There will be some new faces at Miami City Ballet this coming season, while several familiar ones are getting new positions.
Simone Messmer, who trained at Boca Raton’s Harid Conservatory before going on to American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet, joins MCB as a principal dancer. Joining the corps de ballet are two young women who trained at Miami City Ballet’s school. The first, Mayumi Enokibara, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, swells the company’s cadre of talented Brazilian dancers. Enokibara, who received the Toby Lerner Ansin Scholarship Award in 2015, danced as an apprentice in several ballets last season. Also joining the corps is Ella Titus of Clearwater, who also danced as an apprentice last season.
Soloist Jennifer Lauren, who was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2014 and has danced leads in Don Quixote and Raymonda Variations, has been promoted to principal soloist. Rising from the corps to soloist positions are Emily Bromberg, who played the title role in Romeo and Juliet last season, and Jovani Furlan, who danced opposite Bromberg in Romeo and Juliet and whose many notable performances have included a rarely done solo in the company premiere of Episodes.
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Dancer and choreographer Christopher Rudd, a 1998 high school graduate of New World School of the Arts, has received the first Inspiration Grant from the school’s Alumni Foundation. Rudd, who has his own dance company RuddduR Dance, will use the $1,000 award to help him create Witness, a contemporary ballet inspired by the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, and the protests that have followed.
“Witness is an original composition that explores and portrays a people’s exasperation,” says Rudd, 35, who lives in New York City. “The objective is to leave the audience wondering, ‘What can I do to effect change?’”
Rudd, who grew up in Perrine, started dancing via a scholarship program at the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. That led to his performing the lead child role of the Nutcracker Prince in Miami City Ballet’s Nutcracker in 1991, and to training at the Dance Theater of Harlem. He went on to dance with the Carolina Ballet, Cirque du Soleil and the Metropolitan Opera.
“There were numerous applications from alumni spanning many years,” says Elizabeth Gainer, who chaired the Inspiration Grant selection committee. “This was not an easy decision. ... The committee members agreed that this is a very special project.”