Guerra and Kronenberg rehearsing "Transparente." Photo by Patricia J. Reagan Photography, Courtesy DDTM

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra's New Company Quickly Gains Ground in Miami

Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra are used to being the center of the action from their years as leading dancers at Miami City Ballet. But managing the whirl of activity at a rehearsal of their fledgling troupe, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, is a whole other dizzying dimension—coaching ballets, fielding questions from a photographer and a dancer managing company logistics, squeezing in a quick self-coached rehearsal for themselves. Kronenberg perches on a bench as a costume designer hems her skirt, talking through schedules with Guerra before they hurl themselves into Ronald Savkovic's fraught Transparente, releasing real life tensions in choreographic drama.




After they get home and put daughter Eva, 4, to bed, they'll be emailing, making phone calls, and managing social media until after midnight.

"I didn't imagine it would be easy but wow," says Kronenberg. "It really is a test of how invested we are. Every day one of us goes 'why are we doing this?' "

But every day also reminds them why. "The reward is you watch the dancers and they grow and things come together," she adds. "It's amazing."

The couple, who retired from MCB in April 2016, have scrambled to keep up since they launched DDTM last November with an enthusiastically received Miami show. Since then they've performed at the BIG ARTS theater in Sanibel and collaborated with the Florida Grand Opera on the Cuban-themed Before Night Falls. Studio performances this spring at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, a leading Miami venue, have led to a main stage show with five ballets on July 8. Later this month DDTM will be featured at the Island Moving Company's Great Friends Dance Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. In September they're slated to appear at Danzar Para La Paz (Dancing for Peace), a UNICEF benefit, in Buenos Aires.


Mayrel Martinez and Maikel Hernandez in Vincente Nebrada's "Fiebre." Photo Courtesy DDTM.


"Things are moving very quickly," says Guerra. "We were so worried when we left Miami City Ballet. We didn't think so many things would happen in a year."

They've been aided by an enthusiastic network of friends, dance world contacts, and generations of MCB talent. Yanis Pikieris and Marielena Mencia, two of MCB's founding principal dancers, have provided free rehearsal space at Miami Youth Ballet, their school and studio. DDTM dancers pitch in offstage: Yanis Eric Pikieris (Pikieris and Mencia's son) has re-designed the website; Trisha Carter acts as company manger; and Chloe Freytag shoots rehearsal photos for MCB dancer Rebecca King, who's taken over social media duties while on a leave of absence from MCB. Little Eva has become a budding diva and adored mascot.


Former Miami City Ballet dancer Chloe Freytag reutrned to Miami to dance with DDTM. Photo by Patricia Reagan, Courtesy DDTM.


"We're like a big family," Guerra says. "Every morning we're like 'let's do it for the kids'."

The pair has also gotten a boost from their popularity in Miami, where they were beloved as a bi-cultural couple whose affection enriched their interpretation of ballets like Giselle and Romeo and Juliet.

Still, few thought of them as more than dancers. Among those who recognized their leadership abilities was MCB founding artistic director Edward Villella, who nominated Kronenberg to succeed him before he left in 2012. (The board of directors instead chose Lourdes Lopez.) When Kronenberg and Guerra asked their mentor's advice on starting a company, Villella told them "if anybody can do this, you two can."

The troupe's artistic identity thus far blends contemporary ballets, often from rising choreographers like former Atlanta Ballet dancer Tara Lee or MCB talent Ariel Rose, with Latino character. Guerra, and many of the dancers, are Cuban - you'll hear as much Spanish as English in rehearsal. A highlight of their upcoming South Dade show is Fiebre, by deceased Venezuelan choreographer Vicente Nebrada, set to the songs of legendary Cuban fireball La Lupe, and staged with the help of Pikieris, who is co-director of the Vicente Nebrada Foundation. Kronenberg and Guerra hope Fiebre will appeal to Miami's many Venezuelan emigres. Also on the bill is a pas de deux from Sinergia, by Luis Serrano, another Cuban MCB alum and former artistic director of Mexico's Ballet of Monterrey—featuring his ex-wife, Katia Carranza, a former MCB principal rejoining the company this season.


Stephan Fons and Sarah McCahill in "Fiebre." Photo Courtesy DDTM.


All that plays well in heavily Hispanic Miami. Spanish language network Telemundo will feature DDTM this week, and they've been invited to appear on Univision's morning show Despierta America—rare exposure for a small classical company.

Ahead of them are exciting opportunities and daunting challenges. Island Moving Company has invited DDTM to be company in residence at their festival; they're set to collaborate again with Florida Grand Opera; and they're talking with a major Florida performing arts center about a show next season. Confirmation of their non-profit status arrived this week, which will make it easier to raise money for what they hope will eventually be a 20-week season.

Meanwhile, they're scraping for sponsors, supplemented with fees from their own teaching and guest performances. South Florida has seen several independent ballet troupes start with fanfare only to fail.

But Kronenberg and Guerra are determined to continue.

"There isn't a choice," Kronenberg says. "It's like when people asked me 'why do you want to dance?' It was just something inside me I knew I had to do, despite the sacrifices – something bigger than yourself. I have the same feeling about this."

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Peter Mueller, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

2020 Stars of the Corps: 10 Dancers Making Strides In and Out of the Spotlight

The corps de ballet make up the backbone of every company. In our Fall 2020 issue, we highlighted 10 ensemble standouts to keep your eye on. Click on their names to learn more!

Dara Holmes, Joffrey Ballet

A male dancer catches a female dancer in his right arm as she wraps her left arm around his shoulder and executes a high arabesque on pointe. Both wear white costumes and dance in front of a blue backdrop onstage.

Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa in Myles Thatcher's Body of Your Dreams

Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet

Wanyue Qiao, American Ballet Theatre

Wearing a powder blue tutu, cropped light yellow top and feather tiara, Wanyue Qiao does a piqu\u00e9 retir\u00e9 on pointe on her left leg and pulls her right arm in towards her.

Wanyue Qiao as an Odalisque in Konstantin Sergeyev's Le Corsaire

Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, Houston Ballet

Three male dancers in tight-fitting, multicolored costumes stand in positions of ascending height from left to right. All extend their right arms out in front of them.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (far right) with Saul Newport and Austen Acevedo in Oliver Halkowich's Following

Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Leah McFadden, Colorado Ballet

Wearing a white pixie wig and a short light-pink tunic costume, a female ballet dancer poses in attitude front on pointe with her left arm bent across her ribs and her right hand held below her chin.

Leah McFadden as Amour in Colorado Ballet's production of Don Quixote

Mike Watson, Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Maria Coelho, Tulsa Ballet

Maria Coelho and Sasha Chernjavsky in Andy Blankenbuehler's Remember Our Song

Kate Lubar, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

Alexander Reneff-Olson, San Francisco Ballet

A ballerina in a black feathered tutu stands triumphantly in sous-sus, holding the hand of a male dancer in a dark cloak with feathers underneath who raises his left hand in the air.

Alexander Reneff-Olson (right) as Von Rothbart with San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan in Swan Lake

Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

India Bradley, New York City Ballet

Wearing a blue dance dress with rhinestone embellishments and a sparkly tiara, India Bradley finishes a move with her arms out to the side and hands slightly flexed.

India Bradley practices backstage before a performance of Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.

Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB

Bella Ureta, Cincinnati Ballet

Wearing a white dress with pink corset, Bella Ureta does a first arabesque on pointe in front of an onstage stone wall.

Bella Ureta performs the Act I Pas de Trois in Kirk Peterson's Swan Lake

Hiromi Platt, Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

Alejándro Gonzales, Oklahoma City Ballet

Dressed in a green bell-boy costume and hat, Alejandro Gonz\u00e1lez does a saut\u00e9 with his left leg in retir\u00e9 and his arms in a long diagonal from right to left. Other dancers in late 19-century period costumes watch him around the stage.

Alejandro González in Michael Pink's Dracula at Oklahoma City Ballet.

Kate Luber, Courtesy Oklahoma City Ballet

Nina Fernandes, Miami City Ballet

Wearing a long white tutu and crown, Nina Fernandes does a saut de chat in front of a wintery backdrop as snow falls from the top of the stage.

Nina Fernandes in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker

Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Miami City Ballet

Quinn Wharton

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Angelica Generosa Shares Her Classic, Comfy Style In and Out of the Studio

"I love the feeling and look of effortless fashion," says Angelica Generosa. Preferring a classic style, the Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist keeps her wardrobe stocked with blazers. But they serve a practical purpose, too. "It tends to get chilly in Seattle, so it's the perfect accessory for layering," Generosa explains.

She's also quite fond of designer handbags. "They're my go-to accessory, and they're also my weakness when shopping," she says, naming Chloé, Chanel and Dior as some of her favorite brands. "I really appreciate the craftsmanship it takes to produce one—they're so beautiful and each has its own story, in a way."

In the studio, Generosa prioritizes comfort, and she'll change up her look depending on the repertoire (leotards and tutus for classical works, breathable shirts with workout pants for contemporary). But she always arrives to work in style. "I really love putting together outfits for even just going to the studio," she says. "It's another way of expressing my mood and what kind of vibe I'm going for that day."

The Details: Street

Angelica Generosa, wearing a blue blazer, white blouse and gray jeans, is photographed from underneath as she walks and looks to the right.

Quinn Wharton

BCBG blazer: "It has some shoulder pads and a really cool pattern," says Generosa. "It reminds me of my mom and '80s fashion."

Zara blouse: She incorporate neutrals, like this white satin button-up, to balance bright pops of colors.

Angelica Generosa looks off to her right in front of a glass-windowed building. She wears a blue blazer, white blouse, gray jeans and carries a small green handbag.

Quinn Wharton

Madewell jeans: Comfort is a major factor for Generosa, who gets her fashion inspiration from her mom, friends and people she comes across day to day.

Chloé bag: "I tend to have smaller purses because I'm quite small. Bigger bags overwhelm me sometimes—unless it's my dance bag, of course!"

The Details: Studio

Angleica Generosa, wearing a blue tank leotard, black wool leggings and pink pointe shoes, balances in a lunge on pointe with her left leg in front, facing a wall of windows.

Quinn Wharton

Label Dancewear leotard: "This was designed by my good friend Elizabeth Murphy, a principal dancer here at PNB. Her leotards always fit me really well."

Mirella leggings: "I get cold easily," says Generosa, who wears leggings and vests to stay warm throughout the day.

Angelica Generosa, wearing a blue tank leotard, black wool tights and pink pointe shoes, jumps and crosses her right foot over her left shin while lifting her arms up to the right.

Quinn Wharton

Freed of London pointe shoes: "When sewing them, I crisscross my elastics and use an elasticized ribbon from Body Wrappers," which helps alleviate Achilles tendon issues, she says. She then trims the satin off of the tip of the shoe. "Then I bend the shank a bit to loosen it up and cut a bit off where my arch is."

Getty Images

This New "Nutcracker" Competition Wants Your Dance Studio to be Part of a Virtual Collaboration

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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