Miami City Ballet has announced an ambitious slate of programming for its 30th anniversary season in 2015-2016. It features four company premieres, highlighted by the most significant George Balanchine work the troupe has done in years: the choreographer’s evening-length version of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A host of major and popular dances from the company’s repertoire are also featured.
Dream, on Program Four, promises to be one of MCB’s most ambitious productions ever. Balanchine choreographed the original 1962 ballet with MCB founding artistic director Edward Villella as the fairy king Oberon, and the cast includes 24 children and six vocalists. MCB will bring in two collaborators to help re-imagine the work in a South Florida context: acclaimed Miami playwright and director Tarell Alvin McCraney, who will do the dramatic direction, with renowned Miami Beach-born visual artist Michele Oka Doner creating new costumes and sets.
“I am overjoyed to bring Mr. Balanchine’s 1962 magical masterpiece A Misummer Night’s Dream to dancers and audiences,” said MCB artistic director Lourdes Lopez. “It is perhaps the most brilliant narrative ballet of the 20th century.”
Among the other company premieres is Barber Violin Concerto, choreographed by New York City Ballet leader and ballet-master-in-chief Peter Martins and set to Samuel Barber’s romantic and popular Violin Concerto, on Program Two. This will be the first time MCB has presented a ballet by Martins, for whom Lopez danced for many years at New York City Ballet.
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Program Three includes two new dances by choreographers associated with MCB. One is New York City Ballet resident choreographer Justin Peck’s breakout ballet Year of the Rabbit, set to electronic music by Sufjan Stevens. (Peck has choreographed a major new work for MCB this season, Heatscape, which opens at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on March 27.) Also on Program Three is modern dance choreographer Paul Taylor’s Sunset, set to music by Edward Elgar, showing the experience of six soldiers and the women they leave behind. Balanchine’s Bourrée Fantasque, a joyful, elaborate dance set to music by Emmanuel Chabrier, rounds out the evening.
The troupe will also dance a number of the most popular pieces from its repertoire. On Program One, they are Balanchine’s lovely one-act version of Swan Lake; the intense, dynamic Viscera, which the young British choreographer Liam Scarlett created for MCB in early 2012; and Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein’s Fancy Free, the groundbreaking 1944 ballet showing three sailors on leave in New York City, which became the basis for the musical and film On The Town.
Joining Barber Violin Concerto on Program Two are Twyla Tharp’s powerful In the Upper Room, an audience favorite set to a pulsing score by Phillip Glass; and Balanchine’s delicate, French-styled La Source.
Miami City Ballet will perform all four programs and its production of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. Subscriptions range from $70 to $655. Call 305-929-7010 or visit www.miamicityballet.org.