The Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony join artistic forces in a performance for all of Miami.
Miami City Ballet dancer Renan Cerdeiro in Apollo
What do you get when you mix one of music’s truly epochal innovators and the father of American ballet? Masterpieces that went on to change the arts world and a newfound appreciation for collaboration.
To honor Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine, Michael Tilson Thomas, the artistic director of the New World Symphony, and Lourdes Lopez, the fearless leader of the Miami City Ballet, joined efforts to collaborate on a performance (made possible by the Knight Foundation) that will be projected live on the 7,000-square-foot facade of the New World Center in Miami Beach. On said screen people will see a program featuring a performance of Apollon musagète, the neoclassical ballet choreographed by Balanchine when he was 24 with music by Stravinsky; a performance of the Stravinsky Violin Concerto featuring violinist James Ehnes; and Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant, a ballet with music by Stravinsky originally choreographed by Balanchine for 50 circus elephants and 50 ballerinas on commission from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1940s—for this 2020 performance, the orchestral version will be accompanied by immersive visuals by video artist Emily Eckstein.
George Balanchine with a young Lourdes Lopez, current artistic director of the Miami City Ballet, backstage on a 1981 tour with the New York City Ballet
One could say this was a collaboration years in the making. Tilson Thomas and Lopez worked with Stravinsky and Balanchine as young artists, respectively, and gained unmeasurable insights into their crafts. “Throughout their decades of collaboration, Stravinsky and Balanchine revolutionized how we see, hear and interpret dance,” says Lopez, who joined the New York City Ballet at age 16 at the invitation of Balanchine. “I am thrilled that together with the New World Symphony we will bring to life this very sentiment.”
For his part, Tilson Thomas had the privilege to know and work with Stravinsky in the composer’s later years and was also influenced by the musical genius through recording sessions and mentorship. “I’m so pleased that the insights I gained from Stravinsky will now intertwine with those that Lopez will share with us,” says Tilson Thomas. “I think it will be a truly memorable experience.” Feb. 1, 7:30PM, SoundScape Park, 400 17th St., Miami Beach, nws.edu
Photography by: Apollo photo courtesy of Miami City Ballet | Balanchine and Lopez photo by Steven Caras/courtesy of Miami City Ballet