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Miami City Ballet: Square Dance, Rubies, Symphony in C

- Onstage with the Dancers

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Miami City Ballet

Edward Villella, Founding Artistic Director/CEO
Pamela N. Gardner, Exec. Director
John D. Hall, Production and Lighting Director
Francisco Rennó, Music Adviser to Artistic Director
Mark Cole, General Manager
Haydée Morales, Costume Designer and Director
Joan Latham, Ballet Mistress
Roma Sosenko, Principal Ballet Mistress
Crista Villella, Ballet Mistress

At City Center
(City Center Website)

Press: Helene Davis Public Relations

Principal Dancers: Tricia Albertson, Katia Carranza,
Mary Carmen Catoya, Jeremy Cox, Jeanette Delgado, Patricia Delgado, Carlos Miguel Guerra, Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, Renato Penteado, Rolando Sarabia, Deanna Seay, Haiyan Wu

Principal Soloists: Didier Bramaz, Yang Zou

Soloists: Alexandre Dufaur, Callie Manning, Zherlin Ndudi,
Allynne Noelle, Daniel Sarabia, Marc Spielberger,
Andrea Spiridonakos, Alex Wong

And the Corps de Ballet

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 24, 2009

Miami City Ballet was founded by Edward Villella and Toby Ansin in 1985 and presented its first performance in 1986 at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. This series marks the Company’s debut at New York City Center, a longtime dream for Edward Villella, of Bayside, NY, who first performed on the stage of City Center in 1957 with New York City Ballet. Villella had begun School of American Ballet (SAB) at 10 years old and returned after a long absence, upon graduating from the New York Maritime Academy, specializing in marine transportation, baseball, and boxing. In 1955 he returned to SAB and in 1957 joined New York City Ballet, becoming a Principal in 1960. Mr. Villella became a world-renowned premier danseur, guest dancing with Royal Danish Ballet and other international companies. He performed for Presidents, produced an Emmy Award-winning television series on dance, and authored an autobiography (with Larry Kaplan), Prodigal Son: Dancing for Balanchine in a World of Pain and Magic. (Miami City Ballet Press Notes).

Square Dance (1957): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi (Concerto Grosso in B minor, Op.3, No. 10, Concerto Grosso in E major, Op. 3, No. 12, and Sarabanda, Badinerie e Giga), Costumes by Karinska, Lighting design by John Hall, Performed by Jeanette Delgado, Jeremy Cox, and the Company.

The stunning expressive personalities of this troupe are a joy. In some ways, and in this dance, they reminded me of the Paul Taylor dancers, in one of their buoyant performances, but, of course, this was Balanchine, and the ballerinas were en pointe. The ensemble, led by Jeanette Delgado and Jeremy Cox (by now, only on the second night of seeing these two, I felt like I’d known them for a season, as the dancers re-appear during the evening), was unrestrained in its energy and enthusiasm. It occurred to me that if the music were live, rather than recorded, the dancers could lead the orchestra, take some extra time now and then, but music and movement were meshed superbly. Tiny rapid kicks en air, warm smiles, grounded technique, and bounce were among my notations on the program. Ms. Delgado and Mr. Cox partnered with delight in each other’s presence, and it was wonderful to see this work newly interpreted, newly invigorated.

Rubies (1967): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Igor Stravinsky (Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra), Costumes by Karinska, Scenic design by Tony Walton, Lighting design by John Hall, Performed by Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, Renato Penteado, Andrea Spiridonakos, Kyra Homeres, Zoe Zien, Cindy Huang, Jennifer Lauren, Leigh-Ann Esty, Ashley Knox, Amanda Weingarten, Daniel Baker, Alexandre Dufaur, Stephen Satterfield, and Marc Spielberger.

Of all Balanchine’s ballets, Jewels is one of his most renowned, and Rubies, its centerpiece, is one of his most ravishing. Edward Villella, the original male lead in this 1967 work, has now taught the role to Renato Penteado, who partnered Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg with pizzazz. In fact, the entire ballet is replete with hand and leg motion that’s sassy, sexy, and striking, set to the jazzy score Stravinsky conceived. Balanchine had been inspired to create Jewels, it’s said, by a visit to Van Cleef and Arpels, and Rubies takes off with red-black, glowing fortitude. Both Mr. Penteado and Ms. Kronenberg, in theatrical gestures, drew the audience in with whip-like turns and requisite angularity. Andrea Spiridonakos was equally enticing, a mature dancer, an artist to watch. It was during this ballet that it seemed too brief a visit for Miami City Ballet, that a longer residency in New York should be next. Tony Walton’s scenic design and John Hall’s lighting were resplendent here.

Symphony in C (1948): Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Georges Bizet (Symphony No. 1 in C major), Staged by Patricia Neary, Costumes by Karinska, Lighting design by John Hall, Performed by Mary Carmen Catoya, Renato Penteado, Ashley Knox, Yang Zou, Zoe Zien, Didier Bramaz, Haiyan Wu, Carlos Miguel Guerra, Jennifer Lauren, Daniel Baker, Nicole Stalker, Daniel Sarabia, Jeanette Delgado, Alex Wong, Callie Manning, Marc Spielberger, Andrea Spiridonakos, Stephen Satterfield, Patricia Delgado, Jeremy Cox, Kyra Homeres, Michael Sean Breeden, Sara Esty, Ezra Hurwitz, and the Company.

In this ballet so familiar to New York balletomanes (in the repertoire of New York City Ballet), Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado (fresh from the previous performance!) led the entire Company through Bizet’s bustling score. Balanchine was in good hands with Edward Villella’s dancers, with both Delgado sisters featured as well. Jeanette Delgado was adroitly partnered by Alex Wong (another artist to watch), and Patricia Delgado was adeptly partnered by Jeremy Cox (a man with incomparable stamina). The Symphony is absorbing and alluring, and it builds in tempo with shifting repetitions of the theme. The dancers kept up with this mercurial music, with nimble and brisk running steps that showcase the leads in the center of the corps’ structure.

Kudos to Edward Villella, and kudos to Miami City Ballet, once again, for a memorable set of evenings in the presence of such splendid and state-of-the-art performances.

Jennifer Kronenberg & Miami City Ballet in Balanchine's “Rubies”
Courtesy of Joe Gato

Katia Carranza & Renato Penteado in Balanchine's "Symphony in C"
Courtesy of Joe Gato

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at