But at each major step in her life, Lopez has taken chances. Moving from Miami at 14 to live in New York with her sister and study ballet. Leaving her job as a principal dancer at New York City Ballet, despite being a single mother and not knowing her next move. Becoming a TV reporter, and then executive director of the George Balanchine Foundation, a major nonprofit, both without experience. Launching a contemporary ballet troupe with famed choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. And now, succeeding Edward Villella, a legendary figure in the dance world, as artistic director of Miami City Ballet, the troupe he has shaped and led to national and international acclaim. Lopez will take over in May 2013, after Villella has led the troupe through its 27th season.