The MCB Mission
Miami City Ballet’s mission is to produce and present the highest level of dance performances throughout Florida, the United States and abroad, train young aspiring dancers, and develop Miami City Ballet School into a leader of dance education.
Described by The New York Times as a company whose dancing, “Bold, light, immediate, intensely musical….flies straight to the heart,” Miami City Ballet (MCB) is led by Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez and is considered a leader in the field — nurturing new choreographic voices, creating innovative collaborations, and opening new avenues of inclusivity within classical ballet.
Founded in 1985 by Miami philanthropist Toby Lerner Ansin and Founding Artistic Director and ballet legend Edward Villella, MCB is universally admired as one of the world’s pre-eminent interpreters of the choreography of George Balanchine. Its repertory of 100 ballets, including twelve world premieres, was built upon the Balanchine repertory, style, and technique and then expanded to include beloved classical works of importance and exciting new choreography by contemporary and ground-breaking artists. MCB maintains annual seasons in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, and Collier Counties, serving more than 123,000 patrons in South Florida through four diverse repertory programs; the treasured Christmas fairytale, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™; and an expansive national touring program. MCB has toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Europe and its 2016 debut at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater was hailed by the national press as a resounding success. The New York Times’ Alastair Macauley wrote: “Of all the ballet troupes who have visited the Koch in recent years, none looks so truly and completely a company.”
The Miami City Ballet School (MCB School), founded in 1993 is one of the largest dance-training programs in the nation, training dancers for careers with MCB and other professional companies throughout the world. MCB School’s expanded national and international audition tours attract more than 1,300 students each season, and MCB School’s scholarship program offers support to children from around the corner and across the globe, providing nearly $500,000 worth of scholarships each year. As one of the most diverse classical ballet companies in the nation, MCB serves as a gateway to the Americas for dancers from Central and South America, resulting in a robust international roster of both dancers and students.
MCB’s transformative Share the Dance: Community Outreach and Educational Programs reach deep into the community, touching nearly 17,000 young people, seniors, and other traditionally underserved community members annually through a wide array of programming – a dramatic 60% increase from the previous year’s activities. This expanded portfolio of programs introduces new and underserved audiences to the art form of classical ballet while building strong community relationships and engagement with the arts.
Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, joined MCB in 2012. Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba and raised in Miami. She danced with New York City Ballet for 24 years under George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, joining in 1974 at the age of 16, with promotions to soloist in 1981 and principal in 1984. After retiring from the stage, Ms.Lopez went on to become the executive director of The George Balanchine Foundation and co-founded the innovative dance company Morphoses.
Prior to Ms. Lopez’s tenure, MCB was led by Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella, the first American-born male star of the New York City Ballet (1957-1975).
The Company’s repertoire has 98 ballets, including a number of world premieres such as Liam Scarlett’s Viscera and Euphotic, Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances and Justin Peck’s Chutes and Ladders and Heatscape.
The dancers of MCB are an international corps. Currently, more than half of the Company are graduates of the Miami City Ballet School.
In addition, our dancers also have professional experience with a diverse roster of world-class companies including the New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, National Ballet of Caracas, National Ballet of Cuba and American Ballet Theatre; as well as training from renowned facilities such as the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
Miami City Ballet has toured extensively in the United States, performing in more than 100 U.S. cities. Domestic appearances include:
- 1996 Olympic Arts Festival
- Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
- Chautauqua Festival
- Chicago Auditorium Theatre
- Cleveland Playhouse
- David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
- Detroit Opera House
- Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
- John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Los Angeles Music Center
- Madison Festival of the Lakes
- McCarter Theater
- New Jersey Performing Arts Center
- New York City Center
- Orange County Performing Arts Center
- Ravinia Festival
- Saratoga Performing Arts Center
- Shubert Theater
- Spoleto Festival
- SUNY at Purchase
- Tilles Center
- University of Minnesota – Northrup
- Vail International Dance Festival
- Wolf Trap Farm Park
In 2015, Miami City Ballet toured to Canada with appearances in Vancouver, British Columbia at Ballet BC’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre and in Ottawa, Ontario at the National Arts Centre. The performances mark several firsts – the Company’s Vancouver premiere and its first tour under artistic director Lourdes Lopez.
In July 2011, MCB made its Paris debut at the Théâtre du Châtelet as the featured dance company for the annual Les Etés de la Danse Festival.
MCB has also performed extensively throughout Europe, South America, Central America and Israel during its 30-year history. International appearances include:
- TorinoDanza 2000 (Italy)
- 1994 & 1995 Edinburgh International Festivals (Scotland)
- 1990 Lyon Biennale Internationale de la Danse (France)
- Festival Internacionel de Cultura Paiz (Guatemala)
Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Center
In January 2000, MCB took occupancy of its own Miami Beach headquarters, the Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Center, achieved through a capital campaign which begun in 1997.
The 63,000 square foot facility houses eight rehearsal studios (two of which combine to create a 200-seat theater), school facilities, MCB’s wardrobe department and costume shop, a fully equipped therapy room, and administrative space. The building was designed by the award-winning architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of ARQUITECTONICA.
Lourdes Lopez became Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet (MCB) in September 2012, bringing with her a nearly 40-year career in dance, television, teaching and arts management. As a Soloist and Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet, she danced for two legends of the art form, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.
Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and raised in Miami by her parents along with two sisters. She began taking ballet lessons at the age of 5, on the recommendation of a doctor. At the age of 11 she received a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, where she continued her ballet training in Miami during the year and then in New York during the summers. At 14, she moved to New York permanently to devote herself to full-time studies at SAB, and shortly after turning 16, she joined the corps de ballet of New York City Ballet.
Under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, her star rose quickly at New York City Ballet where she was soon dancing corps and soloist roles in much of the company’s repertory. She was promoted to Soloist in 1981 and Principal Dancer in 1984, performing countless featured roles including Violin Concerto, Firebird, Serenade, Liebeslieder Walzer, Divertimento No. 15, Symphony in C, Agon, The Four Temperaments, Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces, Fancy Free, In the Night, Four Seasons, and Brandenburg. Lopez’s great interest in children also found her writing and contributing to many of the company’s Family Matinee series.
Upon retirement, Lopez joined WNBC-TV in New York as a Cultural Arts reporter, writing and producing feature segments on the arts, artists and arts education. She was also a full-time senior faculty member and Director of Student Placement, Student Evaluation and Curriculum Planning at New York’s Ballet Academy East. She served on the dance faculty of Barnard College and guest taught at numerous dance institutions and festivals in the United States.
In 2002, Lopez became the Executive Director of The George Balanchine Foundation, which works to educate the public about dance and to further the art of ballet, with a special emphasis on the work and achievements of George Balanchine. In this position, she oversaw the 2004 Balanchine Centennial Celebration, a worldwide festival honoring the choreographer and his legacy. Among the events that year was the symposium “Balanchine: Past, Present and Future,” which was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, and which was a collaboration among the Mariinsky Theater, the Hermitage Museum, and The George Balanchine Foundation. Lopez co-founded The Cuban Artists Fund, which supports Cuban and Cuban-American artists in their endeavors. She also co-founded Morphoses with Christopher Wheeldon in 2007 — a New York-based dance company aiming to revitalize dance through innovative collaborations with important artists from the worlds of music, visual arts, design, film and fashion; and by inviting younger and broader audiences to engage in and actively experience dance.
In 2014 Lopez was elected to serve on the Ford Foundation’s Board of Trustees, marking the first time an artist was elected to serve on its board. In 2007 she received an award from the American Immigration Law Foundation honoring Cuban Americans for their accomplishments and contributions to American society and in 2011, she received the prestigious Jerome Robbins Award for her years in dance. She has served as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Lopez is married to investment banker George Skouras. They are the parents of two daughters: Adriel and Calliste.
Toby Lerner Ansin
Thirty years ago, Toby Lerner Ansin, the founder of Miami City Ballet invited Edward Villella to her home, persuaded him to be the artistic director of a new ballet company, then convinced a group of friends and associates to donate the seminal funds that brought viability to her vision. She then galvanized community and financial support, helped assemble the original Board of Trustees, and laid the foundation for an on-going development program. Then she rolled up her sleeves and without any financial compensation, begin working around the clock, every day of the week, tirelessly focusing her efforts on securing major financial funding for the infant company. Because of her vision, leadership, and unceasing effort, Miami City Ballet today is an internationally acclaimed company with a growing reputation as a cradle of creativity for young dancers and choreographers and a history of excellence in the field of dance.
Toby’s extraordinary vision, leadership and accomplishments have been widely recognized: In 1991, she became the recipient of the George Abbott Carbonell Award for Achievement in the Arts. Soon after, she was given the American Jewish Committee’s “American Jewish Achievement” award, becoming part of the Oral History Collections. In 1994 she received the Spectrum Award for Women from the National Red Cross. In 1997 she received the Florida Association of Nonprofit Organizations Fundraiser of the Year Award and the 1997 Florida Arts Recognition Award. In 1999 she was named the James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer of the Year from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. In the spring of 2003, Toby received the Arts Hero Award from the Arts & Business Council of Miami. In 2008 she received both the PODER Magazine-Boston Consulting Group Business Award and the Florida International Press Club Imprint Award. In 2009 she received the Woman of Style and Substance Award. But her most memorable and satisfying award was the January evening in 2009 when the company received a standing ovation after performing at the City Center in New York City.
Stephanie Ansin, Toby’s daughter, is following in her mother’s footsteps. She is the founder of the Miami Theatre Center. Toby has been an advisor to the Center since its inception in 2004.
Founding Artistic Director
Edward Villella was born in Bayside, New York in 1936. He entered the School of American Ballet at age ten but interrupted his dance training to complete academic studies. A graduate of the New York Maritime Academy, he obtained a B.S. in marine transportation, lettered in baseball, and was a championship boxer.
He returned to SAB following graduation in 1955, and in 1957 was invited to join the New York City Ballet, where he was quickly promoted to Soloist (1958), and then to Principal Dancer (1960). Mr. Villella was the original male lead in many important ballets in the New York City Ballet repertoire, among them Tarantella, the “Rubies” section of Jewels, Harlequinade, Symphony in Three Movements, Dances at a Gathering, Watermill, Bugaku and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon). Perhaps his most famous role was in the 1960 revival of Balanchine’s 1929 masterpiece, Prodigal Son.
Mr. Villella was the first American male dancer to perform with the Royal Danish Ballet, and the only American ever to be asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. He danced for President Kennedy’s inauguration and for Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. He was producer/director for the PBS series “Dance in America” for one and a-half years, and in 1975 won an Emmy Award for his CBS television production of “Harlequinade.”
In recognition of his achievements, President Clinton presented Mr. Villella with the 1997 National Medal of Arts. Also in 1997, he was named a Kennedy Center Honoree, and was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. In 2009, he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the School of American Ballet. In 1998, the University of Pittsburgh Press reissued Villella’s 1992 autobiography, Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic, written with Larry Kaplan.
Founding Director, Miami City Ballet School
Linda Villella created Miami City Ballet School in partnership with her husband Edward Villella in 1993, facilitating greater access to ballet and jazz education for children and the community. Under her tenure, MCB School grew into one of the leading training grounds for dance in the nation.
Born in the United States, Ms. Villella grew up all over Europe, including England, France and Germany. As a result of walking at a very young age she was left crippled, and began figure skating to strengthen her leg muscles alongside children who had polio. At 15, due to her exceptional ability, she left home to train in Toronto. Ms. Villella won the National Figure Skating Championships in 1969 and represented Canada in both the 1968 Olympics and in the 1969 World Championships before taking an offer to star in Ice Capades, followed by NBC’s “Ice Capades” specials and the CBS series, “Ice Palace.” Additionally, Ms. Villella starred in numerous television commercials including national spots for Zenith TV, Burger King and Nestlé White Milk Chocolate. Ms. Villella coached World and Olympic competitions and was involved with the first Special Olympics.
Ms. Villella established MCB School’s Summer Intensive and Exploring Dance programs, providing complimentary dance classes to public school students in Miami Beach. Ms. Villella also founded the MCB School Summer Intensives and the Ballet for Young People series, giving thousands of children and families the opportunity to view performances by MCB School students.
|Afternoon of a Faun||Debussy / Robbins|
|Agon||Stravinsky / Balanchine|
|Allegro Brillante||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Apollo||Stravinsky / Balanchine|
|Arden Court||Boyce / Taylor|
|Aureole||Handel / Taylor|
|Aurora’s Wedding||Tchaikovsky / Petipa|
|Baker’s Dozen||Smith / Tharp|
|Ballet Imperial||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Ballo della Regina||Verdi / Balanchine|
|Black Swan Pas de Deux||Tchaikovsky / Petipa-Ivanov|
|Bournonville Italian Suite||Helsted-Paulli / Bournonville|
|Bourrée Fantasque||Chabrier / Balanchine|
|Bugaku||Mayuzumi / Balanchine|
|Chutes and Ladders*||Britten / Peck|
|Company B||Various, sung by the Andrews Sisters / Taylor|
|Concerto Barocco||Bach / Balanchine|
|Concerto for Summerdance *||Bach / Villella|
|Coppélia||Trad., after Delibes / Saint-Leon|
|Le Corsaire Pas de Deux||Drigo / Trad., after Petipa|
|Dances at a Gathering||Chopin / Robbins|
|Diamonds||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Diana and Actaeon – Pas de Deux||Drigo / Balanchine|
|Divertimento Brillante||Glinka / Balanchine|
|Divertimento No. 15||Mozart / Balanchine|
|Donizetti Variations||Donizetti / Balanchine|
|Don Quixote||Minkus / Traditional, after Petipa and Gorsky|
|Don Quixote Pas De Deux||Minkus / Petipa|
|Duo Concertante||Stravinsky / Balanchine|
|Elégie||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Emeralds||Fauré / Balanchine|
|Episodes||Webern / Balanchine|
|Euphotic*||Scarlett / Liebermann|
|Fancy Free||Bernstein / Robbins|
|Fanfare||Britten / Robbins|
|Festival Pas de Deux and Divertissement *||Harrell / Villella|
|Flower Festival Pas de Deux||Helsted / Bournonville|
|The Four Temperaments||Hindemith / Balanchine|
|THE FOX-TROT:Dancing in the Dark *
The Neighborhood Ballroom
|Carmichael, Parish, Ellington / Villella|
|Funny Papers||Novelty tunes / Taylor|
|George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker&red;||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Giselle||Adam / Traditional after Coralli and Perrot|
|Gismonti Brasil *||Gismonti / Villella|
|Glinka Pas de Trois||Glinka / Balanchine|
|The Golden Section||Byrne / Tharp|
|Grand Pas Classique||Auber / Traditional, after Gsovsky|
|In the Night||Chopin / Robbins|
|In The Upper Room||Glass / Tharp|
|Jardí Tancat||del Mar Bonet / Duato|
|Jewels||Fauré-Stravinsky-Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Lilac Garden||Chausson / Tudor|
|Liturgy||Pärt / Wheeldon|
|THE MAMBO: Mambo No. 2 a.m.*
The Neighborhood Ballroom
|Perez-Prado / Villella|
|Mercuric Tidings||Schubert / Taylor|
|Minkus Pas de Trois||Minkus / Balanchine|
|The Moor’s Pavane||Purcell / Limon|
|NIGHTSPOT *||Costello / Tharp|
|Nine Sinatra Songs||Arlen, Mercer, Cahn, Van Heusen / Tharp|
|Paquita||Minkus / after Petipa & Mazilier|
|Pas De Dix||Glazounov / Balanchine, after Petipa|
|Les Patineurs||Meyerbeer, Lambert / Ashton|
|Piazzolla Caldera||Piazzolla / Taylor|
|Polyphonia||Ligeti / Wheeldon|
|Prodigal Son||Prokofiev / Balanchine|
|Promethean Fire||Bach / Taylor|
|Push Comes to Shove||Lamb, Haydn / Tharp|
|THE QUICK-STEP: Unspeakable Jazz Must Go! *
The Neighborhood Ballroom
|Ellington, Mack, Kahn, Yellen / Villella|
|Raymonda Variations||Glazounov / Balanchine|
|The Reassuring Effects of Form and Poetry||Dvorak / McIntyre|
|Romeo and Juliet||Prokofiev / Cranko|
|Rubies||Capriccio for Piano & Orchestra Stravinsky / Balanchine|
|Scotch Symphony||Mendelssohn / Balanchine|
|Serenade||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Slaughter on Tenth Avenue||Rodgers / Balanchine|
|Sonatine||Ravel / Balanchine|
|La Sonnambula||Rieti / Balanchine|
|La Source||Delibes / Balanchine|
|Square Dance||Vivaldi, Corelli / Balanchine|
|Stars & Stripes||Sousa-Kay / Balanchine|
|The Steadfast Tin Soldier||Bizet / Balanchine|
|Stravinsky Violin Concerto||Stravinsky / Balanchine|
|Swan Lake Act II||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|Swan Lake Act II||Tchaikovsky / Petipa|
|Sylvia Pas de Deux||Delibes / Balanchine|
|Symphonic Dances *||Rachmaninoff / Ratmansky|
|Symphony in C||Bizet / Balanchine|
|Symphony in Three Movements||Stravinsky / Balanchine|
|Tarantella||Gottschalk / Balanchine|
|The Neighborhood Ballroom *||Renno, Ellington / Villella|
|Theme & Variations||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|3 Epitaphs||Early American Jazz / Taylor|
|Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux||Tchaikovsky / Balanchine|
|La Valse||Ravel / Balanchine|
|Valse Fantaisie 1953||Glinka / Balanchine|
|Valse Fantaisie 1967||Glinka / Balanchine|
|Viscera *||Liebermann / Scarlett|
|THE WALTZ: Our Lady of Oblivion *
The Neighborhood Ballroom
|Renno / Villella|
|West Side Story Suite||Bernstein, Sondheim / Robbins, Gennaro|
|Western Symphony||American Traditional, arr.: Kay / Balanchine|
|Who Cares?||complete Gershwin, arr. Kay / Balanchine|
* World Premieres