Reverence: Miami Heat

Jeanette Delgado glows onstage at Miami City Ballet.
Published in the February/March 2011 issue.

Delgado in "Allegro Brillante"

Photo by Alexandre Dufaur

Which role do you most identify with?
Kitri. She’s fun and daring—which is how I like to be onstage.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
When no one’s around, I go backstage and visualize the piece. Sometimes I even sneak in to do it the night before.

What part of your dancing do you most want to improve?
Lengthening my lines, especially when the choreography’s quick.

What was your worst onstage nightmare?
One Nutcracker performance, I didn’t realize I was cast as Marzipan lead and Doll. In the middle of Act 1, I was nowhere near ready when the stage manager came running at me screaming, ‘You’re supposed to be the Doll!’ Luckily, a girl who learned the role but wasn’t given a show was right there. She threw on the costume and got onstage in time. Afterwards, she gave me the biggest hug. She was so happy—and I was crying hysterically!

What’s the least glamorous part of being a ballet dancer?
After the performance, going home, taking a bath, soaking in a tub of ice. 


What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Whole Foods sells this vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookie that I warm up for 12 seconds in the microwave. After a weekend of performances, my boyfriend knows I want that cookie.
 
What about you would surprise strangers?

I’m kind of clumsy. I fall a lot.

If you weren’t a ballet dancer, what would you do?

I’ve always wanted to work for the United Nations. Maybe one day.

How has teaching at Miami City Ballet School helped your dancing?

I tend to get caught up in the little details—I want to be perfect. But when you teach 12- and 13-year-olds, you see their love and excitement just to dance. They help me remember why we do this.

What advice do you give to your students?

Write down your corrections, the things teachers say that inspire you. Because there are days when your body doesn’t feel like a dancer’s body. You don’t know where to pull from. So while I’m eating breakfast, I’ll read what people have told me over the years and it helps me get inspired.