Villella’s Miami City Ballet ouster dominated dance news

The controversial leadership changes that rocked Miami City Ballet sent a chill through the dance community in South Florida and beyond in 2012. But young choreographers continued to rise from a growing local modern dance scene, with notable premieres and new venues in which to develop experimental talent. Here are the year’s highlights:

• The ouster of storied Miami City Ballet artistic director Edward Villella, founder of South Florida’s most important dance institution, was the end of an era for the troupe Villella had built into one of the nation’s best. The controversy also marked the ascendance of powerful donors who pressured him to leave — a lesson, perhaps, for other cultural organizations. MCB’s future is now in the hands of his promising but still unproven successor, Lourdes Lopez.

• Miami City Ballet’s world premiere in January of Viscera by choreographic wunderkind Liam Scarlett of the Royal Ballet, one of ballet’s most buzzed-about talents, showcased the company’s vitality and fierce style of classicism at a new level.

• MCB’s other major commission, by vaunted Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, was another mark of rising status. And the March premiere of his bold, dramatic Symphonic Dances, accompanied by the Cleveland Orchestra, was grandly riveting.

• The premiere of Miami choreographer Heather Maloney’s mysterious, emotion-laden in this place in February marked her as a serious and original talent and her Wynwood studio and performance space, Inkub8, as an important place for nurturing, presenting and elevating dance.

• The South Florida premiere in March of dance theater artist Rosie Herrera’s Dining Alone displayed her trademark stunning imagery and dark irony along with a new thoughtfulness and emotional vulnerability. New York performances in the new year will give the talented Herrera a well-deserved national showcase.

• A sharp, playful intellectual spirit merged with pristine imagery and theatricality in a January collaboration by visiting choreographer Jonah Bokaer and visual artist Daniel Arsham. Look for more Miami shows from this pair, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

• The 10th anniversary show in October of Diana Lozano’s edgy burlesque-cabaret troupe CircX was a deliciously outrageous and inventive celebration that highlighted how many of Miami’s biggest dance talents — including Herrera, Ana Mendez and Natasha Tsakos — have drawn inspiration and energy from CircX.

• Miami’s hip-hop dance scene boomed, with local casting and/or production of major movies, music videos, pop tours and commercials. With the 6th Street Dance Studio earning a major Knight Foundation grant to develop its children’s hip-hop program, look for continued growth.

• From television shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Bunheads to films like First Position and Pina, dance enjoyed its hottest pop-cultural moment since the 1970s.

• The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s farewell performances, on the cusp of the new year in New York, were a brilliant, heartbreaking end, not only to the troupe that made manifest the genius of the late Cunningham, but also to the devotion to process that he embodied.

Read more Performing Arts stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category