New Artistic Director Makes Her Mark on Miami City Ballet

Even though she has one season under her belt, Miami City Ballet’s new artistic director, Lourdes Lopez, still has plenty of surprises for the internationally acclaimed company’s fans.

When she took over, Lopez inherited a season already programmed by her predecessor, the company’s founder, Edward Villela.

“The fact that it had already been planned allowed me to be a caretaker,” Lopez explained. “I had time to get to know the dancers, assess the company, get to the DNA of the Miami City Ballet. You have to have a feel for the dancers, how they work, how they rehearse and how it all relates to the performances on stage. I think my first season was a success.”

This October, audiences will get their first taste of Lopez’s vision for the company, Program I: First Ventures, featuring the company premiere of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s breakthrough contemporary ballet, Polyphonia, along with two classic George Balanchine ballets, Ballo de Regina, set to music by Verdi, and Serenade, with music by Tchaikovsky.

In addition to Miami City Ballet’s traditional holiday offering, Balanchine’s choreography of Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, Lopez will introduce four new works to the company’s repertoire, crossing many dance idioms, including Jerome Robbins’ exciting ballet to the Broadway classic, West Side Story.

“It’s a very ambitious (season) because there are four new works that are entering the rep. These are new works and they have styles and genres the dancers have never danced. Not that it’s alien, but it’s unfamiliar territory,” said Lopez. “I wanted to challenge them. A dancer’s life is so short and what you want to say at the end of your career is I danced as much as I could.”

And she adds—in the case of West Side Story—act and sing, too: “It’s going to be amazing.”

Miami City Ballet presents Program I: First Ventures at Miami’s Arsht Center (Oct. 18-20), the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (Oct. 25-27) and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (Nov. 15-17). George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will be performed at the Arsht Center (Dec. 19-24), Kravis Center (Dec. 27-29) and Broward Center (Jan. 3 – 5). For tickets and show times, go to MiamiCityBallet.org.


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