For the 30th anniversary opening night of the Miami City Ballet on Oct. 23, the dance company featured a repertoire representing the “past, present and future” through a series of three distinct ballets. These consisted of “Swan Lake,” “Viscera” (a contemporary piece) and “Fancy Free” (a theatrical piece).
As one of the premiere ballet companies in the nation, Miami City Ballet boasts masterpieces from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, performed and commissioned by artists at the forefront of the industry.
The celebratory night began with the timeless “Swan Lake,” choreographed by the prolific George Balanchine and performed by Simone Messmer and Rainer Krenstetter. Stripped of its conventional mime sequences, the ballet featured highly dramatic music, an animated background set and an incredibly talented corps de ballet to tell a romantic story of loss and love.
“Viscera,” the second piece performed, is a contemporary ballet choreographed by Liam Scarlett, the youngest choreographer to have been commissioned to create a new ballet. “Viscera” offered the audience a fresh and sensual take on the generally more traditional art form. Featuring high kicks, fast footwork and a challenging musical score, Viscera exuded passion and energy.
“The movements they did showed so much emotion,” said freshman Vyvyan Prado, who attended the opening night. “It’s not like they did crazy turns and leaps the whole time like typical ballet, but their acrobatic movements were just as powerful.”
The dance that finished the night had the audience laughing throughout the act. Named “Fancy Free,” the performance is often referred to as the quintessential American theatrical ballet.
“I liked it because it was a nice contemporary piece and included comedic elements,” freshman Ashley Brooks said.
Set in wartime at a bar, the ballet follows three sailors and their mischievous pursuit of women during their 24-hour leave. With a brash and lively cast and an equally vibrant music score, this jazzy ragtag piece provides the perfect mix of classical and vernacular dance.
Shows during this ballet season at the Miami City Ballet run until April 2016 and include a range of works from the last three centuries.