Jordan Levin

Miami City Ballet to debut at New York’s Lincoln Center

Miami City Ballet dancers performing "Heatscape," one of the works the company will perform at their Lincoln Center debut in April 2016
Miami City Ballet dancers performing "Heatscape," one of the works the company will perform at their Lincoln Center debut in April 2016 courtesy of Miami City Ballet

Miami City Ballet will make its debut at New York’s Lincoln Center next April, capping off its 30th anniversary season by performing in one of the most storied and important theaters in the world.

The shows were announced Tuesday by the Joyce Theater Foundation, which will present MCB at the David H. Koch Theater, home to the New York City Ballet.

“It’s a landmark season, and to go to New York and celebrate this great company with New York audiences is a confluence of events one could only dream about,” MCB executive director Michael Scolamiero said Tuesday.

The troupe will perform April 13-17 in two programs that will include the three major original ballets that MCB has commissioned since 2012: Justin Peck’s Heatscape, Alexei Ratmansky’s Symphonic Dances and Liam Scarlett’s Viscera.

The full Miami company has not performed in New York since their Manhattan debut at New York’s City Center in 2009. (MCB dancers have performed several times, most recently last month, at City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival.)

Linda Shelton, the Joyce’s executive director, said she proposed the Lincoln Center season to MCB artistic director Lourdes Lopez, who danced with New York City Ballet for more than two decades, approximately two years ago.

“We said, ‘You let us know when you’re ready,’ ” Shelton said Tuesday. Positive reviews of MCB by New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay have helped stoke New Yorkers’ interest in the troupe, Shelton said, as have the new dances by some of the most acclaimed artists in ballet. Peck is resident choreographer at NYCB, while Ratmansky and Scarlett are artists in residence at American Ballet Theater and England’s Royal Ballet, respectively.

“They have a [repertory] that hasn’t been seen here, new works commissioned by the company,” Shelton says. “The company looks really great right now; all of the dancers stand out to me. Justin Peck has done work here, but the work he’s done in Miami is quite good.”

Scolamiero says MCB’s leaders finally felt the time was right. “We wanted to put our best foot forward,” he says. “[Lopez] wanted to do it at the right time in the way that would best showcase the company.”

That MCB will perform in the home theater of NYCB, whose seminal choreographer, George Balanchine, was mentor to MCB founding artistic director Edward Villella and whose ballets have shaped the troupe’s identity, makes the Lincoln Center shows doubly significant, Scolamiero says. MCB will dance Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements and Bourree Fantasque, as well as his Serenade, for a fundraising gala.

“We’re dancing in the house that Balanchine built,” Scolamiero says. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase the uniqueness of the company with these original works and the very strong Balanchine backbone for which the company is known.”

The company will not perform its original production of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which premieres in Miami in March, because New York City Ballet will present the original version of the ballet soon afterwards.

Unlike at City Center in 2009, when MCB paid to produce its own shows, the Joyce will pay the troupe a fee and cover production, marketing, travel and hotel costs, which have become so high they discourage companies from performing in New York. The Miami troupe will perform at a gala benefiting the Joyce Theater Foundation, the fundraising arm of the small downtown theater that has become one of New York’s leading dance presenters. The Joyce’s other Lincoln Center productions have included the Royal Ballet last summer and the 50th Anniversary Tour of Twyla Tharp, the celebrated modern dance artist, this month.

If you go

Tickets for Miami City Ballet at Lincoln Center are available at davidhkochtheater.com or 212-496-0600.

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