|Rebecca King, ballerina at the Miami City Ballet
|| Version française
July 4th. 2011 : Meeting Rebecca King, dancer and blogger at the Miami City Ballet
Rebecca King is a Corps dancer at the Miami
City Ballet since 2008. In addition to her choreographic activities,
she devotes much energy - like the company she belongs to - to social
networking on the Web. Now, she tells us a little more about Miami City Ballet and the Paris tour scheduled on this summer 2011.
First could you tell us how you joined the Miami City Ballet?
I was born and raised in the East Bay of Northern California, near San
Francisco. As a child ballet was my main extra circular activity. I was
completely enamored with the art form, and that love has never
diminished. I trained at Contra Costa Ballet
in Walnut Creek, CA under the direction of former San Francisco Ballet
School Director Richard Cammack, former ABT and SFB dancer Zola
Dishong. I attended the Rock School in Philadelphia for my last
year of high school, before moving to Miami to attend the Miami City
Ballet School in 2006. I joined the Miami City Ballet as a
Company Apprentice for the 2007-2008 season, and was promoted to Corps
De Ballet in 2008.
most of us, Miami is more linked to beaches and palmtrees than to
classical ballet. How is ballet popular there? How does a classical
dancer deal with this context?
Miami does have a very specific reputation ; beaches, swim suits,
tropical weather, and an active night life. But locals know that
there is also a cultural scene in South Florida. Though the arts may
not be as prominent as a city like New York, we are still active in the
community. For the past few years the company has been focusing their
efforts on reaching out to younger audiences. By inviting young
professionals to the ballet, the company hopes to make going to the
ballet on a Friday night, the "trendy" thing to do.
What does the company mean on the American ballet scene, especially when compared with ABT, NYCB or SFB?
City Ballet is very much a Balanchine company. Many of the
company members were trained in the Balanchine technique and have a
passion for his choreography.
How important is Edward Villela in the rehearsing process?
I would say that we have a
very specific style of dancing, defined by our director, Edward
Villella. Mr. Villella teaches company class every morning and instills
very specific concepts into our dancing. The most important
concept is “timing”. Balanchine's choreography is
famous for being very musical, and Mr. Villella insists that we stay
true to his vision. He encourages us to move quickly, to define
each movement in a sharp and precise way. Secondly, this company
loves to dance big. By creating big movements that carried
dancers across the floor, Balanchine understood that their dancing
would inherit a very specific quality.
In your opinion, what does the company bring to Balanchine or Robbins' choreography?
To me, the most important quality that Miami City Ballet brings to
these world famous ballets, is our personality.We have dozens of huge
personalities in this company, which I find always comes across on
stage. There is a specific energy that appears onstage during
performances that is extremely infectious. I have no doubt that this
energy and personality will be more present than ever in Paris.
there are a lof Cubans in the company (or at least Latin dancers), do
you think it affects in a way the style of the company?
We do have a lot of Latin dancers in the company. I feel that they
bring something very specific to the company. They do have a different
style than the Balanchine trained dancers, but they are very quick to
learn and adapt to the technique that we work on in Miami. These
different kinds of dancers coming together is another thing that makes
this company special.
Is this the first time you and / or the company are coming to France and Europe? How do you prepare such a big tour?
This wil be my first time traveling abroad with the company. The last
time the company toured over-seas was in 2000 when they toured to
Italy. The number of performances that we will be presenting during our
time in Paris is un-precidented for this company. Three weeks, 17
performances, and 14 ballets. All the works that we are bringing to the
Châtelet stage are ones that we are either known for, or are
staples in our repertoire. It certainly was a challenge to put all of
these works together, but it will be well worth it. We are getting the
opportunity to work on over a dozen wonderful ballets at one time ;
often we only work on three ballets at once while preparing for
performances here in Miami. This will be a great experience for
Square dance (chor. George Balanchine)
What are you looking forward to mostly?
I am looking forward to so many things in this tour. First and
foremost, I am so looking forward to being a part of this monumental
moment in this company's history. I could not think of a better group
of people to be sharing this experience with. I have never been to
Paris before, so I am really looking forward to getting to explore the
city. Since we will be there for an extended period of time, I
feel like we will get to experience Paris as if we lived there
repertoire for this tour is mainly focused on American choreographers.
What is your favorite ballet? Which one would you recommend to a
Among the fourteen ballets we are bringing to Paris, I have a few
favorites. My favorite ballet that I am performing in, would have
to be Balanchine's Ballet Imperial. I
simply love the choreography and how much dancing the corps de ballet
does. I have had the opportunity to dance this ballet a few years ago
with the company, and I feel as if I could never get tired of it.
However, I have to say that my favorite Balanchine ballet to date,
would have to be Symphony in Three Movements.
Stravinsky composed the score, and Balanchine conceived the most
perfect steps to accompany the notes. This ballet definitely holds a
special place in my heart. Not to be missed is Balanchine's Square Dance.
The entire cast is spectacular. In fact, we filmed this work for a
television special here in the United States, by request of the
Balanchine Foundation. If you are looking for something more
contemporary, you cannot afford to miss seeing this company perform
Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room.
I have seen this ballet more times than I can count, and each time I
get chills. It is exceptionally exciting and full of exuberant
Which dancers and choreographers do you particularly admire?
I admire so many dancers in this company. They all work very
hard, with tremendous dedication. We have a spectacular roster
that is sure to wow audiences in Paris. I really don't have a specific
dancer that I admire. The reason that I answered with my admiration of
this company's dancers is because they are the group I enjoy the most.
Knowing these people on a personal level allows me to look up to them
just that much more. The choreographer I most admire is, of course,
Balanchine. As I become more and more familiar with his works, I
continue to be blown away by his genius. I often think that the
audience is not able to appreciate him in his full glory without
knowing the ballets as intimately as we do. His choreography seems so
natural that you cannot imagine doing any other step to the ballet's
Symphony in Three Movements (chor. George Balanchine)
Why are you so involved in social media?
I have become really involved in social media recently. About a year ago I launched a blog, Tendus Under A Palm Tree
and have found social media to be the best way to get the word
out. I am more amazed with it every day as I connect with lovers
of ballet, ballet students, other professional dancers, and other
bloggers. Most recently, I have been enjoying being able to connect
with people in Paris who are looking forward to seeing our company on
tour. I am also thrilled to be able to use Twitter to update fans
of Miami City Ballet back in the states throughout our tour.
What are you planning to do during your leisure time in Paris?
A lot of my free time in Paris will be spent blogging. I will be
working on my blog as well as sending posts back to a local Miami arts
blog (http://www.artburstmiami.com/). I will also be putting
together footage for a video blog for Pointe Magazine
(http://www.pointemagazine.com/) As far as site seeing goes, I do
not have any definite plans. I am going to take it day by day and
experience the city as a local. A lot of the dancers have been to
Paris before and know of great spots to visit. I am just hoping
to see as much of the City of Lights as I can in three weeks.
Rebecca King - Propos recueillis par B. Jarrasse
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Interviewed on July 4th. 2011 - Rebecca King © 2011,