the corps de ballet in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, and also danced the “Bluebird Pas de Deux” from the classic Sleeping Beauty. Having the challenge of dancing in the corps of a Balanchine ballet one night, then performing a classical pas de deux the next night was wonderful for a student, as the two styles of ballet are so different and need completely different approaches. From my experience, I can say that Miami City Ballet School provides every opportunity a young dancer needs to become a professional.
Post by Patricia Delgado, MCB Principal Dancer
My memories of performing in the MCBS Student Showcase are all so wonderful. One of the greatest things about performing when you are a student is the amount of detailed coaching that takes place. You begin working on a ballet months before and spend every day breaking down each step with your teacher so that it becomes so much a part of your muscle memory that when you get to the stage, you can just dance your heart out and enjoy yourself. One of the main lessons I learned from all of my teachers at the School was that if you put the time and effort into every rehearsal, you can trust yourself the day of the performance and really let go. If it weren’t for all of the skills I learned at the School, I wouldn’t have the basic tools I need to continue growing as a dancer in the Company.
When I was a student we did several mini performances/ lecture demonstrations at high school auditoriums and gyms. We had one shot at the stage at the end of the year! That performance became such an important focus in my life, that all of my excitement and anticipation would build up until that very moment when I was finally doing what I love! Now, after 12 seasons with the Company and performing out on stage over 100 times a season, I find myself sometimes craving that feeling of only one show! I believe that craving comes from the incredible memories I have from being a student!
One specific moment that I will never forget was working on Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux my last year at the School with Edward Villella! It was always a nerve wrecking and exciting feeling when towards the end of the rehearsal process Edward would come in and coach us on last minute details. I remember getting more butterflies in my stomach for those rehearsals than for the actual performance. From the minute he stopped us to give us a correction on the very first step of the pas de deux, he was so calm and nurturing that all my nerves went away and it became all about the work and soaking up all of the valuable information he was passing on to us and applying it to the choreography. The way in which he expressed how important it was for us to “sing” the music with our bodies and phrase our steps immediately changed my focus. After many rehearsals trying to perfect the lines I was trying to create and controlling my technique, he showed me for the first time the idea that there are an incredible amount of elements that are important to making a ballet come alive out on stage! For example, when and how to connect to your partner, and how to “attack” the music, and even in a plotless ballet like Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, to ask myself what am I trying to say and communicate to the audience through these steps. I knew from working with Edward in the School how much I wanted to dance for him and continue to learn and grow from all of his knowledge and love of the art form!
Since graduating from the School in 2001, I love attending the Showcase! I look forward to it not only to relive the magic I remember feeling, but to see what new and inspiring young dancers continue to come out of the School! To see such talent is always a reminder of how special and how much hard work it takes to be a dancer!
Post by Kara White, MCB Corps de Ballet
Some of my favorite memories from the School are of the preparation for the Student Showcase. Every dancer puts so much energy and focus into the program and all that hard work pays off when you finally perform! As a MCBS student, you get the opportunity to perfect each movement and you learn something new every day to help you grow as a dancer. I personally loved performing the principal role in Square Dance during the Showcase. It is one of the greatest performing experiences and memories I have as a dancer.
With the Miami City Ballet School Student Showcase just around the corner, some MCBS alumni are reminiscing about their days at the School. Did you train at MCBS? Share your memories with us by emailing email@example.com and you can end up on our blog!
Don’t miss the ballet stars of tomorrow at Miami City Ballet School Student Showcase – May 18-20.
Post by Jeanette Delgado, MCB Principal Dancer
I came to MCB School at 9 years old and grew up loving and learning all about ballet! I am now a principal dancer with the Company. I wouldn’t be the dancer I am today without the encouraging and nurturing environment that Edward and Linda Villella created at their school! We were part of a family, and it wasn’t until my first class back after a summer program at American Ballet Theatre that I felt nervous it would all change. I was 16 years old and I remember walking into a familiar studio and seeing lots of unfamiliar faces! It was shocking, exciting and nerve wrecking all at the same time. It was the first time a group of students from all over stayed after the summer program to study here for the year! There were some changes — but they were all good! I remember being inspired right away and feeling like I was part of the beginning of something great! Now I realize the best part of that experience was that the place I always loved and felt comfortable at, grew and became more professional without losing the friendly and supportive environment that felt so special!
MCB closes the 11-12 Season with the romantic comedy Coppélia this weekend at Kravis Center. Get a glimpse of the charm that has already captivated audiences in Miami and Fort Lauderdale — or if you’ve already seen it, reminisce about these delightful moments!
The cast seen in this slideshow features Jeanette Delgado as Swanilda and Renato Penteado as Franz. (Photos © Joe Gato)
One of the best parts of performing a story ballet, such as Coppélia, is getting into character with the help of scenery, costumes, and makeup! Since we don’t have anyone in the company who’s quite the age of Dr. Coppélius, we count on the expertise of our makeup guru, Carol. She transforms our dancers!
Get a sneak peek of Carol working her magic on principal soloist Didier Bramaz.
As Program IV begins, we can’t help but look ahead to all the exciting things the 2012-2013 season will bring. We are especially excited to announce the dancers who have been promoted for the new season!
Please join us in congratulations the following dancers!
Promoted to Principal Soloist:
Promoted to Corps de Ballet: