Ballet Stars
Messmer in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Miami City Ballet.

An ambiguous figure—does she bless or curse an orphaned boy?—but clear-cut in the beauty of her steps, the title character of Alexei Ratmansky's The Fairy's Kiss gained dimension, thanks to Simone Messmer's bold portrayal. In this history-steeped premiere for Miami City Ballet, the principal dancer—then in her second year with the company—flashed through as an obstinate spirit, a mysterious gypsy and a shrewd seductress: all manifestations of a beguiling dealer in destiny. Whether leading her supernatural posse or intruding upon human affairs, Messmer's fairy stayed aloft on Stravinsky's music to follow the dictates of drama, which Ratmansky distilled from a Hans Christian Andersen story and its earlier ballet productions. Messmer has praised the renowned Russian choreographer for the humanity he shows through the logic of his classicism. That sentiment—really a recognition of a practitioner's reverence for the art form—must certainly be mutual.

Messmer in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy MCB.

Everything Nutcracker
Artwork by Ruben Toledo, Courtesy Miami City Ballet.

After nearly three decades at Miami City Ballet, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker demanded a makeover. Costumes and scenery, as artistic director Lourdes Lopez admits, were faded and frayed. To do justice to such a beloved ballet, she has partnered with The Music Center for a new production to debut in Los Angeles this December before brightening South Florida theaters.

Lopez entrusted husband-and-wife artistic team Isabel and Ruben Toledo with bringing The Nutcracker into high definition, drawn by both their sense of classicism and innovative creativity. The Cuban-American couple may work in different media—Isabel is a fashion designer, Ruben as a visual artist—yet as collaborators they flourish in stage work.

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Miami City Ballet principal Patricia Delgado as Titania. Photo by Alberto Oviedo, Courtesy MCB.

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.

“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.

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