‘Spring Mix’ Stays Fresh with World Premiere

Annually producing about five productions, Miami City Ballet is nearing the end of a noteworthy season with its current production of “Spring Mix,” on view at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and the Arsht Center in Miami. Featuring three shorter ballets of about thirty minutes, the production showcased another Balanchine work, a modern work by Alonzo King, and a world premiere from Brazilian-born choreographer Ricardo Amarante. South Florida Theater Magazine was fortunate enough to attend one of the performances at the Arsht, and I was thoroughly impressed and elated from such great movement and precision demonstrated by Miami City Ballet. 

The Arsht has been home to the company for a number of years now, and it feels special to see them on that stage opposed to all the others on which they tour; like home court advantage. There was something in the air that night that let the patrons and other members of the audience that they were in for a wonderful night, the kind of ephemeral experience that leaves you talking about the performance to others who weren’t there, unable to gather the right words, only to say “You had to be there.” Well, here goes my best.

Miami City Ballet Dancers in Agon. Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.©

The first ballet of “Spring Mix” just happened to be my favorite Balanchine work he conceived. For those that might not be familiar, Balanchine is probably the most famous ballet choreographer of all time, and companies must contact the Balanchine Trust in order to reproduce his works. “Agon” is a minimalist piece, featuring black and white costuming, overlaid with orchestration by Igor Stravinsky. The piece featured such a masterful skill of precision, with duos and trios moving in the exact same motions, or perhaps a mirrored form in some instances, with final pas de deux movements completely taking my breath away. If you only see one ballet your whole life, “Agon” by Miami City Ballet would be my suggestion.

Choreographer Ricardo Amarante rehearsing Delight. Choreography by Ricardo Amarante. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev©

Next up was an incredibly energetic piece by Alonzo King, “Following the Subtle Current Upstream.” I was enthralled within the first few moments of the work, with its green and earthy costuming, its discordant sounds from a variety of musicians, and its thematic similarity to Balanchine’s “Agon.” I thought that the decision to pair these specific two ballets, one after the other, was the most brilliant thing I witnessed all night, not to belittle the immaculate choreography presented from these first two. The movements, the sounds, the simplistic, yet flowing outfits, all seemed to play off the themes of togetherness and wonder established from the first piece.

The final ballet of the night was a world premiere from Ricardo Amarante, a Brazilian-born choreographer, with “Delight.” In this never before seen piece, tinseled curtains are hanging from the rafters, creating the grounds in the wings for the dancers to traverse and dance, and their costumes almost feel regal or uniform-like. While the energy was high off the previous two ballets, it makes sense that the company would try something new while everyone’s moods were heightened. In that fashion, some things from Amarante’s work clicked for me and some didn’t. The things that did was the grand feeling and the use of the stringed curtains. The main thing that did not work well for me was the choice of score. Johann Sebastian Bach’s ending atmosphere felt more traditional and classical in nature, rather than the unpredictability offered from the night’s first two works.

Francisco Schilereff, Rui Cruz, and Cameron Catazaro in Following The Subtle Current Upstream. Choreography by Alonzo King. Photo taken by Alexander Iziliaev.©

You have just a few more opportunities to catch Miami City Ballet’s “Spring Mix” at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach before it’s over. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.miamicityballet.org/spring.  

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