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Shakespeare, Balanchine, Robbins and Peck to get the MCB treatment

You can’t accuse Miami City Ballet of being stuck in a rut.

The company just announced its season for 2014-2015, and the programs include a comedic piece by Jerome Robbins, a world premiere of a commissioned work by hot young choreographer Justin Peck, and a classical lineup with “Romeo and Juliet” and “Carmen.”

Season tickets, as well as tickets to the holiday staple “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” will go on sale July 14.

“What I want [the audience] to take away from it is really two things,” says Lourdes Lopez, the company’s artistic director. “First of all, how diverse this art form is. And the other thing I want people to keep in mind is that all of these ballets look different … and are different, but they are danced by the same dancers. When you look at it, sometimes it seems like different companies. But it’s all Miami City Ballet.”

Miami City Ballet perform in all three counties of South Florida, staging all four programs at the  Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach

The 29th season will begin in October with Program I, a grand, full-scale production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” with choreography by John Cranko.

Program II is titled “Hear the Dance,” which Lopez explains, “Comes from a quote from Mr. Balanchine, who said, when asked what is choreography, ‘It is the ability to see the music and hear the steps.’" This program includes works by Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp and Balanchine. “These are three major artists of the late 20th century, and it just struck me that it would make a really versatile, dynamic evening.”

Then, there is Program III, whose title, “Passion and Grace,” references Tharp’s piece performed to American Shaker hymns sung a cappella, and the U.S. premiere of “Carmen,” created by British choreographer Richard Alston. The program will open with Balanchine’s “Allegra Brillante.”

Closing the season will be Jerome Robbins’ humorous work “The Concert” (or “The Perils of Everybody”) and Balanchine’s “Raymonda Variations.” Also on the bill for Program IV is Peck’s as-yet-untitled piece created for Miami City Ballet and inspired by the Wynwood Arts District.

Lopez explains that the inspiration was a happy accident that happened when Peck was visiting the company last year while staging his “Chutes and Ladders” ballet. “He had the afternoon off, and I said, ‘Why don’t you go over to Wynwood? It’s really kind of cool and unusual.’ It was just a tourist thing, you know? He came back the next day and said he had been inspired by the murals. He was saying that they were so Florida, so Miami. He said, ‘I would love to do an ad campaign in Wynwood.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you take this a step further and get one of the artists to do a backdrop for your ballet?’

And so Peck is working with artist Shepard Fairey, who has agreed to create original art for the new work. “He likes that Shepard Fairey’s work is so lyrical and rounded. It has no edges or angular lines,’ Lopez says. “And it’s big and uses lots of women, female images. He also likes that it makes the ballet specifically Miami and Miami City Ballet. It can’t just go anywhere. It belongs here.”

Tickets start at $20. For more information, call 305-929-7010 or go to

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