Miami City Ballet ended its 2018-2019 season with a unique take on George Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by placing it underwater thus giving it a purely Miami interpretation of William Shakespeare’s comedy. This subtropical reimagining premiered in 2016 under the direction of Lourdes Lopez, artistic director of the Miami City Ballet. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was the first full-length ballet Balanchine choreographed in the United States and Lopez performed in it many times during her tenure with the New York City Ballet.
All the play’s famous characters are here; Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies, the two pairs of confused lovers and poor Bottom who is transformed not into an ass but into an adorable Manatee, and Puck who presides over the confusion. Lopez turned to two international artists with ties to Miami for the reworked version, dramatic stage direction by Tarell Alvin McCraney and sets and costumes by Michele Oka Doner, whose work can be seen at the Miami International Airport. The story, which can be confusing, is very clear in Balanchine’s supreme adaptation. Even underwater the plot is easy to follow and the dancing is wonderful. The Miami City Ballet has given us a gift from the sea.
The ending of the 2018-2019 season marked the retirement of a few of the company members:
- Renato Penteado- Retiring after 19 years with the company and going to Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to teach.
- Reyneris Reyes-Retiring; becoming an instructor at Miami City Ballet School
- Didier Bramaz-leaving the company, will be a guest artist with MCB
- Jovani Furlan- Leaving to New York City Ballet
- Jennette Delgado- leaving the company
Miami City Ballet also announced ten new members to its 2019-2020, resulting in the largest roster to date with 53 dancers. The company line up for the upcoming season includes the following:
- Slaughter on Tenth Ave, (Balanchine/ Rodgers)
- Stravinsky Violin Concerto (Balanchine/ Stravinsky)
- Mercuric Tiding (Taylor/ Schubert)
Program Two: I’m Old Fashioned ( Robbins/ Gould )
- This Bitter Earth (Wheeldon/ Ricter, Otis)
- Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux ( Balanchine/ Tchaikovsky )
- Symphonic Dances ( Ratmansky/ Rachmaninoff )
Program Three: Firebird ( Balanchine, Robbins/ Stravinsky )
- Nine Sinatra Songs ( Tharp/ Sinatra )
- Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes ( Peck/ Copland )
Program Four: Don Quixote ( Petipa/ Minkus )
And George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.
A season not to be missed.