Miami City Ballet Spreading Joy of the Season

Whirlwind Tour of the Nation's Capital, Now Back Home for the Holidays

At left, Miami City Ballet's


At left, Miami City Ballet's "After the Rain," performed at Doral LIVE! At right, "Allegro" performed at Doral LIVE! (Photos: Alexander Iziliaev)

Cameron Basden

Starting with the presentation of "George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker" at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to sold out houses, the Miami City Ballet now brings the joy of the season to South Florida as the company culminates the year with presentations of "The Nutcracker" in Miami-Dade at the Arsht Center, in West Palm Beach at the Kravis Center and in Broward County at the Broward Center.  (Those performances finished Dec. 12.)

To kick-off the holiday festivities, MCB was the opening presentation of Doral Live!, an all-star series of music and dance outdoor concerts held over a three week period showcasing national touring artists and South Florida cultural organizations.

Held in twinkling Doral Park, the concert series is the centerpiece of the Downtown Doral Holiday Fest. 

Performing “Radiance” as the opening to the Festival was an exciting opportunity to see MCB in a repertory program, and also as a return to live dance. Moreover, this was a chance to see how the company has fared, i.e. survived, changed and indeed, thrived over the pandemic period. As we all know, the arts were so deeply affected by the pandemic. Lives changed, dancers retired, moved to other cities, and the challenge of staying in peak form as a dance career demands, was mentally and physically difficult and exhausting.

But there is good news. It was not only assuring to see the MCB dancers perform with exuberance, graciousness and enthusiasm as the intimacy of the outdoor Doral venue provided, it was validating to see that, yes, this company and these dancers have indeed grown, matured and, in this performance, appeared to be in top form.

The MCB "Radiance" performance opened with the joyous Balanchine piece, “Allegro Brillante,” a well loved and technically challenging work set to Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3. A work of pure dance, fast pirouettes into elongated arabesques, speedy footwork and lush partnering, "Allegro" displayed that the MCB dancers indeed could master their repertory.

Jennifer Lauren, as secure and stalwart as ever, partnered by Renan Cerdeiro, who continues to grow and mature in his artistry and breath of movement, led the capable ensemble. The backdrop of a configuration of white sails (which will remain throughout the Festival series) were an elegant outdoor enhancement that, purposely or not, gave the pale colored ballet a clean and contemporary look. "Allegro’s"  exuberance and technical feats set the stage for the evening.

At left,


At left, "La Follia" performed at Doral LIVE! (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev). At right, Miami City Ballet "Nutcracker." (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev)

Christopher Wheeldon, now best known commercially for choreographing “An American in Paris” was the choreographer for the second duet, “After the Rain” to music by Arvo Part.

Originally created for New York City Ballet in 2005, the duet here was performed by the lovely and newer company member, Hannah Fischer and the soulful and strong, Cameron Catazaro. The two dancers created an atmosphere that invited the audience to enter an intimate and gentle world. Simple costuming left nothing to hide in the seamless partnering. It was a lovely contrast to "Allegro."

The premier of “La Follia” pas de deux, choreographed by up and coming choreographer Durante Verzola, was performed by Ashley Knox and Cerdeiro. Cool, clean and elegant, the couple clad in gray tones forayed through a series of episodes at once together and then apart. Verzola’s unfussy use of classical vocabulary delivered clarity and elegance that showcased the technical prowess of the dancers. It was an apt lead in to the traditional grand pas de deux from Balanchine’s “ The Nutcracker.”

Katia Carranza as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier partner, Rainer Krenstetter took over the stage as the seasoned, mature artists and performers that they both are. Carranza was the magnanimous queen who imbued each move with grandness and graciousness. It matters when two dancers look at each other, and this couple were transfixed. There was a breathless moment going into the final pose where Krennstetter tossed Caranza into the air and she dropped almost to the floor only to be swept into his arms. It was a perfect ending to a lovely dance adventure.

The final piece of the evening was the quirky “Rubies” section from the full length Balanchine ballet, “Jewels.” The velvety Jordan-Elizabeth Long, as the statuesque solo woman, had glorious, leggy, moments that were pervasive even when some of the other moments were not as solid. Nathalia Arja made the crazy and somewhat sassy dancing look effortless. Kudos to her partner, Alexander Peters whose riveting focus and intensity in partnering rendered the couple a study in playful euphoria.

“Radiance” in Doral Park was a prelude to the company’s return to the big stage in Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.”

Last year, at this same time and in the same Doral Park, in a huge endeavor to keep a holiday presence, to keep the dancers employed and to continue performances, MCB performed “The Nutcracker” in a carefully executed rendition that included both virtual and live elements. The performances were a thank you to the first responders and essential workers of the pandemic and a treat for audiences who had been missing live dance performances.


"George Balanchine's The Nutcracker" performed by the Miami City Ballet. (Photo: Alexander Iziliaev)

This season, MCB is be performing “The Nutcracker” live in three counties. The newer production is a tribute to South Florida and remains true to the original Balanchine choreography.

Designed by Cuban-American artist Ruben Toledo with costumes by the late Isabel Toledo and magical stage effects by Wendall K. Harrington, this visually stunning production includes over 100 dancers and children performing to the iconic Tchaikovsky music played by live orchestra.

Adhering to the traditional story, our heroine, Marie, is transformed by a magical spell and enters a dream world of toy soldiers and a Mouse King. She is led by the dashing Nutcracker Prince into an enchanted land of snow and on to a bountiful land of sweets. The extensive production has flying angels, dripping walls, a huge Christmas tree that grows and grows before your very eyes and each performance is completed with the dazzling dancers of MCB.

At right,


At right, "Nutcracker" pas de deux. At right, MCB's "Rubies" at Doral LIVE! (Photos: Alexander Iziliaev)

With new dance artists in the company, promotions from within and a stellar holiday production, this is a unique opportunity to experience the dynamic company and to celebrate the magic that is MCB!

Adrienne Arsht Center Ziff Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

  • 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 16, Friday, Dec. 17, Saturday, Dec. 18, Tuesday, Dec. 21, Wednesday, Dec. 22, Thursday, Dec. 23; 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 18, Wednesday, Dec. 22, Thursday, Dec. 23. 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, noon, Friday, Dec. 24.

Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

  • 2 and 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 29 and Thursday, Dec. 30.

For tickets:

Contact  (305) 929-7010 Call or Text
(877) 929-7010

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