About | History | Leadership
Miami City Ballet recently celebrated its 30th anniversary season, earning critical acclaim from The New York Times: "Bold, light, immediate, intensely musical, the dancing of Miami City Ballet flies straight to the heart." Led by Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez since 2012, MCB was founded in 1985 by Miami philanthropist Toby Lerner Ansin and Founding Artistic Director Edward Villella. The Company has 49 dancers and a repertoire of more than 100 ballets. MCB performs for nearly 100,000 patrons annually during its South Florida home season in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Naples, and tours to top theaters domestically and internationally.Miami City Ballet School, the official school of Miami City Ballet, is one of the most respected ballet training academies in America. The School’s renowned faculty, challenging syllabus and affiliation with Miami City Ballet make it a place where all students – from children to adults – can receive comprehensive dance training. The School serves approximately 400 students, ages 3-18, in its year-round program and an additional 250 during the summer, granting nearly $500,000 in scholarships annually. More than 500 adults participate in a vibrant community division. Miami City Ballet is headquartered in Miami Beach, Fla., at the Ophelia & Juan Js. Roca Center, a facility designed by renowned architectural firm Arquitectonica.
“Bold, light, immediate, intensely musical, the dancing of Miami City Ballet flies straight to the heart." -The New York Times
“As the curtain rose on Serenade, the first piece Balanchine made in America, with the ranks of Miami dancers lifting their palms high toward the audience filling the theater's golden tiers, they seemed to be saluting Balanchine, the audience and the honor of taking their place in ballet history." -The Miami Herald
“Marvelous...What a triumph!” -New York Ovserver
“The choreographic richness brought here by MCB...found notable fulfillment thanks to the unaffected and confident expertise of its consistently engaging dancers.” -The Wall Street Journal
“Miami City Ballet has become a cornerstone of the city's cultural landscape, a nationally acclaimed company that is arguably Miami's most famous arts institution.” -The Miami Herald
Miami City Ballet was established in 1985 by Edward Villella, a former New York City Ballet principal dancer and George Balanchine protégé. He received multiple awards for more than 50 years of contributions to dance, arts education and American culture. In 2012, Lourdes Lopez succeeded Villella as artistic director to lead the company into the future.
Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director
Lourdes Lopez became Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet (MCB) in September 2012, bringing with her a nearly 40-year career in dance, television, teaching and arts management. As a Soloist and Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet, she danced for two legends of the art form, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She co-founded Morphoses with Christopher Wheeldon in 2007 -- a New York-based dance company aiming to revitalize dance through innovative collaborations with important artists from the worlds of music, visual arts, design, film and fashion; and by inviting younger and broader audiences to engage in and actively experience dance.
Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and raised in Miami by her parents along with two sisters. She began taking ballet lessons at the age of five, on the recommendation of a doctor. At the age of 11 she received a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, where she continued her ballet training in Miami during the year and then in New York during the summers. At fourteen, she moved to New York permanently to devote herself to full-time studies at SAB, and shortly after her sixteenth birthday, she joined the corps de ballet of New York City Ballet.
Under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, her star rose quickly at New York City Ballet where she was soon dancing corps and soloist roles in much of the company’s repertory. She was promoted to Soloist in 1981 and Principal Dancer in 1984, performing countless featured roles including Violin Concerto, Firebird, Serenade, Liebeslieder Walzer, Divertimento No. 15, Symphony in C, Agon, The Four Temperaments, Dances at a Gathering, Glass Pieces, Fancy Free, In the Night, Four Seasons, and Brandenburg. Lopez’s great interest in children also found her writing and contributing to many of the company’s Family Matinee series.
Upon retirement, Lopez joined WNBC-TV in New York as a Cultural Arts reporter, writing and producing feature segments on the arts, artists and arts education. She was also a full-time senior faculty member and Director of Student Placement, Student Evaluation and Curriculum Planning at New York’s Ballet Academy East. She served on the dance faculty of Barnard College and guest taught at numerous dance institutions and festivals in the United States.
In 2002, Lopez became the Executive Director of The George Balanchine Foundation, which works to educate the public about dance and to further the art of ballet, with a special emphasis on the work and achievements of George Balanchine. In this position, she oversaw the 2004 Balanchine Centennial Celebration, a worldwide festival honoring the choreographer and his legacy. Among the events that year was the symposium "Balanchine: Past, Present and Future," which was held in St. Petersburg, Russia, and which was a collaboration among the Mariinsky Theater, the Hermitage Museum, and The George Balanchine Foundation. Lopez also co-founded The Cuban Artists Fund, which supports Cuban and Cuban-American artists in their endeavors.
In 2014 Lopez was elected to serve on the Ford Foundation’s Board of Trustees, marking the first time an artist was elected to serve on its board. In 2007 she received an award from the American Immigration Law Foundation honoring Cuban Americans for their accomplishments and contributions to American society and in 2011, she received the prestigious Jerome Robbins Award for her years in dance. She has served as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Lopez is married to investment banker George Skouras. They are the parents of two daughters: Adriel and Calliste.