Published On: Sat, Apr 7th, 2012

Miami City Ballet Announces the Appointment of Lourdes Lopez as its New Artistic Director

Miami Beach, FL (Apr. 3, 2012):  Miami City Ballet, Florida’s internationally acclaimed company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Lourdes Lopez as its new Artistic Director.  Ms. Lopez begins her tenure on May 1, 2013. She comes to Miami City Ballet from her current position as Director of Morphoses, a New York City based dance company she co-founded with Christopher Wheeldon, whose ballet Liturgy is in MCB’s repertory.

“As a principal dancer with New York City Ballet, I was nearly a generation behind Edward Villella, but of course knew of his powerful performances and charismatic presence on the stage,” Ms. Lopez states. “To have been chosen to succeed him as Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet, a company he co-founded with Toby Lerner Ansin, is a tremendous honor and privilege.  I eagerly await working with the company’s extraordinary dancers, dedicated staff and Board of Trustees and together take this exciting company and its school to their next artistic chapter and I am overjoyed to be back in Miami, the city and community where I was raised, and that saw me take my own first dance steps.”

“The Board of Trustees of Miami City Ballet takes great pleasure in announcing the appointment of Lourdes Lopez as its Artistic Director,” said Jim Eroncig, the board’s President.  “Ms. Lopez has an extensive background with the New York City Ballet with whom she danced for 24 years under the direction of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.  This extensive experience will enable her to carry on the tradition of dance that Edward Villella established at Miami City Ballet.”

“It’s very heartening to me to know that the views for the future of our new Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez resonate with my own, said company co-founder Toby Lerner Ansin.  “Under her guidance and leadership, I look forward to a Miami City Ballet continuance of the Balanchine tradition and fully applaud her wish to expand the repertoire of our world class Company.”

“I am excited about the prospect of working with Lourdes Lopez as we plan for the future of Miami City Ballet,” said Nicholas Goldsborough, the Company’s Executive Director. “I feel certain that she will inspire our dancers, the Board of Governors and Trustees, and the staff as we embark on a long-range plan to recapitalize the Company to provide for a more secure future.”

Lourdes Lopez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1958 and raised in Miami by her parents along with two sisters.  She started taking ballet lessons at the age of five, on the recommendation of a doctor, and went to New York at the age of ten on a full scholarship to the Joffrey School.  Lourdes continued her training at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, and in Miami. 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 fast at New York City Ballet where she was soon dancing leading 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 leading roles for Balanchine and Robbins.  Ms. Lopez’s great interest in children also found her writing and contributing to many of the company’s Family Matinee series.

Upon retirement, Ms. 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.

Ms. Lopez has served as the Executive Director of The George Balanchine Foundation and co-founded The Cuban Artists Fund, which supports Cuban and Cuban-American artists in their endeavors. In 2011, she received the prestigious Jerome Robbins Award. She sits on the board of Career Transition for Dancers and has served as a dance panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.  Ms. Lopez is married to investment banker George Skouras.  They are the parents of two daughters: Adriel, a 2011 Yale University graduate, and ten-year-old Calliste.

The process of selecting her as Artistic Director has been an intense and long one (it took five months).  Spearheading the search as an advisor to the selection committee was Robert Gottlieb, a noted New York dance critic and long time friend and associate of MCB, who considered thirty-five or so potential candidates, interviewing a number of them directly as well as consulting other critics, heads of other companies, the choreographic Trusts for whom we acquire our repertory, and other centrally placed figures in the national dance community.  He made several recommendations to the selection committee, but indicated that he believed that Lourdes Lopez was of all of the outsiders he had considered, the one with the most outstanding qualifications for the job.  On meeting with her, the selection committee and staff members, beginning with Mr. Goldsborough, MCB’s new Executive Director, emphatically agreed, and now join together to wish Lourdes a happy, successful and long life at Miami City Ballet.

The 2012-13 season has just been announced.  Subscription packages are on sale by calling the Miami City Ballet Box Office at (305) 929-7010, toll-free (877) 929-7010 or online at www.miamicityballet.org.  Group Discounts (10 or more) are available by calling (305) 929-7001 or toll-free (877) 929-7001.  Subscription prices range from $69 to $635.  All subscribers have the opportunity to purchase priority discount seating to George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ before the general public The 2012-13 season runs October 2012 through April 2013 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale and Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and Philharmonic Hall in Naples.

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