Starting next Monday, July 14, individual and season tickets will be available for purchase for Miami City Ballet’s 2014-2015 season. Four distinct programs are slated at the Kravis Center, Broward Center and Arsht Center from October through April, and it looks to be another stellar year for the United States’ eighth-largest dance company.
Artistic director Lourdes Lopez, who can currently be read in a whopping 16-page interview in the summer issue of Ballet Review, continues to push her dancers in new directions in her second season of original programming. Whether you’re looking to buy season tickets or pick one program that’s best for you, here’s a look at all of your options.
Program I: Romeo and Juliet
When: Oct. 17-Nov. 23
Best for: Theatergoers who always wanted a few more plies and jetes with their Shakespeare
About: When it comes to “Romeo and Juliet,” you know the story, and spoiler alerts need not apply: Both lovers get it in the end. The joy in experiencing and re-experiencing this passionate tale of star-crossed lovers year after year, and medium after medium, is in the individuality its creators bring to the ageless text. In the world of classical ballet, such knighted choreographers as Sir Frederick Ashton and Sir Frederick MacMillan have created full-length dances based on the story, but Miami City Ballet is re-mounting what most consider the best “Romeo and Juliet” ballet of all: the 1962 version by South Africa’s John Cranko, a choreographer who sought to create dance that was “a representation of life itself.” Known for his clear-eyed storytelling mastery and his thrilling pas de deux, Cranko’s take will be presented with romantic costumes and lavish sets.
Program II: Hear the Music
When: Jan. 9-Feb. 8, 2015
Best for: First-time audiences who want to see a little bit of everything
About: There may be no better introduction to Miami City Ballet - and its rich history of producing works by the greatest choreographers in the world - than its second program this season. It includes works by Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp and George Balanchine, as formidable a choreographic trio as imaginable over a single evening. The program’s title refers to the special connection these dances have to organized sound: Taylor’s “Mercuric Tidings” blends animalistic movement with an attention to musicality that the Times described, in its 1982 premiere, as “a dance work that bursts seemingly into song.” Tharp’s contribution, “Nine Sinatra Songs,” also from ’82, wears its concept in its title: Nine standards from Ol’ Blue Eyes propel the action, which traces the swirling arc of romantic relationships across seven couples. Finally, the dancers will capture a jazz flavor in Balanchine’s “Symphony in Three Movements,” developed from three Igor Stravinsky compositions.
Program III: Passion and Grace
When: Feb. 13-March 22, 2015
Best for: Anyone who believes dance can be transcendent
About: The second half of the season is almost entirely composed of company premieres, which are both exciting and risky. If performed correctly, the ballets in Program III will be so emotionally stirring that they’ll take audiences into deeper, more passionate, and even more metaphysical spaces. Tharp’s 1996 masterpiece “Sweet Fields” is an alternately joyous and solemn exploration of the passage between life and death, with a soundtrack unlike any other: American Shaker hymns, sung a cappella. No less transformative is “Carmen,” choreographer Richard Alston’s critically acclaimed 2009 adaptation of the tragic Bizet opera, which brings gypsies, matadors, cigar factories and bullfights to vivid life. The program also includes another example of MCB’s Balanchine bread-and-butter, “Allegro Brillante,” which the choreographer called “everything I know about classical ballet in 13 minutes.”
Program IV: Points of Departure
When: March 27-April 19, 2015
Best for: Audiences who want to see something that’s never been danced before
About: Program IV might be the most challenging program in this season’s lineup, which may be why it’s being saved for the end. There’s a thrilling element of unpredictability in this production, as it will include an as-yet-untitled work by Justin Peck, who at 26 is one of the hottest new choreographers in the country. The ballet will feature a large cast and run 35 minutes; as an added treat, the renowned street artist Shepard Fairey will create original art for the show. Also, MCB will premiere “The Concert (or, the Perils of Everybody),” considered the funniest work in Jerome Robbins’ oeuvre. With its postmodern aim to capture the inner thoughts of classical music concertgoers, this delightful flight of fancy must have felt well ahead of its time in 1956. Balanchine’s “Raymonda Variations,” recognized for its bravura display of solos, rounds out the program.
Tickets for individual programs start at $20. For information and, beginning Monday, to purchase tickets, call 305/929-7010 or visit miamicityballet.org.