Introduction

Acknowledgements
The Story of Edward Villella and Miami City Ballet
The History of Miami City Ballet | Repertoire

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Acknowledgements

The South Florida cultural institutions participating in this exhibition, Miami City Ballet (MCB) and Broward County Library's Bienes Center for the Literary Arts, to a degree owe some of their relatively recent success and vibrancy to the financial generosity and active support of Dianne and Michael Bienes.

The Bienes are true balletomanes and bibliophiles. Not only do they monetarily support the ballet and the library, but they are also actively engaged in the management and governance of both organizations. They have wisely used their resources to sow seeds from which have sprouted many of South Florida's important cultural and humanistic institutions. For example, in a very short period, thirteen years for Miami City Ballet, and less than three years for the Bienes Center, both institutions have quickly established their presence in the community. As Miami City Ballet and the Bienes Center mature, their stature in the community will inevitably grow and flourish leaving the most satisfying legacy Dianne and Michael Bienes could expect from their farsighted generosity: permanent local institutions with solid financial underpinnings.

Without the enormously creative efforts of the staff of Miami City Ballet and their Artistic Director Edward Villella, this exhibition would not have become a reality. Special thanks are extended to MCB's Costume Designers, sisters Haydée Morales and Maria S. Morales, for the extraordinary work they did in selecting and documenting the exhibition contents, in coordinating the gathering of the items from the various MCB departments and divisions, and for helping with the installation of the art work. Kudos also go to Pam Labuschagne, General Manager; E.L. "Pete" Upham, Director of Marketing; Barbara Singer, Director of Administration; Dick Carter, Scenic Production Director; and Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros, Resident Choreographer. Lastly, profound gratitude to Edward Villella, Artistic Director, and Toby Lerner Ansin, Founder, for their sage advice and counsel and for agreeing to loan cherished objects from their personal collections.

Special thanks to Margaret Bing, the Bienes Center cataloger/curator, for helping with the numerous daily details involved in organizing the exhibit and writing the catalog.

James A. Findlay
Librarian
Bienes Center for the Literary Arts


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The Story of

Edward Villella and

Miami City Ballet

BY EDWARD VILLELLA

THE HISTORY OF MIAMI CITY BALLET IS REALLY A TALE OF TWO PEOPLE, EDWARD VILLELLA AND TOBY LERNER ANSIN.
I WAS A FORTUNATE TO BE SOMEONE WHOSE TALENT WAS IDENTIFIED AS A CHILD. I WAS FORCED INTO THE TALENT, ALL BECAUSE I WAS TOO PHYSICAL FOR THE STREETS OF QUEENS. MY MOTHER NEEDED TO KEEP AN EYE ON ME, SO SHE MADE ME ACCOMPANY MY SISTER TO BALLET SCHOOL . . . WHERE I PROCEEDED TO DISRUPT THE CLASS WITH MY CLOWNING. TO STAY, I HAD TO JOIN THE CLASS, AND THAT'S HOW I DISCOVERED THE WONDERFUL PHYSICALITY OF BALLET.
I HAD THAT TAKEN AWAY FROM ME AT THE INSISTENCE OF AN ITALIAN-AMERICAN TRUCKER/FATHER WHO WANTED THE BEST FOR ME. HE SENT ME TO A MILITARY SCHOOL, THE NEW YORK STATE MARITIME ACADEMY, TO EXPLORE THE TALENTS BETWEEN MY EARS. IT DIDN'T OCCUR TO ME AT THE TIME HOW GOOD THIS WOULD BE FOR ME, TO EXPLORE MY MENTAL CAPABILITIES AND NOT JUST THE PHYSICAL SIDE OF ME.
I HAVE ALWAYS SPOKEN A PHYSICAL LANGUAGE AND AT MARITIME COLLEGE I IMMEDIATELY PLUNGED INTO ATHLETICS, SUCH AS BOXING AND BASEBALL. WHILE I ASSIMILATED THE WORLD OF EXPORT, TRANSPORT BY SEA, AND MARITIME LAW, I WAS DEVELOPING MY MIND AND THE CAPACITY TO SERVICE THE PHYSICAL.
BALLET IS A MIND DRIVEN, HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED PHYSICALITY BODY TO BODY, BUT ALSO MIND TO MIND. THE TALENT HAD BEEN THERE, BUT THE MIND HADN'T BEEN.
WHEN I RE-ENTERED THE WORLD OF BALLET, I WAS SUPPORTED BY THE GENIUS OF CHOREOGRAPHERS GEORGE BALANCHINE AND JEROME RObbINS. BUT I ALSO NEEDED TO LEARN AN APPROACH TO THE TECHNIQUE, WHICH WAS NOT FORTHCOMING FROM THE LIKES OF BALANCHINE OR RObbINS.
BALANCHINE BROUGHT THE GREAT DANISH TEACHER STANLEY WILLIAMS TO NEW YORK AT A CRITICAL TIME FOR ME AND SAVED MY CAREER. WHAT I MISSED OVER THE YEARS FROM 16 TO 20 WAS DEVELOPMENT OF THE TECHNIQUE, AND THAT IS WHAT STANLEY TAUGHT ME. I COULD JUMP AS HIGH AS ANYBODY IN BALLET, BUT I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO LAND. MY MIND HAD NOT BEEN TRAINED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT MY BODY WAS DOING.
THERE ARE A SERIES OF SIMPLICITIES THAT MAKE UP AN APPARENT COMPLEXITY IN THIS ARTFORM. IF THE MIND DOES NOT UNDERSTAND, IT BECOMES COMPLEX, BUT IF THE MIND DOES UNDERSTAND, IT BECOMES SIMPLE. IT'S ALMOST A GREEK IDEAL OF MIND, BODY AND FORM. IT'S AN ELEGANT PHYSICALITY, ELEGANT TO THE POINT THAT IT IS AN ARTFORM, CREATED BY KEY GENUISES THROUGHOUT THE LAST FEW CENTURIES.
ONCE AGAIN, MIND TO MIND, BODY TO BODY.
IN 1975 I STOPPED DANCING ABRUPTLY. THE LONG YEARS OF PUNISHMENT TO WHICH I HAD SUBJECTED MY BONES FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH ME DURING A PERFORMANCE AT THE WHITE HOUSE, AND MY HIP GAVE OUT. I WAS CRIPPLED BY THE INJURY. THE NEXT NIGHT IT TOOK TWO LIGHTS FOR ME TO MAKE IT ACROSS BROADWAY.
WHAT WAS SO DEVASTATING WAS THAT I LOST MY PHYSICALITY. I LOST MY IDENTITY, AND I WAS IN PAIN. BALLET TOTALLY INVOLVES THE MIND AND BODY, SO PASSIONATE, SO EMOTIONAL. ONE DAY I WAS AT THE TOP OF THE ARTFORM, THE NEXT DAY THAT WAS GONE.
WHAT DO YOU DO AFTERWARDS? FIRST, YOU ALLOW THE DEPRESSION TO COME AND GO. YOU THEN REINVESTIGATE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WANT TO BE. I FOUND THAT THE PASSION WAS STILL THERE AND THE PLEASURE WAS STILL THERE.
WHAT WAS THE NEXT BEST THING TO DO ONCE THE PHYSICAL COULDN'T SUPPORT WHAT HAD BEEN THE PLEASURE OF MY LIFE? PASS IT ON. PASS ON THE WEALTH OF INFORMATION THAT I HAD ABSORBED FROM GEORGE BALANCHINE, JEROME RObbINS AND STANLEY WILLIAMS, BODY TO BODY, BUT SPECIFICALLY MIND TO MIND.
I DID A SERIES OF THINGS NEXT. I PRODUCED AND DIRECTED TELEVISION, WROTE, CHOREOGRAPHED, TAUGHT. I DECIDED THAT I WANTED TO DIRECT A COMPANY, AND REINVENT MYSELF AS AN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR.
THERE WAS NO PROCESS FOR LEARNING HOW TO BECOME AN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, NO STANLEY WILLIAMS TO SHOW ME THE ABCS. I HAD TO LEARN IT MYSELF. I WAS VERY PRACTICAL ABOUT IT, AND BEGAN BY WORKING WITH SMALL COMPANIES THAT HAD PROBLEMS. I ACCEPTED THE DIRECTORSHIPS THEREOF AND BEGAN TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS. IT WAS A FANTASTIC EDUCATION, BECAUSE LATER ON YOU DON'T HAVE TO RE-LIVE THE PROBLEMS BECAUSE YOU ALREADY HAVE THE SOLUTIONS.
AT THE RIGHT MOMENT, FORTUNATELY FOR ME, I MET TOBY LERNER ANSIN, BARBARA SINGER, CHARLIE CINNAMON, DAVID EDEN AND ROBIN REITER IN MIAMI. I WAS ASKED TO USE ALL OF MY BACKGROUND TO CREATE A NEW CULTURAL INSTITUTION, A CLASSICAL BALLET COMPANY IN FLORIDA. I'D DESCRIBE FLORIDA AS A MOST UNUSUAL PLACE IN THE MID-80s, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THE ECONOMY WAS NOT AS IT IS TODAY. IT SEEMED LIKE FOLLY BUT THERE WAS SUCH AN EXPLOSION OF POPULATION THAT I DECIDED TO EXPLORE AND DISCOVER FROM WHENCE THOSE "MUNITIONS"WERE COMING.
MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARRIVING WERE FROM THE NORTHEAST, FROM URBAN AREAS. I WAS TOLD THAT THIS WAS A CULTURAL WASTELAND BUT I KNEW THE INCLINATIONS OF THESE PEOPLE BECAUSE I HAD SPENT MY CAREER DANCING FOR THEM. IN ADDITION TO WHICH, THERE WAS NOT ONLY MIAMI, BUT ALSO FORT LAUDERDALE AND PALM BEACH, FROM WHICH TO ATTRACT AN AUDIENCE.
I KNEW MY OWN FIELDS, DANCING AND ARTISTIC DIRECTION. BUT THIS, I KNEW, WASN'T ENOUGH. THE KEY TO THE SUCCESS OF MIAMI CITY BALLET WOULD ALSO COME THROUGH CAREFUL PLANNING, STUDYING THE AUDIENCE, AND GENERATING A BASE OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT BEYOND JUST THE SALE OF TICKETS. TOBY LERNER ANSIN WAS THE CRITICAL FORCE IN ESTABLISHING MIAMI CITY BALLET WITHIN THE SOUTH FLORIDA COMMUNITY. HER INDOMITABLE SPIRIT HELPED US GALVANIZE THE COMMUNITY; SHE AND OTHERS ON OUR ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MADE THE COMPANY A REALITY. (JUST A SIDE NOTE HERE ON OUR FOUNDER, TOBY: IN 1997, THE STATE OF FLORIDA PRESENTED TO HER ITS ARTS RECOGNITION AWARD FOR THE TREMENDOUS CONTRIBUTION THAT SHE MADE, AND CONTINUES TO MAKE, TO OUR STATE.)
TOGETHER, WE BEGAN TO HAND FEED A NEW CLASSICAL STYLE TO SOUTH FLORIDA. I COULD HAVE JUST BROUGHT IN THE MASTERWORKS OF GEORGE BALANCHINE, PAUL TAYLOR OR JEROME RObbINSI COULD HAVE JUST LEFT IT AT THAT BUT I FELT IT VITAL TO MAKE OUR OWN COMMENT. FOR THAT, I LOOKED TO AN EMERGING TALENT. WHEN I HAD SERVED AS DIRECTOR IN OKLAHOMA, I HAD RECOGNIZED THE ABILITIES OF CHOREOGRAPHER JIMMY GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. A FRIENDSHIP BECAME A TERRIFIC WORKING COLLABORATION. OUR RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHER, HIS BALLETS HAVE ATTRACTED CRITICAL AND AUDIENCE ACCLAIM, AND HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ARTFORM HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED SEVERAL TIMES OVER BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS THROUGH ITS CHOREOGRAPHERS FELLOWSHIP AND GRANTS FOR CREATION. ON OUR OPENING NIGHT PROGRAM, OCTOBER 17, 1986, WE OFFERED THE WORLD PREMIERE OF TRANSTANGOS, THE FIRST OF WHAT IS NOW OVER TWO DOZEN GAMONET BALLETS SET ON OUR DANCERS.
SIMPLY, IN STUDYING THE LAST THIRTEEN YEARS, WE HAVE IN A REMARKABLY SHORT TIME ESTABLISHED AN INSTITUTION WHICH IS SOUTH FLORIDIAN. REGIONAL, NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCES SEE A CULTURAL INSTITUTION WHICH HAS BECOME A VERY GOOD AMBASSADOR FOR SOUTH FLORIDA.
IT WILL TAKE SOME MORE TIME TO BE AMONG THE MOST RECOGNIZED OF THE MAJOR DANCE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE COUNTRY BUT WE HAVE BUILT A SOLID BASE FROM WHICH TO PROCEED. STEP-BY-STEP, IN A LOGICAL, PLANNED AND ORGANIZED PROGRESSION, WE WILL NOW SEEK STEP BY STEP THAT NEXT STEP WHICH WILL ALLOW US TO FIND ANOTHER STEP. IT'S INFINITE, THAT PROCESS.


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Brief History of Miami City Ballet

Toby Lerner Ansin first flirted with ballet as a child in Boston, but eventually abandoned the rigorous training required to become a professional. She never lost her deep attachment, even while raising three children in suburban Miami. She busied herself culturally as a volunteer producer of musical concerts and dance symposiums, but longed for a permanent, first-rate ballet troupe.
Miles away, Edward Villella was crafting his post-New York City Ballet career as a guest artist, lecturer and director with numerous dance companies and universities. A living legend of the American dance sceneone of George Balanchine's most acclaimed proteges Villella longed for the opportunity to preserve the Balanchine legacy.
When these two forcesdreamer and visionary collided in the mid-1980s Miami City Ballet exploded onto the scene with a unique artistic challenge that appealed to the varied tastes of South Florida's burgeoning multi-cultural population while remaining firmly anchored to a neo-classical foundation. Villella centered his focus on the repertoire, which would be built around the incomparable Balanchine and a young Peruvian, Jimmy Gamonet De Los Heros, who joined the company as its resident choreographer.
This blend of 20th century masterworks and originals crafted in the company's signature neo-classical style was an instant success, attracting attention both locally and throughout the country. Steadily the company strengthened and grew, adding new dancers, repertory, supporters and fans.
About to enter its 14th season, Miami City Ballet dancers and staff number nearly 100, with a $9 million budget and a national and international reputation earned at performances at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Jacob's Pillow, DanceAspen, Spoleto U.S.A., the Edinburgh International Festival, the Lyon Biennale Internationale de la Danse (France), and the 1996 (summer) Olympic Arts Festival in Atlanta.
In 1997, the State of Florida recognized the company's extraordinary accomplishments with its highest and most prestigious cultural honors: founding Artistic Director, Edward Villella was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame and Toby Lerner Ansin was given the Florida Arts Recognition Award. Later that same year, Edward Villella received the nation's two top artistic recognitions: The National Medal of Arts and The Kennedy Center Honors.


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Drawing of scenic design for Pan Nuit Suite.

Repertoire

Ballet. Composer/Choreographer. Year Choreographed
Actuations. Hindemith/Levans. 1983
Agon. Stravinsky/Balanchine. 1957
Allegro Brillante. Tchaikovsky/Balanchine. 1956
El Amor Bruio*. DeFalla/Tanner. 1986

Apollo. Stravinsky/Balanchine. 1928
Aria*. Wagner/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1995
Aureole. Handel/Taylor. 1962
Bach in Three Movements*. Bach/Gamonet de los Heros. 1985
The Big Gand SUPERMEGATROID*. Goodman, Lunceford, Miller/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1996
Bournonville Italian Suite. Helsted-Paulli/Bournonville. 1843
Bugaku. Mayuzumi/Balanchine. 1963
Caoticos*. Adams/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1990
Caplet*. Caplet/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1989
Carmen. Schedrin/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1994
La Casa de Bernarda Alba*. Adler/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1998
Company B. Various, sung by The Andrews Sisters/Taylor. 1991
Concerto Barocco. Bach/Balanchine. 1941
Concerto for La Donna*. Bruch/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1987
Concerto for Summerdance*. Bach/Villella. 1991
Cothen Suite. Bach/Levans. 1989
Continuo. Pachelbel/Tudor. 1971
Contropical*. Gottschalk, Gould/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1988
D Symphonies*. C.P.E. Bach, J.C. Bach/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1995
Danzalta*. Harrell/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1991
Diamonds. Tchaikovsky/Balanchine. 1967
Diana and Actaeon (Pas de Deux). Drigo/Balanchine. 1968
Divertimento Brillante. Glinka/Balanchine. 1967

Divertimento Español*. Minkus/Gamonet De Los Heros. 1994
Divertimento No. 15. Mozart/Balanchine. 1956
Divertissement dµAuber. Auber/Christensen. 1959
Don Quixote Pas de Deux. Minkus/Petipa. 1869
Donizetti Variations. Donizetti/Balanchine. 1960
Elégie. Tchaikovsky/Balanchine. 1970
Emeralds. Fauré/Balanchine. 1967
Esplanade. Bach/Taylor. 1975
Festival Pas de Deux and Divertissement*. Harrell/Villella. 1988
The Four Temperaments. Hindemith/Balanchine. 1946
Funny Papers. Pop Novelty Tunes/Taylor. 1994
Glinka Pas de Trois. Glinka/Balanchine. 1955
George Balanchine's The NutcrackerTM . TCHAIKOVSKY/BALANCHINE. 1954
GRAND PAS CLASSIQUE*. AUBER/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1999
GRAND SEXTET*. GLINKA/LEVANS. 1987
LA SOURCE. DELIBES/BALANCHINE. 1969
THE LOST WORLD*. GOLUB/ANASTOS. 1992
MINIATURES*. ADAMS/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1990
MINKUS PAS DE TROIS. MINKUS/BALANCHINE. 1951
THE MOOR'S PAVANE. PURCELL/LIMON. 1988
MOVILISSIMANOBLE*. HINDEMITH/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1990
MY LADY*. VIVALDI/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1989
MYSTERY OF THE DANCING PRINCESSES*. YORK/TAYLOR-CORBETT. 1995
NOUS SOMMES*. CANTELOUBE/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1987
PAN NUIT SUITE*. GOUNOD/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1993
PAS DE DIX. GLAZOUNOV/BALANCHINE, AFTER PETIPA. 1955
PARTITA*. VIVALDI, HANDEL/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1999
PLAY ON HEARTS*. MAHLER/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1988
PRODIGAL SON. PROKOFIEV/BALANCHINE. 1929
PROKOFIEV MOVEMENTS FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA*. PROKOFIEV/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1989
PURPLE BEND I*. BARBER/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1991
PURPLE BEND II*. BARBER/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1992
RAYMONDA VARIATIONS. GLAZOUNOV/BALANCHINE. 1946
REUS*. MARTA/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1989 RUBIES (CAPRICCIO FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA). STRAVINSKY/BALANCHINE. 1967.
SALUT D'AMOUR*. ELGAR/TANNER. 1988
SCOTCH SYMPHONY. MENDELSSOHN/BALANCHINE. 1952
SERENADE. TCHAIKOVSKY/BALANCHINE. 1934
SQUARE DANCE. VIVALDI, CORELLI/BALANCHINE. 1957
STARS AND STRIPES (COMPLETE). SOUSA/BALANCHINE. 1958
THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER. BIZET/BALANCHINE. 1975
SURFACING*. JARRE/TAYLOR-CORBETT. 1988
SWAN LAKE, ACT II. TCHAIKOVSKY/IVANOV, PETIPA, STAGED BY QUILLERé. 1895
SYLVIA PAS DE DEUX. DELIBES/BALANCHINE. 1950
SYMPHONIE ALLEMANDE*. MENDELSSOHN/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1988
TANGO TONTO*. NAZARETH, STRAVINSKY/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1991
TARANTELLA. GOTTSCHALK/BALANCHINE. 1964
TSCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX. TCHAIKOVSKY/BALANCHINE. 1960
THEME & VARIATIONS. TCHAIKOVSKY/BALANCHINE. 1960
TOBINIANA OP. 22*. DVORAK/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1991
3 EPITAPHS. EARLY AMERICAN JAZZ/TAYLOR. 1956
TRANSTANGOS*. PIAZZOLLA/GAMONET DE LOS HEROS. 1986
VALSE-FANTAISIE 1953. GLINKA/BALANCHINE. 1953
VALSE-FANTAISIE 1967. GLINKA/BALANCHINE. 1967
WESTERN SYMPHONY. AMERICAN TRADITIONAL, ARR: KAY/BALANCHINE. 1954
WHO CARES? (COMPLETE). GERSHWIN, ARR: KAY/BALANCHINE. 1970

* DENOTES WORLD PREMIERES

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