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2006-2007 season

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The summer rain has finally hit south Florida -- though no sign of a hurricane. Yet. Time to think about the coming Miami City Ballet season. Here's a list of the ballets included in MCB's 4 main programs, plus Nutcracker, all of which are performed at Miami (the new Performing Arts Center), Fort Lauderdale (Broward Center) and West Palm Beach (Kravis Center). This list does not include information about the performances at the Naples Philharmonic Center in Naples.)

I have added to the material available on the Company's web site.


Program I

Don Quixote (Minkus: after Gorsky/Petipa) *Company premiere

Miami Performing Arts Center

Friday, October 13 at 8p.m.

Saturday, October 14 at 8p.m.

Sunday, October 15 at 2p.m.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, October 20 at 8p.m.

Saturday, October 21 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, October 22 at 2p.m.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, November 17 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Saturday, November 18 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, November 19 at 1p.m.


Program II

Agon (Stravinsky: Balanchine)

Afternoon of a Faun (Debussy: Robbins) Last performed 2005.

Liturgy (Part: Wheeldon) *Company premiere (NYCB premiere in 2003)

In the Upper Room (Glass: Tharp) *Company premiere. (Tharp Company premiere, ,1986).

Miami Performing Arts Center

Friday, January 12 at 8p.m.

Saturday, January 13 at 8p.m.

Sunday, January 14 at 2p.m.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, January 19 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Saturday, January 20 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, January 21 at 1p.m.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, January 26 at 8p.m.

Saturday, January 27 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, January 28 at 2p.m.


Program III

Raymonda Variations (Balanchine)

Lilac Garden* (Chausson: Tudor) *Company premiere

Symphony In Three Movements (Stravinsky: Balanchine) Last performed in 2003. I suspect that this is a replacement for the previously announced Baiser de la Fee, which would have been another Company premiere.)

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, February 9 at 8p.m.

Saturday, February 10 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, February 11 at 2p.m.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, February 16 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Saturday, February 17 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, February 18 at 1p.m.

Miami Performing Arts Center

Friday, March 2 at 8p.m.

Saturday, March 3 at 8p.m.

Sunday, March 4 at 2p.m.


Program IV

Giselle (Adam:Corelli/Perrot) Last performed 2004.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, March 9 at 8p.m.

Saturday, March 10 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, March 11 at 2p.m.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, March 16 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Saturday, March 17 at 2p.m. and 8p.m.

Sunday, March 18 at 1p.m.

Miami Performing Arts Center

Friday, March 30 at 8p.m.

Saturday, March 31 at 8p.m.

Sunday, April 1 at 2p.m.


George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker TM

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, December 1 at 7:30p.m.

Saturday, December 2 at 2p.m. and 7:30p.m.

Sunday, December 3 at 2p.m.

Miami Performing Arts Center

Friday, December 15 at 7:30p.m.

Saturday, December 16 at 2p.m. and 7:30p.m.

Sunday, December 17 at 2p.m. and 7:30p.m.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts

Thursday, December 21 at 7:30p.m.

Friday, December 22 at 7:30p.m.

Saturday, December 23 at 2p.m. and 7:30p.m.

Sunday, December 24 at 1p.m.

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Evidently the company is in a rehearsal period and we are being kept up to date on who's rehearsing what:

August 2006

Guest Teachers Arrive to Rehearse Miami City Ballet Dancers

in New Works for the 2006-2007 Season

Miami City Ballet’s 52 dancers return to work on July 31 to begin a rehearsal period before the Company’s season opens in October. New ballets premiering include the 19th Century Spanish-style classical ballet Don Quixote, Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room, Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy and for Miami City Ballet’s Contemporary Series, Twyla Tharp’s “The Golden Section” from the ballet The Catherine Wheel.

When a ballet company acquires a license for a new work a representative called a repetiteur (one who teaches choreography) is sent by the licensing agent to cast the ballet and teach the steps to the dancers. Arriving soon are Elaine Kudo to set In The Upper Room; Donald Mahler for Lilac Garden, and Shelley Washington to finish staging “The Golden Section” from the ballet. Washington had begun work with the dancers last season. Christopher Wheeldon, Resident Choreographer for New York City Ballet and the creator of Liturgy will come to South Florida to cast the ballet and will then send a yet-to-be-determined representative to teach the ballet at a later date. The dancers already began rehearsing Don Quixote last season and will continue rehearsing the ballet under the direction of Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet and Geta Constantinescu, a former classical dancer and teacher at Miami City Ballet School. Frank Regan, ballroom and folkloric dance expert, worked with Villella and Constantinescu on the Spanish dance sections of the ballet.

Following is the repetituer schedule and bios on the artists:

Elaine Kudo stages Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room July 31-August 25, 2006

Elaine Kudo was born in Koizumi, and began her ballet training at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School. She then studied for six years at the School of American Ballet. She also studied, on scholarship, at the American Ballet Theatre School. Prior to joining American Ballet Theatre in 1975, she danced with Dennis Wayne’s Dancers. Kudo was appointed a Soloist in December 1981.

Her repertory with American Ballet Theatre included the Aya in La Bayadere, the Sweetheart in Billy The Kid, A Masked Lady in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s production of the full-length Cinderella, the Bride in Les Noces, leading roles in Airs, Duets, Fancy Free, Great Galloping Gottschalk, Push Comes To Shove, Sinatra Suite, and Voluntaries, and featured roles in Estuary, Interludes, N.Y. Export: Op, Jazz, and The Little Ballet.

In the summer of 1982, Kudo, along with other members of ABT, appeared in An Evening of Jerome Robbins’ Ballets in Spoleto, dancing in Fancy Free and N.Y. Export: Op. Jazz. During her tenure with American Ballet Theatre (1975-1989), Kudo worked extensively with all the major choreographers of the period. She also appeared with Tharp Dance Co. and Baryshnikov & Co., and was Baryshnikov’s partner in Sinatra Suite and Push Comes to Shove in the PBS Great Performances special Baryshnikov by Tharp.

Since 1989, Kudo has worked as Ballet Mistress for American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp, The Jersey Ballet Company and The American Repertory Ballet Co. (from 1997- April 2003). She has regularly staged Tharp works throughout the United States and Europe since retiring from the stage. Kudo began staging her own choreography in 1997 and has been an annual contributor to The American Repertory Ballet’s Dancing Through the Ceiling program designed to showcase the works of female choreographers. She has taught class for the dancers of the International Ballet Competition, open classes at American Ballet Theatre and has been on the faculty of the ABT Summer Intensive Program from 1998-2003.

As a teacher and co-director of Theatre Arts Dance America located in Verona, New Jersey, she teaches intermediate and advanced level classes and works with students of all levels on school and company (Theatre Dance America) productions. She has choreographed numerous pieces for her students at T.A.D.A. and ABT Summer Intensive. Kudo is continually adding to her choreographic repertory and has had her work performed by three different ballet companies.

Donald Mahler stages Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden August 15-September 6, 2006

Donald Mahler was trained at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School by Margaret Craske and Antony Tudor. He joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1956. He danced principal roles in ballets of Antony Tudor, Walter Gore, and Andree Howard. He joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in 1961 and during the Directorship of Dame Alicia Markova was made soloist. In 1975 he was engaged as Ballet Master for the Zurich Opera House in Switzerland. In 1979 he returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Ballet Master and in 1982 was appointed Director of the Ballet. At the Met he began his career as choreographer, creating ballets not only for the operas, but for the Met Ballet’s touring company as well. He has also choreographed works for other companies in the United States such as Joffrey II Dancers, Ballet West, Ballet Mississippi, the New York Theatre Ballet as well as for several companies in Japan.

In recent years he has specialized in staging a number of Antony Tudor’s works, Lilac Garden, Dark Elegies, Echoing of Trumpets, Offenbach in the Underworld for companies in the United States, France, Canada, and Japan. Mahler has taught widely for companies and schools in the United States and Europe. He has also been working extensively in Japan as teacher and choreographer. In 1992 he was awarded a two year Choreographer’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Shelley Washington finishes staging Twyla Tharp’s “The Golden Section” September 5-10, 2006

Shelley Washington studied with Twyla Tharp at Wolftrap Academy, American University, prior to being invited to join Twyla Tharp Dance Company in 1975. She had previously danced as a member of the Maratha Graham Dance Company. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, Washington furthered her training at the Juilliard School. In 1977 she performed in the film Hair and in 1985 in Singin’ In The Rain on Broadway and served as Dance Captain for that production. In 1987 she was honored with a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance.

From 1988 to 1992 Washington joined the American Ballet Theatre in association with Twyla Tharp as a Soloist and Rehearsal Director. In 1993 she was the Rehearsal Director for Twyla Tharp’s Cutting Up tour starring Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Twyla Tharp and Dancers City Center season in New York and Tharp Dances’ International Tour. Washington continued to work with Tharp as a Rehearsal Director setting, staging and directing ballets for various companies including Boston Ballet Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Martha Graham Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, The Birmingham Royal Ballet, Ballet Rambert, The Royal Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, The Zurich Ballet, The Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, and The Royal Danish Ballet.

In addition, Washington spent the summer of 1999 working with Trevor Nunn’s company, The Royal National Theatre as a Movement Director and Choreographer for the play A Darker Face of the Earth which opened August 5th at The Cottlesloe Theater in London, England.

Christopher Wheeldon casts his ballet Liturgy September 9-10, 2006

Christopher Wheeldon, Resident Choreographer at New York City Ballet, is considered one of the top ballet choreographers in the world today. In addition to the many works he has created for NYCB, he has choreographed ballets for such companies as The Royal Ballet in London, San Francisco Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Boston Ballet. He has received the Mae L. Wien Award for choreography from the School of American Ballet, the Martin E. Segal Award from Lincoln Center, the London Critics’ Circle Award, the American Choreography Award, and the Oliver Award.

Wheeldon was born in Yeovil, Somerset, England, and began his ballet training when he was eight years old. From ages 11 to 18, he trained at The Royal Ballet and also won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne competition. In 1993, Wheeldon was invited to become a member of New York City Ballet, where he was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1998. He began choreographing for NYCB with Slavonic Dances for the 1997 Diamond Project, and in 1999, Wheeldon choreographed Scйnes de Ballet for the School of American Ballet’s Workshop Performances and for NYCB’s 50th anniversary season. After creating Mercurial Manoeuvers for the spring 2000 Diamond Project, he retired from dancing to concentrate on his choreographic work.

During NYCB’s 2000-2001 season, Wheeldon served as the Company’s first-ever artist in residence, creating two ballets: Polyphonia, set to piano music by Gyцrgi Ligeti, and Variations Sйrieuses, set to music by Felix Mendelssohn.

In July 2001 Mr. Wheeldon was named NYCB’s first Resident Choreographer. Since that time, Wheeldon has choreographed several ballets for the Company: Morphoses (June 2002, as part of the tenth Diamond Project festival), Carousel (A Dance) (November 2002), Carnival of the Animals and Liturgy (May 2003), Shambards (May 2004), and After the Rain (January 2005).

Among his notable works for other ballet companies are Continuum for San Francisco Ballet and Tryst for The Royal Ballet in 2002, a full-length Swan Lake for Pennsylvania Ballet for 2004. Wheeldon choreographed ballet sequences for the 2000 feature film Center Stage, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and he and Mr. Hytner also collaborated on a stage version of Sweet Smell of Success, which opened on Broadway in 2002.

Don Quixote rehearsals are ongoing during the month of September

Artistic Team – Edward Villella, Geta Constantinescu, Frank Regan, Roma Sosenko, Principal Ballet Mistress and Joan Latham, Ballet Mistress

Edward Villella -- certainly America's most celebrated male dancer -- did much to popularize the role of the male in dance through the supreme artistry and virility he exhibited during his performance career. Offstage he has been as influential, accepting the role of Founding Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet in 1985 and achieving worldwide acclaim for the Company in a mere decade. In recognition of his achievements, President Clinton presented Villella the 1997 National Medal of Arts. Also in 1997, Villella was named a Kennedy Center Honoree, and was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Dancers’ Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga in 2004.

Villella was born in Bayside, New York in 1936. He entered the School of American Ballet at age ten but interrupted his dance training to complete academic studies. A graduate of the New York Maritime Academy, he obtained a B.S. in marine transportation, lettered in baseball, and was a championship boxer.

He returned to SAB following graduation in 1955, and in 1957 was invited to join the New York City Ballet, where he was quickly promoted to Soloist (1958), and then to Principal Dancer (1960). Villella originated many roles in the New York City Ballet repertoire, among them Tarantella, the "Rubies" section of Jewels, and the role of Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Perhaps his most famous role was in the 1960 revival of Balanchine's 1929 masterpiece, Prodigal Son.

Villella was the first American male dancer to perform with the Royal Danish Ballet, and the only American ever to be asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. He danced for President Kennedy's inauguration and for Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. He was producer/director for the PBS series "Dance in America" for one and a-half years, and in 1975 won an Emmy Award for his CBS television production of "Harlequinade".

The University of Pittsburgh Press reissued Edward Villella's 1992 autobiography, Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic, written with Larry Kaplan, in March 1998.

Geta Constantinescu - was born in Romania. She performed numerous principal and soloist roles at The Company of State Opera and Ballet. In 1970, while touring in Italy, she defected to the West and guest appeared all over Europe and America. She was Ballet Mistress with the Arizona Ballet and Manhattan Ballet of New York, the Universal Ballet in Seoul, Korea, and the Hong Kong Ballet. She moved back to the United States in January 2002. Constantinescu is also a master teacher in the GYROTONICS® Technique by Julio Horvath.

Frank Regan is an internationally acclaimed Ballroom Choreographer with an eclectic artistic background, having studied many forms of dance and performing arts. The main thrust of his career, however, has been in the field of ballroom dance. He is a director, choreographer, writer, coach, and consultant. Mr. Regan also is the writer of the book Championship Ballroom Dancing and an annual publication on dance called The Year In Review. He serves as a columnist for Dance Beat magazine and is the editor of the International Dance Directory.

His ballroom credits include: US Latin Champion, US Ten-Dance Champion; Canadian Champion Standard and Latin; North American Ten-Dance Champion; British R.S. Finalist; World Championship Adjudicator Bremen, Germany- Royal Albert Hall, London; Imperial Honors Graduate, London; Fellow & Examiner USISTD, Theatre Arts Branch; Director of Theatre Arts Branch USISTD; Member of the Arthur Murray International Dance Board; and Consultant, Department of Dance Research & Development. He is also the director of American Dance Montage

Regan emigrated from Scotland in the mid 1950s and currently resides in Washington, D.C. He holds a fellowship degree with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in the following subjects: Ballroom, Latin and American Dance and Theater Arts.

He served as consultant to Edward Villella, artistic director of the Miami City Ballet on “The Waltz” one of four pieces of a work-in-progress called The Neighborhood Ballroom and also on Villella’s Gismonti Brasil.

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And there's news about MCB's contemporary programs:

Miami City Ballet's Contemporary Dance Series New Works

Include Twyla Tharp's "Golden Section" and Yemaya

Special Dance Talk to be Given by Edward Villella During Program 1

Miami City Ballet announces the dates and line-up for its Contemporary Dance Series which highlights the works of choreographer Twyla Tharp. The series, which had its debut last season, is an opportunity for audiences can see some of the finest cutting-edge choreography. The series is under the direction of Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director and run by Program Directors David Palmer and Yanis Pikieris.

Program 1 is scheduled for Friday, September 8 at 8p.m. and Saturday, September 9 at 2p.m and 8p.m. Shows are at the Lynn and Louis Wolfson, II Theatre, Ophelia and Juan Js. Roca Center; Miami City Ballet Studios (2200 Liberty Avenue, Miami Beach). Program 2 will take place Friday, February 23 at 8p.m. and Saturday, February 24 at 2p.m. and 8p.m. Shows are at the Colony Theatre (1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach). Tickets are $79 for a two-program package or $45 for a single ticket. Please call Miami City Ballet Box Office toll-free at (877) 929-7010 or go to www.miamicityballet.org.

Program 1 will feature the Company Premiere of Twyla Tharp’s “The Golden Section” from her full work The Catherine Wheel choreographed in 1983. Thriteen dancers sail, soar, and tear through the air on a stage of glowing light. The culminating segment of this action-packed dance is set to music by David Byrne. The program will also feature a Dance Talk by Edward Villella about one of the pivotal ballets of the neo-classical style, Agon. Choreographer George Balanchine changed the world of ballet forever when he created Agon in 1957 and the works became an inspiration to many contemporary choreographers. Dancers will perform excerpts from the ballet. Other works on the program include a sneak peek at sections of Tharp's In The Upper Room, which will premiere during Program II of Miami City Ballet's repertory season.

Program 2 will show the Company Premeire of Twyla Tharp’s Yemaya, set to music by the famous Grammy-award-winning Buena Vista Social Club and featuring nine dancers. The title of the work referrs to the Afro-Cuban goddess from the religion known as Santeria. Yemaya was choreographed in 1998 and is the first work that Tharp has set to Cuban music. Also on the program is Edward Villella’s Gismonti Brasil, choreographed in 2003 and danced to the music of Brazilian avant-garde jazz composer Egberto Gismonti. The ballet features 14 dancers and is a refection of Gismonti’s music with no specific narrative. The work, however, makes reference to Brazilian dance elements such as Samba, bossa nova, and the martial arts-dance form capoeira. The Company will also perform Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet Liturgy, a pas de deux (dance for two) set to music by Arvo Pдrt and another work choreographed by Miami City Ballet dancer Daniel Baker.

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