Miami City Ballet Names Lourdes Lopez, Former Balanchine Ballerina, to Succeed Edward Villella as Artistic Director

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In a unanimous vote of 9-2, Miami City Ballet’s ‘Search Committee’ has chosen the Cuban-born and Miami-raised Lourdes Lopez as its new Artistic Director and the decision is making headlines throughout the world of ballet. Recipient of a full scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet school, accepted into New York City Ballet at the age of 16, her 24 years with the company, under such legendary leaders as George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, has provided her with a resumé that seems tailor-made for the job. Yet this former NYCB ballerina, and co-founder of Morphoses with Christopher Wheeldon, was not everyone’s favorite choice…namely Miami City Ballet’s departing and Founding Artistic Director, Edward Villella, who just presented an Isadora Duncan Dance Award, himself a world renown Balanchine protegé…and some of MCB’s dancers, who have never known another Artistic Director in their entire dance careers.

Lourdes Lopez in New York City Ballet's 'Firebird' by George Balanchine; Photo: Lois Greenfield

Rather than paraphrase what the press has already published, I’d like to present what I consider to be the top 3 reports for your perusal; a pretty complete picture can be painted from reading all 3:

1. The New York Times

2. The Miami Herald

and

3. The Wall Street Journal

Ms. Lopez’ new position will begin May 1, 2013 and her plans to present new works, as well as her dedication to the Balanchine repertory, sound like a good match for the company that recently brought Paris to its feet. What is your opinion? I’d love to hear from some of the dancers-if you comment, you may do so under the protection of anonymity.

‘Odette’

 Lourdes Lopez: On Being a Balanchine Dancer

Lourdes Lopez shares some of her experiences from her 24 year career as a dancer for New York City Ballet, and answers questions about Balanchine’s possessiveness, how NYCB has changed since she danced with the company, and life after dance.

  Sesame Street’s Elmo and Zoe *cooperate* by ballet dancing with Lourdes Lopez and Jock Soto

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One Response to Miami City Ballet Names Lourdes Lopez, Former Balanchine Ballerina, to Succeed Edward Villella as Artistic Director

  1. Janet Shannon says:

    Lourdes Lopez was a brilliantly talented child when she attended her first summer program of dance classes at the School of American Ballet–a petite fire ball with lots of life in her face. By the time she arrived in New York to study full time at S.A.B., she was a miserable teenager with large, square shaped feet in pointe shoes. Any trace of her talent had left her and though she was admitted to the New York City Ballet she never stopped searching for where it. She was a nasty colleague to her fellow students and one of Balanchine’s least talented dancers in the history of the company, Toni Bentley, perhaps, being a close second. From the time she was a child, she was as vicious and nasty to other female dancers as she could be. At first, it came out of a sense of an impishness but then, when she was full grown, she merely became a depressed young woman who enjoyed hurting the feelings of others. When she became engaged, she paraded her diamond ring everywhere she could and drew everyone’s attention to it, whether they be a member of the press, a fellow dancer or a member of the audience–she rarely removed it for performances. Her dancing genius had failed to reveal itself and, over time, the only thing she had to be proud of was that she had become a principal dancer, somehow, and survived fairly long in the race. Her mother was a nasty, smug woman just like Lourdes who had hoped for great things for her daughter. Their attitude was an illustration of the entitlement of many Cuban American emigres who think they are superior by birthright. Mr.. Balanchine was never able to draw her out as a dancer; her relationship with him had none of the inspiration or mysticism she loves to suggest that it did. A promise was made to her as a tiny little girl that she would dance with the NYCB and she did. That is all.

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