News

Well folks, the headline says it all. Patricia Delgado, long-time principal at Miami City Ballet, will be leaving the company at the end of the season. According to a press release, she's planning to pursue other artistic goals, yet to be defined. A Miami Herald story reports that Delgado will join her boyfriend, New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, in New York.

This comes as a surprise to her many fans, who would have loved to see Delgado dance for another decade, at least. Though she joined MCB as an 18-year-old, and performed with the company for nearly 20 years, she exudes youthful joy and energy every time she steps onstage. We'll have to wait and see what her next move will be, but we certainly hope it involves dancing. Cheers to a monumental career!

Catch Delgado in her final performances with MCB on March 18 and 19, April 1 and 2, and April 8 and 9. Find more information here.

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

 

News

When we first reported on Miami City Ballet's redesign of George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, we were, to be totally honest, mostly interested in seeing the costume for the character Bottom. Why? In the MCB production, which places Oberon and Titania's kingdom underwater, Bottom is a manatee rather than a donkey. We needed to see that.

Now, for the big reveal. And he's every bit as silly and adorable as you might imagine.

(Simone Messmer and Didier Bramaz, photo by Gene Schiavone)

In addition to Bottom, the redesigned costumes—which were created by Miami Beach–born artist Michele Oka Doner—all featured underwater elements. Titania's tutu is adorned with what appears to be feathery seaweed, while Hippolyta is crowned with gold coral.

Enjoy!

 

(Simone Messmer and Reyneris Reyes, photo by Gene Schiavone)

 

(Jordan-Elizabeth Long, photo by Gene Schiavone)

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

News

To celebrate its 30th-anniversary season, Miami City Ballet is making a splash. The company’s closing program this spring will transplant A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Balanchine’s 1962 full-length ballet, to the Florida shore, diving underwater for elements of the supernatural realm. Coral Castle, a romantic old-Miami landmark, provides the model for the court in this production. The ballet premieres tonight at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Miami City Ballet principal Patricia Delgado as Titania (photo Alberto Oviedo, courtesy MCB)

“The reimagining gives us a great chance to mount a masterpiece with inspiration from the place where we live,” says artistic director Lourdes Lopez. For years, Lopez has wanted to see this Shakespeare-based ballet, with sundry music by Felix Mendelssohn, as a new concept. Now, The George Balanchine Trust has approved her vision while counting on her to keep the choreography intact.

Miami Beach–born artist Michele Oka Doner proposed the aquatic theme and has been instrumental in the redesign. Her tutus evoke jellyfish while her unitards derive patterns from a coral reef. In the spirit of this version, Bottom will turn into a manatee—tempted with sea-grass by Titania. Stunning videos on the company's Instagram account have given fans a glimpse of what to expect in tonight's performance.

 

Lopez also emphasizes the contribution of dramaturge Tarell Alvin McCraney. The young playwright—a MacArthur Fellow who grew up in Miami’s inner city—is a dedicated explorer of Shakespeare’s plays and served as playwright in residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK. “He’s helped the dancers think more deeply about the text, giving meaning to their steps,” says Lopez, who hopes to turn this dream project for a special occasion into a recurrent company success. —Guillermo Perez    

Views

In his new film Why We Dance, director Ezra Hurwitz helps us understand what it looks and feels like for members of Miami City Ballet as they prepare for a performance. The film's detailed shots of hands and feet, and its intimate behind-the-scenes footage, feels like an invisibility cloak that allows you to slip backstage. The propulsive score gives a sense of energy and excitement that builds throughout the day and culminates as the curtain rises, revealing the dancers onstage in Justin Peck's Heatscape and George Balanchine's Bourrée Fantasque.

Created for the company's 30th anniversary season, Why We Dance also includes voiceovers of company members as they reflect on their art. As one dancer says, "We care so much about what we do here and being the best that we can be—collectively and individually." If a ballet company could be summed up in a sentence, I think that's getting pretty darn close.

As with his previous films, Hurwitz draws from his experience as a former member of MCB and uses his dancer's sensibility to create something beautiful. We've loved all his films so far, and can't wait to see what's next!

 

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

Lopez coaching MCB dancers (photo by Daniel Azoulay, courtesy MCB)

It was Labor Day weekend of 2012 when Lourdes Lopez received the phone call. Edward Villella, Miami City Ballet’s founder and artistic director of 27 years, had left abruptly, eight months ahead of schedule. Just two days later, Lopez, who wasn’t supposed to take Villella’s place until May of the following year, found herself in the MCB studios. “It happened literally over a weekend,” says Lopez, “and it was scary. I was walking into an environment and company I didn’t really know.”

It was no secret that Miami City Ballet had been going through hard times. Despite the successes Villella had brought to the company—a strong Balanchine lineage, the first U.S. commission by Liam Scarlett and celebrated tours to New York and Paris—it was over $3 million in debt. Tensions between Villella and the board were running high. In 2011, MCB announced that Villella would step down after the 2012–13 season, a “mutual decision,” though his supporters quickly said that he was forced out.

MCB looked into several replacement options, including its own dancer Jennifer Kronenberg, but Lopez, a former New York City Ballet principal who had worked extensively with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, rose to the top of the list. She had a strong connection to the company’s repertoire, and leadership experience as executive director of The George Balanchine Foundation and co-founder of Morphoses with Christopher Wheeldon. She was also Cuban-born and Miami-raised, a hometown girl. The company asked Lopez to consider the position, and though it meant leaving a successful career and moving her family to Miami, Lopez accepted after a visit. “What drew me to the job were the dancers. I knew they would dance anything, and that is very exciting as you think of rep,” she says. “And when I arrived in Miami, I saw potential. I saw a city that was booming culturally.”

For years, Miami City Ballet had been characterized by musicality and temperament, whether it was dancing Balanchine’s Agon or Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. Since Lopez’s unexpectedly early arrival, she has expanded the repertoire, while maintaining the Balanchine foundation that Villella established. MCB had four company premieres in the 2013–14 season, including Nacho Duato’s Jardí Tancat, and a revival of the classic Don Quixote, choices that Lopez says reflect the city and company’s cultural mix. (About one-third of the company is Latin American.)

Lopez’s experience with Morphoses, though, has been among the greatest influences in her programming. Last year, Wheeldon set his stylishly modernist Polyphonia and NYCB hotshot Justin Peck was commissioned to create Chutes and Ladders. This season, Peck will collaborate with street artist Shepard Fairey, the man behind the Barack Obama “Hope” poster. And at Lopez’s bidding, Morphoses has been incorporated into MCB as a “laboratory” for new, collaborative projects performed by company dancers. She hopes it will become MCB’s experimental arm.

Lopez also wants to polish the dancers’ technique and establish a uniformity of style in the corps. Upon her arrival, she says the caliber of dancing was “a little bit uneven as a company. So I went back to the basics.” This extends to the troupe’s school, the source of nearly half of the company’s dancers. Under new director Darleen Callaghan, the curriculum has expanded to include character dance, music and dance history. Lopez hopes that eventually most or all of the dancers will come from the academy, mirroring NYCB’s relationship with the School of American Ballet. “There is a quickness, energy and musicality necessary for Balanchine,” she says. “The school keeps aesthetics in place.”

Despite all the positive, money remains an issue. MCB is the country’s eighth largest company, with 50 dancers and a house orchestra to pay. While the deficit has been reduced by about two-thirds, the company is still $1 million in the red. Lopez hopes to eliminate it next year, with donations and revenue on the rise and attendance up 17 percent across the company’s three performance venues. The turbulent seas that seemed ready to engulf MCB two years ago have receded; the future looks bright. “I want to be a director that’s open, available and fair,” says Lopez. “One who is demanding and hopeful.”

At A Glance:

Miami City Ballet

Size: 50 dancers

Starting salary: Company does not release information.

Length of contract: 38 weeks

Performances: 65 at home, 12 on tour

Website: miamicityballet.org

 

Sponsored

Videos

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Win It!