Miami City Ballet will premiere Viscera, choreographed by Royal Ballet dancer Liam Scarlett, this Friday. It's Scarlett's first work for an American ballet company. MCB principal Patricia Delgado is documenting the experience for Pointe.
We are two days away from the world premiere of Liam Scarlett's piece, and we're all so excited!
We first met Liam last February, when he spent a weekend watching classes and performances before casting his ballet. Even though we were all a little nervous, we got great vibes from his positive and sweet energy. But I don't think any of us expected how amazing working with him would be until a few months later, when he returned to set the piece. Liam had done so much preparation ahead of time, and it was stimulating to get a sense of what he wanted and then play from there.
There was also a lot of laughter in the studios! I remember one day, when we were working on the solo girl part—which is a role that I share with my sister, Jeanette, and fellow dancer Sara Esty—Liam wasn't sure what to do next. Jeanette did a cartwheel, and we all lost it. The cartwheel didn't make the final version, but it's a good example of how comfortable we were with Liam.
Of course, there was a lot of hard work as well. We all understood Liam's sense of musicality, but it took us time to really get to know the music—by contemporary composer Lowell Lieberman—and hear all of the intricacies that Liam wanted us to illustrate. The movement itself is very organic and exciting—it never looks forced. "Feel as though there is an electric current connecting everyone on the stage," Liam told us. He's been stressing the importance of dancing with your whole self, from the inside out: "It needs to be ferocious, menacing, a little scary!"
We're putting the finishing touches on the piece in rehearsals this week. The first run with costumes really got everyone excited. This piece is unlike anything else in our repertoire—we can't wait for our audiences to see it. Liam has been an inspiring gift to us here at Miami City Ballet!