Experiencing Miami City Ballet From the Audience

Posted by on 10.24.2011

Opening Weekend marks the end of Miami City Ballet’s rehearsal period and a welcome break from the studios.  Our lives constantly revolve around the stage: even when we are not there, we are preparing for our next round of shows. Getting back into the swing of performing again is something that we look forward to all summer long.

There we were, back again.  The last time we had stood beneath the bright lights of the stage was in Paris, and now it was finally time for a homecoming.  It was Friday October 21st at 7:45 pm.  I was walking from backstage to my orchestra seat in the house, after wishing all the dancers “Merde,” a ballet dancer’s version of “break-a-leg.”  The atmosphere behind the curtain was one of excitement and exhilaration.

I settled into my seat to review the program, as I  watched the audience file into the house.  George Balanchine’s Square Dance started the evening on a bright note.  Square Dance is an incredibly difficult ballet for Principals and the Corps de Ballet alike.  The quick upbeat tempo demands precise and clean movements from the dancers.  The choreography contains mostly petite allegro that carries through the entire piece.  Petite allegro contains small jumps and intricate footwork.  Every time I watch this ballet, I find more intricacies in the choreography, illustrating the brilliance of the mind behind it.

Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun was up next.  I am less familiar with this pas de deux, as I have never learned the choreography or performed it.  Therefore, my perception of the steps is constantly changing.  The more often I see it, the more I find to appreciate.  I love that I can see two different couples dancing the same choreography, but have an entirely different experience: the steps leave room for interpretation and for the dancers to add their own artistry.

After a short pause, the curtain rose on Christopher Wheeldon’s Litury, another one of my personal favorites. The choreography creates unique and beautiful lines with the male and female’s bodies, pushing them to their limits.  The aerobatic quality of the steps always takes the audience’s breath away.

The night ended with an electric Twyla Tharp piece, In The Upper Room. A constant crowd pleaser, the dancers seemed to be particularly comfortable onstage.  You could feel their energy radiating into the Arsht Center house.  I got chills as I watched the finale, known to the dancers as “Number 9.”  Everyone was in sync with each other and clearly enjoying themselves.

All and all, another successful performance that brought the audience to their feet over and over again.  What a wonderful reception Miami gave it’s hometown ballet company.

 

Stay tuned this week for a video blog on dancing Balanchine’s Square Dance.

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