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Villella To Step Down from MCB


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#106 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:57 PM

If Lopez is good at her job, then it sounds like a great fit: a Latina--a Cuban emigree, no less!--a Balanchine pedigree, and experience outside of the NYCB bubble. And she doesn't seem to have the urge to choreograph.


If she's selected, I hope that she could finally build a bridge to the great Cuban exiled balletic potentia CURRENTLY RESIDING IN THE CITY and so largely and historically ignored and unused by MCB and for which the classics could finally find a permanent home within the Miamian repertoire via proper experienced ballet mistresses and appropriate coaching. Lourdes knows about it...she's been and danced in Havana...she knows the value of what has been so sadly wasted over here so far.
Let's just pray.

#107 bart

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:45 AM

If she's selected, I hope that she could finally build a bridge to the great Cuban exiled balletic potential CURRENTLY RESIDING IN THE CITY and so largely and historically ignored and unused by MCB and for which the classics could finally find a permanent home within the Miamian repertoire via proper experienced ballet mistresses and appropriate coaching.

With respect, Cristian, you are talking about a serious re-invention of a company that already has developed a following and some renown with a quite different schooling, coaching, and repertoire.

I am sure that there are people in the Miami area who wish for such a transformation. On the other hand, I don't think this has played a part in the transitions going on in MCB right now. The experience of Cuban Classical Ballet, a start-up venture committed to just the kind of repertoire you mention, had difficulty establishing an audience and donor base. Their story is not encouraging.

I am not familiar with the history of Lopez's involvement with traditional classical works or with what is going on at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. On the other hand, it's pretty clear that the reason she IS being considered for the MCB position is related to her long personal involvement and familiarity with the Balanchine and related reps, and her continuously renewed contacts with what is being created and produced in contemporary classical ballet.

#108 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:29 AM

I am sure that there are people in the Miami area who wish for such a transformation. On the other hand, I don't think this has played a part in the transitions going on in MCB right now. The experience of Cuban Classical Ballet, a start-up venture committed to just the kind of repertoire you mention, had difficulty establishing an audience and donor base. Their story is not encouraging.


You are very right. The usual audience you would see at the CCBM had nothing to do with the parade I get to see at the Arsht Center the most of the times. Yes, there were not rich donors, there was no theater, and it was definitely a romantic project heading to failure, Still, I really remember with much pleasure performances of works that I will probably never ever see again-("Spectre", "Graduation Ball", "Grand Pas de Quatre", Herte's "Fille", Ivanov "Nutcracker PDD" and so on)-, and everytime I see an Odile-(Hayna was, BTW, the last one I saw , right at CCBM)-I can't understand the lack of the very basis of the art form in a a company that projects to become international. I know Odile and Raymonda, and Lissette and Nikiya, and you too, and everybody else in this board also, but...is it fair to deprive dancers and audiences of them...? Haven't every single major company in the world included them as a matter of NECESSITY, both to show the very four legs of the ballet table and to give the chance to dancers to show that they can do fouettes...? Don't you realize that a carreer like that of Kronenberg and Albertson is an extremely limited one, due to the absences..? I would hate to see Jeanette ending up like that-(or like Ileana)-, to be honest, while the rest of the world talks about the wonderful Kitris of Osipova and Valdes, the amazing Beauties of Cojocaru and the triumph across the sea of Novikova's Raymonda.

SOMETHING has to change. The classics NEED to be part of a company, and they ought to be in the dancers and audiences view at all times, and I really believe that there are coaches out there that could do wonders with this dancers, without loosing their Balanchinean training.

Wouldn't be better for them to become more than "Balanchine babies"...?

Just a thought...

#109 bart

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:14 AM

I suppose this is OFF-TOPIC, but Cristian raises an excellent question. I'd love to hear what others who follow MCB think about this question. What part DO the 19th-century classics have in the repertoire of MCB?

The dilemma for many smaller companies seems to be: there is definitely an audience for these works, but not always enough to subsidize the tremendous costs of presenting them at the highest level.

Note that I say "at the highest level." Regionally, in the U.S., there is no shortage of dumbed down Giselles or Swan Lakes and mediocre to abysmal Corsaires and Don Quixotes. My own feeling is that maintaining this repertoire requires a company with vast resources, a specialized staff, a sophisticated audience, and a long-term commitment. It may be that only the big artistic capitals of the world will be able to produce them in a manner faithful to the originals.

The rest of us may have to depend for the most part on DVD's, especially since theatrical releases of filmed ballet from places like the Bolshoi and La Scala seem largely restricted to larger U.S. cities and university towns.

What MCB could do is rethink their current full-length productions (Giselle, Coppelia, Don Quixote) and commit to the effort to remount one a year (with money and coaching) just as they did with the new production of Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or as they consistently do with Balanchine's Nutcracker. It should be possible to find a donor willing to fund a serious remounting of something , keeping the sets and costumes but blocking time for coaching and extra rehearsal.

Another thought: ABT is supposed to be coming to the Kravis Center next season for several performances. I'm not sure whether this will be a full length ballet or, less likely, a group of shorter works. Anyway, this will fill a gap in classical ballet performance down in our part of this state. Miami a few years ago did not support a run of ABT Sleeping Beauties, and the company has not come back since. If there is indeed a large Latin market for the classics in Miami, how about inviting Latin American companies to bring classical full-length ballet to Miami? I can understand that this might be impossible, given politics, for Ballet Nacional de Cuba. But what about lesser and less well-known national companies from Brasil, Chile, Bkuenos Aires?

#110 California

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:48 AM

It's Lourdes Lopez - just announced in the Miami Herald:
http://www.miamihera...mes-ourdes.html

#111 Helene

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:57 AM

Congratulations to Ms. Lopez :flowers:

MCB has presented "Don Q" and "Giselle", two works with which National Ballet of Cuba are associated. Coaching is often in short supply in NA companies, and the company could use the deep resources of the Cuban ballet community in Miami for that purpose.

#112 JMcN

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

In response to Christian and bart's points, we have the opposite situation in the UK where companies are expected to put on full length works and mixed programmes don't sell! It is an ongoing dilemma but I think it would be a mistake to expect a company to change away from its established rep and audience too quickly.

#113 bart

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:13 AM

Yes, Congratulations to Lourdes Lopez. The article promises that it "will be updated as more information becomes available." One thing that has not been clarified is the point at which she will indeed take over.

Edward Villella put together the 2012-13 program, and his contract lasts until the end of that season. Often, I know, this does not mean that the person involved will actually stay on the job until the contract runs out.

I hope that the disagreements subside and that everyone pulls together for a deserved tribute to Edward Villella, the man who created and defined MCB, during the 2012-13 season. I also hope that we will see a lot more dancing for years to come from Jennifer Kronenberg. Despite the outcome of this job search, Kronenberg, as dancer, teacher, and "public face" for the company, remains and should remain a very big asset for MCB.

#114 kfw

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:16 AM

As someone whose first love in ballet is Balanchine, I'm pleased that Lopez has been selected. But as someone whose first love is Balanchine, I'm also deeply grateful to Villella for what he's accomplished in Miami, and her selection seems like another slap in his face. I hope he stays busy coaching and staging here, there and everywhere for appreciative dancers and directors.

#115 California

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:43 AM

One thing that has not been clarified is the point at which she will indeed take over.


The Miamia Herald story says:

Lopez, 54, will take over when Villella steps down in May 2013, at the end of the company’s 27th season.


But I would assume she will be active long before then to smooth the transition. For one thing, she will be responsible for the 2013-14 season.

#116 Birdsall

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

I asked the head of the local ballet company in my town if she would ever consider doing Raymonda, and she said they are too small for such a ballet. There are lots of roles and a need for a big corps, I assume. I suspect MCB has to also consider things like this, even though it is a decent sized company. Not everyone can dance every night, and squeezing in 3-4 performances in a weekend like they do, I suspect it is hard to perform some of the story ballets without working the corps to death and some of the soloists. If South Florida were more concentrated like a huge city instead of a sprawling megalopolis where nothing is centrally located they could probably do lots of performances throughout the month on other days besides just weekend days and still fill seats, but I suspect some of these issues keep them from staging some of the classics. I could be wrong. I know Palm Beach Opera tends to squeeze the entire run in one weekend requiring two casts since singers can't sing a huge role two nights in a row. Anyway, I assume issues like that might play a part. It is probably easier to sell seats to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances than other nights of the week in Florida. New York City can probably fill seats on a Tuesday night.

#117 Birdsall

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:18 AM

Another thought: ABT is supposed to be coming to the Kravis Center next season for several performances. I'm not sure whether this will be a full length ballet or, less likely, a group of shorter works. Anyway, this will fill a gap in classical ballet performance down in our part of this state. Miami a few years ago did not support a run of ABT Sleeping Beauties, and the company has not come back since. If there is indeed a large Latin market for the classics in Miami, how about inviting Latin American companies to bring classical full-length ballet to Miami? I can understand that this might be impossible, given politics, for Ballet Nacional de Cuba. But what about lesser and less well-known national companies from Brasil, Chile, Bkuenos Aires?



Great news to hear that! Like Cristian I would like to see more story ballets by MCB, but it might be difficult for them, so if ABT could tour down this way it would be great!

#118 bart

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:55 AM

Link No. 1. An interesting article on Lopez's connection with Cuba, as of 1998. From the NY Times. I hope the LINK works for those who do not have a subscription.

http://www.nytimes.c.....lopez"&st=cse

Lourdes left Cuba at the age of 10 months and spent her life as a child, student, and performer in the U.S. In 1998, after she had retired, Lourdes was invited by Alicia Alonso to return to Cuba, where she performed Balanchine's "Pavane for a Dead Princess."

The depth of Ms. Lopez's feelings for Cuba are unusual for a woman who has lived nearly her entire life outside the island. She grew up in Miami, where she began studying ballet at 5 because she had flat feet and her doctor recommended exercise. Her problem was corrected, but Ms. Lopez, who by then was in love with ballet, kept dancing.
By the time she was 14, Ms. Lopez had moved to New York with an older sister to pursue her dancing career. Shortly after her 16th birthday, she began dancing for New York City Ballet, where she stayed until June of last year. Critics called her a dancer with flair and intensity.
For her trip to Cuba, she chose ''Pavane for a Dead Princess,'' a ballet created by George Balanchine for Patricia McBride, a former colleague who has allowed Ms. Lopez to use it. Throughout the piece, Ms. Lopez fingers a long scarf that sometimes hides her face, seemingly in tears, as she raises her hands, imploring. Free of the scarf for part of the performance, she soars, only to end as she began, her head covered, her hands concealing tears.



#119 bart

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:02 PM

Link No. 2: Here is MCB's Press Release about the appointment, from the company website.

http://miamicityball....php?NewsID=344

Please note Robert Gottlieb's prominent role in the search process and the selection.

The process of selecting her as Artistic Director has been an intense and long one (it took five months). Spearheading the search as an advisor to the selection committee was Robert Gottlieb, a noted New York dance critic and long time friend and associate of MCB, who considered thirty-five or so potential candidates, interviewing a number of them directly as well as consulting other critics, heads of other companies, the choreographic Trusts for whom we acquire our repertory, and other centrally placed figures in the national dance community. He made several recommendations to the selection committee, but indicated that he believed that Lourdes Lopez was of all of the outsiders he had considered, the one with the most outstanding qualifications for the job.


The statement's emphasis on Gottllieb, Executive Director Nicholas T. Goldsborough, and company co-founder and Board of Trustees Founder Toby Lerner Ansin may give us an insight into who is in charge during the transition.

The "choreographic trusts" referred to in the paragraph quoted above must be the Balanchine and the Robbins.

#120 carbro

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

New York City can probably fill seats on a Tuesday night.

Oh? Not to get too Clintonian on this, but what do you mean by "fill"? I frequently see many empty seats on weeknights and even weekends, especially at NYCB during those weeks when it is in direct competition with ABT across the plaza.

I congratulate Lourdes and wish her all the best. Posted Image Posted Image I am pleased that the position, if it had to go to someone, went to a person who for many years worked directly with Mr. B.


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