MCB's "Carmen": Ballet with a Flamenco Flair

Jeanette Delgado with MCB dancers in Richard Alston's Carmen. Photo by Daniel Azoulay, Courtesy MCB.

 

Love. Betrayal. A feisty Spanish gypsy woman with a terrible fate. Though perhaps best known as an opera,Carmen continues to captivate audiences. Now, Miami City Ballet is tackling choreographer Richard Alston's version of the tale. Before the last leg of performances Mar. 20-22Pointe spoke with MCB principal Jeanette Delgado about interpreting the title role in the American premiere of Alston's flamenco-flavored ballet.

How do you get into character?

The music is the most helpful thing because it's so intense and powerful. I try to listen to the opera while I'm warming up. And sometimes I read sections of the book that I've highlighted. That puts me in the mind frame of who I want to be. Once I get onstage, I try to be really present and respond to the people I'm dancing with in a natural way that's not forced.

 

How does the flamenco feel play into the choreography?

Richard Alston was really adamant about us using our backs. There's a lot of twisting and spiraling of the upper body to give that sense of flamenco and Spanish flair. He also talked about the dynamics of the music. When certain notes are very precise, he told us to be just as dramatically sharp.

 

What has been the most difficult part of the ballet so far?

Developing the character so quickly. Ideally, you have three acts to really evolve. Even though it's probably physically harder to dance a three-act ballet than a one-act, I think emotionally, this is more challenging. There's a lot more I have to do in my mind in a very short amount of time to portray everything Carmen's gone through.

 

Do you identify with Carmen in any way?

She has a wild side that's very uninhibited and free-spirited. I like that element of her, that she gets to be fiery and say and do whatever she feels. When I was younger, I felt that I had more of that kind of character. I'd like to be able to tap into that onstage.

  

For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.


Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
Darian Volkova, Courtesy Shayer

After years of rigorous training, ballet dancers become accustomed to constructive and oftentimes harsh criticism. Being scrutinized is something that comes with the territory.

I myself spent the better half of my high school years in Russia, where political correctness does not get in the way of progress. We were trained to use criticism as fuel to propel us forward. Everything said in class or rehearsal was meant to help better ourselves and not to be taken personally.

But where is the line between helpful advice and offensive language?

Keep reading...
News
Greta Hodgkinson and Guillaume Côté in Margeurite and Armand. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading...
Training
Students at Sun King Dance's Adult Ballet Camp. Jenny McQueen of Capture Photography, Courtesy Sun King Dance.

For adult recreational dancers, summer isn't just a time for swapping out warm-up sweaters for breezy tees—it's also about taking your training to the next level, and perhaps packing your bags for a ballet workshop. Why should teens and pre-professionals have all of the fun? Fortunately, there are scores of adult summer programs all over the United States, and even abroad for those of you looking to sprinkle in a little sightseeing after your final reverénce. (Can't wait for summer? Check out these spring workshops at National Ballet of Canada and Sarasota Ballet.)

What can adults expect from a weekend or a week of dance training? Everything from technique to repertoire to yoga. Most of all, it's a chance to just dig in and dance, without a pesky to-do list waiting for you after class. Here are some summer programs designed for adult recreational dancers to keep on your radar.

Keep reading...