“Sunshine in Motion” is the theme as Miami City Ballet (MCB) finally returns to stages in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez, celebrating her 10th anniversary, promised a memorable season filled with old favorites and bold new premieres.

“We cannot wait to greet our audiences with a warm, sunshine-filled welcome back to our home theaters,” said Lopez in an announcement earlier this month. “It is so exciting to be back on stage, returning to the thrill of live, in-theater performances and to once again feel the joy of performing…” 

Executive Director Tania Castroverde Moskalenko echoed, “Our South Florida home gave MCB many opportunities to stay connected to our communities over the past year, and digital offerings opened new pathways for us to share our distinctive style with a wider audience. But nothing is akin to performing in our theaters.”  

MCB will open its 36th season on Oct. 14 with the online premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by George Balanchine, a classic ballet reimagined in a dreamy, underwater seascape and featuring sets and costumes by famed environmental artist Michele Oka Doner. The program will be available on-demand through Oct. 31. 

Live performances return in December with a holiday tradition, George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker,” at the Broward Center, Dec. 10 – 12; Arsht Center, Dec. 16 – 26; and Kravis Center, Dec. 29 – 30. 

Alexei Ratmansky’s new choreography to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” will receive its U.S. premiere Feb. 11 – 27. For his “Swan Lake,” the Russian researched the history of the fabled ballet, reconstructing much of the original choreography through notations dating back to the 1895 Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov production. 

Balanchine tryptic “Jewels,” March 18 – April 23, was inspired by a visit to famed French jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels and includes three distinct mini-ballets — the mysterious and poetic “Emeralds” suggesting a verdant French countryside, the quintessentially American “Rubies” and opulent, Imperial Russian splendor in “Diamonds,” according to program notes. 

MCB will present a mixed-rep bill April 29 – May 23, headlined by the return of Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son,” and two company premieres from choreographers William Forsythe and Christopher Wheeldon. Rounding out the program is an innovative ballet-meets-technology world premiere by rising choreographic star Claudia Schreier and pioneering filmmaker Adam Barish. Schreier’s first MCB commission, “Places” (2020), was a critically acclaimed success. 

In addition to the pandemic, Lopez noted her company had overcome many hurdles throughout its history and the “stories” her dancers are rehearsing will put memories of the lost 2020-21 season behind them. 

“We are thrilled to present a season that is filled with stories — stories of childhood dreams and fantasy, of transcendent love, hope and courage, of distant places and times and of complete human forgiveness. Stories that speak to our most human selves, all to reconnect with you, the only way we know how, thru dance,” she said. 

For tickets and more information, go to MiamiCityBallet.org.