Happy Valentine’s Day!

We are feeling the ROMANCE at Miami City Ballet! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we caught up with dancers Michael Breeden, Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, and  Patricia Delgado to learn about their favorite ballet LOVE stories.  Here is what they had to say!

MichaelBreeden_HeadshotsMichael Breeden, Corps de Ballet – My favorite ballet love story is La Sonnambula. Tragic love stories always have major issues separating their leads, like a curse or feuding families, but in Sonnambula, your heroine is literally in another state of consciousness, unable to fully grasp the poet before her. It’s immensely sad, and the ending where she carries him off into eternity is heartwrenching. Not exactly an uplifting Valentine’s Day story, but beautiful nonetheless!

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Premiering Romeo and Juliet

Post by Principal Dancer Jennifer Kronenberg

What a great honor it was to dance the role of ‘Juliet’ for MCB’s premiere of the historic ballet Romeo and Juliet, and for our silver anniversary – celebrating the company’s great accomplishments over the last twenty five years. I have not felt such excitement and sheer anticipation at the idea of a performance in a very long time. It seemed like the buzz was everywhere, not only between dancers and staff, but out on the street as well. The public was amazingly enthusiastic over us dancing Romeo and Juliet; anxious even, which of course only added to my own exhilaration!

For weeks I dreamt of opening night. My expectations were very high, and I couldn’t wait to get on stage and dance. When the moment finally arrived I was ridiculously emotional. I was nervous, giddy, excited, and so sad to think that in three short hours, before I even knew what hit me, it would all come to an end.

Would performing this iconic ballet be all that I had expected? Could I really do it justice? I had built it up so much in my mind, though I tried my hardest not to. Would the audience appreciate how much I love and respect the role of ‘Juliet’? Could they understand how much hard work went into preparing for it, how special this all was to me? Did that even really matter?  I hadn’t thought so, but I suddenly found myself worrying about it. So many thoughts were going through my head and I wanted to run away from them.

My first couple of entrances went by like a whirlwind. I yearned to feel something magical, yet it was all moving so fast, and not as smoothly as I had hoped. There were traffic issues backstage, costume changes weren’t going smoothly, and I was sweating all of my makeup off… What happened to the fairytale that I had dreamed about? So far I was way too connected to harsh reality.

But before I could get too disappointed, things changed. In the ball scene, when Carlos’ eyes met mine for the first time, everything slowed down. Time stood still in just that instant, and I felt an overwhelming calm come over me. This was it! This was the feeling that I had been waiting for – the high that I feared would get drowned out by adrenaline and frenzy, and escape me in the performance. I felt overwhelmingly relieved at seeing my Romeo. In that moment, I knew that nothing else mattered. We were in the midst of achieving something great, and infinitely special. I knew it was a performance that I’d remember and treasure always, and one that never had to be, nor could be replicated. I decided in that instant to commit myself to enjoying the ride for as long as it would last.

We’ve danced a number of “R&J’s” since opening weekend, and no two have been exactly alike. I’ve been trying to appreciate how unique and distinctly different each one is from the last. I am so happy, and eternally grateful, to have been given the opportunity to dance ‘Juliet’, and I hope that I’ll be able to grow and evolve with each performance to come.

Photos © Kyle Froman

The Art of Choreology

During the past month, Jane Bourne has been in the studios staging John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. Jane teaches in a different way than our dancers are accustomed to…she teaches the ballet through choreology. Choreology (developed by Joan and Rudolf Benesh and also known as Benesh Movement Notation) is a system of dance notations. Choreologists like Jane use notations that have a five line stave that reads from left to right with bar lines to mark the passage of time (like in music). The five lines coincide with the head, shoulders, waist, knees and floor (from top to bottom) of the dancer. Other signs are used to notate the dimension and quality of the movement.

Jane studied dance notation at the Benesh Institute of Choreology. She has worked with ballet companies all over the world including The National Ballet of Canada, National Ballet of China, American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, and Houston Ballet, among many others.

These are some examples of dance notations. It really does look like sheet music!

En Garde!

En Garde: a French warning, “On [your] guard.” A term in fencing adopted from the French warning (according to Wikipedia.org). It’s also the first thing fight coach Christian Sordelet taught our male dancers when he arrived. Christian, a former Junior Olympic fencer, recently visited us in sunny Miami Beach to coach the fight scenes in Romeo and Juliet! It’s amazing what the dancers learned from him in just one week.

Christian talked to us about working with the dancers and why he grew up in a house full of swords and fake blood! Plus, Kris got a stage fencing lesson from him!