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Miami City Ballet School


Allegrodancer

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Couldn't help but notice in your talking about MCB apprentices and such, there wasn't much mention of any guys? What is MCB like from that perspective?

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Peter Doll and Amir Yogev are also listed as student apprentices on the MCB webpage. Prior to his becoming a student apprentice in 2007 I believe Mr. Dull was a ballet student at MCBS for several years. I believe Mr. Dull was highlighted in the school's 2006 and 2007 end of the year peformances. Mr. Yogev attended SAB prior to becoming a student apprentice with MCB in 2006. This is his second year as an apprentice.

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TechniqueFreak

Can someone please clarify whether levels 8 and advanced of MCBS are considered student apprentices, or if student apprentices are another level above those two levels of the school?

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carpoolleader

Moderators: If this post does not belong here please feel free to move but I would really like feedback from those who go to MCB school or are somehow affiliated with the school or company.

 

I am hoping someone familiar with the MCB year round program and company can answer this question for me. The school director of DD's ballet school today discouraged DD from attending MCB summer intensive this year for which DD was accepted a couple of weeks ago (no scholarship). We told her that DD, who is 14, has had her eye on MCB because she likes the repetoire and thinks that this is a company she could see herself dancing for someday. She was thrilled to be accepted into the summer program. The director then told me that DD does not have the right "style" for MCB and when pressed for what this meant she said that all their dancers have hyper-extended knees, banana feet and are tall. While DD is not short (she is 5' 6 1/2") I will admit she is not hyperextended nor does she have banana feet, though her feet are quite adequate for her age. So my question, do all the dancers that eventually get accepted to the year round school - particularly the advanced program have this type of body? Do all the company dancers have hyperextension and banana feet? Does lack of these features mean DD has NO chance of ever getting into the advanced program or into the year round program at all?

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I used to go to MCB in the advanced division and everyone certainly did not have banana feet and hyperextension. In terms of height, there is a large range. The female company members range in height from probably around 5'1 to around 5'9. Thinking about it, I think that the minority of people in MCB have banana feet and hyperextended knees. If you look around their website, you can see how much body types vary. If you PM me when you can, I can give you more information which I would rather not publicly post.

Also, since you are just looking at the summer program for a 14 year old, it can't really hurt to go. Either you daughter will see that the company and school are not right for her, or she might see a future there.

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Miami City Ballet student apprentices are chosen from Miami City Ballet School's advanced division. Level 8 is one level below the advanced level. Student apprentices are either chosen at mid year and/or at the close of the school year. After performing as a student apprentice for one year those who are eligible then move up to company apprentice the following year. The first year company apprentices are usually chosen from other places such as School of American Ballet. At the close of the school year the upper level students perform in the Student Showcase. Other performance opportunities include an outreach program performance usually scheduled at mid year. During the Student Showcase the advanced students usually perform a Balanchine piece and/or a classical piece. Last year the advanced students performed George Balanchine's Divertimento 15 and Le Cosaire. Some students are also asked to perform with the company for example during The Nutcracker.

 

According to the company's web site "Body types are slender but there are no height requirements. Artistic Director Edward Villella looks for dancers with the ability to move with quickness in a neo-classic manner. Regarding the school "Founded in January 1993, the Miami City Ballet School was established in the manner and style of Edward Villella, who trained at the School of American Ballet in New York. Edward has brought to South Florida not only his experience in the traditions of his own training, but also his experiences as a performer at New York City Ballet and as a teacher throughout the country. The regimen and discipline within which he developed are principles on which the School is based. The curriculum is based on the dynamic evolution of classical dance as it enters the 21st century and beyond. The teachers and staff are dedicated to providing complete preparation for the demands of a professional dance career including technique, role characterization, presentation, and the various elements of staging. We believe, in any event, that the focus, discipline and determination with this type of training, will benefit students in any field they choose. What we want to develop in all our students is a love of dance."

 

I would encourage you and your daughter to peruse Miami City Ballet's web site and further discuss your DD's training needs with your home studio director. I think her teacher may be misinformed on the height requirements for the company and the school. The most current student apprentices who were chosen this past season appear to be various heights. I believe Rebecca King and Gabriella Gonzalez are on the shorter side while Elizabeth Smedly is tall. It may be a good idea to also visit with Miami City Ballet School's Director in lieu of discussing your situation with a former student. Each training experience can vary from student to student and, therefore be subjective in nature. If your daughter has already been accepted to attend the summer program speaking with the school staff may assist her in making an informed decision. Linda Villella is very approachable. May I also suggest you plan a visit to the school and ask if your daughter may either take a class and/or observe one. That way she can see first hand if it would be a good fit for her.

 

I hope this information helps you in making an informed decision. Good luck to you and your daughter.

Edited by pa07
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carpoolleader

Thank you Dancer8906 and pa07 for your thoughtful replies. I do think calling Linda Villella might be a good idea because MCB School has been DD's first choice for quite sometime but we never auditioned until this year. I would hate to lose out on an opportunity because of one negative comment. She did actually observe the advanced level class there once and loved it. She thought the dancers were amazing, the teacher (a man whose name I cannot remember) was fantastic and she really "saw" herself there.

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carpoolleader

 

I have a DD. When I look back on some of the comments that her home school made to her I wished I had asked some questions of them in return. To a reply such as they gave you (had I known then what I know now) I would ask of the teacher, "How many of the MCB performances have you seen? How recently? Have you observed a class? Do you know any of the current teachers or Artistic Staff?" Their answers might give you some idea about just how much they know about the school and company.

 

Just a suggestion.

 

When you have PM ability feel free to contact me since I might be able to address some of your specific questions.

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carpoolleader

Thanks cahill for your advice and I have been kicking myself since yesterday for not speaking up and questioning her more. Like for example if MCB school and company really like to see hyperextension and banana feet then why did they even accept her?

 

I get the sense that this teacher/director does not really know the company or school very well. For example, she proclaimed the school and program to be VERY Balanchine and from what I've read on the various boards here it is more a hybrid - "Balanchine sensible" I believe someone said. She also stated that it will be a very large program in comparison to another program DD is considering and again, I believe I have read somewhere that they take around 150 which is not terribly large in my opinion. Since DD is just 14, if it seems that MCB school is not for her or they seem not interested in her after the summer then there is plenty of time for her to look for another residency/full time school affiliated with a company. I think it is too early to discount one particular school.

 

I thought her pronouncements about needing hyperextension and certain feet were erroneous but I am glad I went here for confirmation.

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Have you checked out the tour section of the MCB site under performances? Not sure what part of PA you are in but they will be in NY and NJ soon. That performance will give you a good idea of the company. In the Upper Room is an amazing ballet! I saw MCB do this twice earlier this year when they were on tour. Also closer than going to South Florida to see them perform. Colder but Closer!

 

You can also google MCB and find reviews from the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Miami Herald on their recent performances.

 

Good Luck!

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carpoolleader

cahill, DD and I saw MCB perform once and we both thought they were amazing! (of course, we had inexpensive seats and so were too far away to really see their knees or feet :) ). I didn't realize they went on tour though. We are on the western side of PA and so anything on the east coast is about a 6-7 hour drive for us. We'd love to see them again though so I'll check the schedule. What we noticed was the consistency of the dancers from the principals to the corps - all wonderful dancers - very expressive.

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carpooleader,

 

I believe your personal message account is not activated or is full. Perhaps, you would like to check it out.

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Thank you Dancer8906 and pa07 for your thoughtful replies. I do think calling Linda Villella might be a good idea because MCB School has been DD's first choice for quite sometime but we never auditioned until this year. I would hate to lose out on an opportunity because of one negative comment. She did actually observe the advanced level class there once and loved it. She thought the dancers were amazing, the teacher (a man whose name I cannot remember) was fantastic and she really "saw" herself there.

 

You are most welcome carpooleader. One additional factor you may want to consider discussing with Linda Villella is lodging and academics since your dd is still quite young to be on her own during the year. To my knowledge Miami City Ballet School does not provide dormitory housing for their year round students. Are you planning to relocate to Miami Beach with your daughter? I do know of several advanced students who successfully relocated to Miami Beach with a parent during their kids training, but all of the students were older than 14 years of age. At one time I believe Miami City Ballet School offered a lodging and academic studies program with a local university, Johnson and Wells University, for high school students during their junior year. This is the same university that provides student housing during the summer program. The majority of the advanced ballet students who attend MCBS during the year reside in apartments without a parent/guardian and use independent high school study programs to complete their academic studies. These kids are between the ages of 17 and 20.

 

Training during the year and the summer program appear to be an eclectic mix of styles. Each year and during the summer program the ballet school draws several international students as well as students from other well known year round residency schools such as School of American Ballet, and The Rock School. I know at one time Truman Finney and Geta Constantinescu taught the advanced division during the year round program. Ms. Constantinescu trained in Romania and has assisted in staging classical repertoire performed by the company. Mr. Finney, a former NYC ballet dancer, was a former student of Stanley Williams. Stanley Williams, was a former teacher at School of American Ballet many years ago. He came from the Royal Danish Ballet. Miami City Ballet's Artistic Director, Edward Villella, was also a former student at School of American Ballet and principal dancer for NYC ballet. He studied under Stanley Williams. Carter Alexander, a former student of Mr. Finney, replaced Mr. Finney in 2006 and is the current teacher for the advanced level. Several Vaganova trained teachers have also recently joined the teaching staff at MCBS. Edward Villella will usually teach class during the summer program and on occasion during the year. In addition various principal dancers from the company may also teach during the summer program.

 

The Balanchine influence seems to be more closely tied to the upper levels in their performance opportunities. I have personally seen the Miami City Ballet perform many times. Being a fan of the Balanchine rep I was favorably impressed with the dancers in the company. The company traditionally has a good reputation for hiring student apprentices from it's own school. Based on your daughter's young age I believe you should concentrate more on the school at this time rather than the company. Many things can occur between the time she begins her search for a ballet company and the present.

 

Once again good luck with your decision.

Edited by pa07
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carpoolleader
carpooleader,

 

I believe your personal message account is not activated or is full. Perhaps, you would like to check it out.

jmh4,

I think it might be that I do not have enough posts yet to have PM privileges. I believe 30 posts is the magic number so I am getting close!

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