11 Days Until Paris.

Posted by on 06.20.2011

As Miami City Ballet’s three-week tour to Paris continues to near, we began our second week of preparations today with a total of eight ballets in a six hour rehearsal period.

Edward Villella, who is very active in our rehearsal process, discussed some interesting points today during our Theme and Variations rehearsal.  In addition to giving notes to the principals, he took the corps aside to bring a few things to light.  When talking to the ladies about the first movement, he noted the port de bras, or the movement of the arms.  He wanted all the dancer’s arms to have a swinging quality as the ladies lift their arms above their heads, then bring them back to waist level.  As he mentioned, this ballet is in fact very “academic”.  The steps for the corps women in the first half of the ballet are the kinds of concepts that students around the world work on in ballet class everyday. However, Mr. Villella tells us that Balanchine always throws surprises in his ballets.  “In this ballet the surprise element is the timing and phrasing.  I want to see a harmonious physicality.”

When discussing the ballet’s spectacular finale, he brought the men into the conversation.  Theme and Variations ends with a polonaise danced by twelve couples, lead by the principal couple.  At one moment the entire cast of 26, form a long diagonal line across the stage and polonaise forward in unison.  (A polonaise is a step of Polish origin in 3/4 time.) Mr. Villella notes this moment’s importance. “There needs to be a physicality in the step; a contrast between [each movement] accentuated by a bend in the upper body.”  Overall he says, “This ballet is very royal.  It should be like the third act of swan lake. The men and women should relate to each other in a grand way.”


Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado in Ballet Imperial. (c) Miami City Ballet

Next up on the rehearsal schedule, Ballet Imperial.  Again, Mr. Villella took a moment to share some of his insight with us.  He mentions a step danced by the women in the third movement.  He noticed that the speed of the music seemed fast for us, but he doesn’t think that the tempo should be adjusted, as it adds to the excitement.  “Balanchine didn’t create steps that wouldn’t work.  He knew they would.”  He was also adamant about the style of this work.  “We need to bring a certain style to [Ballet Imperial] and Balanchine has helped us by defining the style through the choreography.”

Lastly, he told us how pleased he has been with our work over these past eight, intense rehearsal days.  He said, “This is a company. I am very impressed with where we are in our preparations for Paris. There is no other way to prepare for this than by performing all of these ballets. And you are doing that in here; for us and for yourselves.”  We are so glad that we are making him proud.  It is great to know that our hard work is paying off.  There is no better feeling.


TENDUS is turning one on June 29th!  Help me celebrate by bringing ballet to young people in South Florida.  Click here for more information on how you can become a part of my very special cause!



  1. I am jealous about the 3 weeks in Paris. I have been self learning French through CDs and books for more than a year, planning for the day when I can go to Paris for a two week vacation. But first I have to save up two weeks of vacation. Do please post to your blog once in a while from Paris.

    • There will be plenty more blog posts leading up to our trip and once we are there! Please check back for more. You can subscribe to my email list if you would like to receive updates in your inbox. You will find the subscription link on the home page. Thanks for the comment!

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