By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
Ballet legend George Balanchine’s influence is a theme running through the choreography of Lourdes Lopez’s career. Beginning at age 16, she danced under his direction (as well as Jerome Robbins’) at New York City Ballet, ascending to principal dancer in 1984. She became executive director of the George Balanchine Foundation in 2002, and oversaw the worldwide Balanchine Centennial Celebration two years later.
She brought it all back home in 2012 when, after nearly 40 years in the spotlight, she became artistic director of Miami City Ballet, which is famously fluent in the Balanchine repertoire and “an exceptional troupe, by Balanchine standards, anywhere in the world,” according to The New York Times. Her connection to the choreographer came full-circle last year, as the company performed two of his works and crowned its 30th anniversary season in a triumphant debut at Lincoln Center, “Balanchine’s house.”
Of course, the master also informs the new season: The full-length Jewels, last performed by MCB 10 years ago, christens the bill on Oct. 20; and debuting in December is a reimagined production of The Nutcracker with enchanting sets and costumes by Cuban-American power couple, Isabel and Ruben Toledo. Also, various works will honor the centennial of Robbins’ birth.
Aside from the weather, what
do you enjoy most about living
in South Florida?
I love the light, especially in the early morning and at sunset. It really is like no other light I have seen. It’s bright and really enters your being.
Aside from the weather, what do
you dislike most about living in South Florida?
The drivers, especially those that don’t use turn signals.
Are you a beach person or
a pool person?
It all depends on how warm the water is. It needs to be bathtub warm for me to swim in it.
When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?
Happiness is a state that is always in flux and, as a fairly optimistic person, unhappiness is not necessarily something I tend to focus on.
What do you do when you’re stuck
in a traffic jam on I-95?
I listen to music — SiriusXM, all stations — and I think about most everything.
Are you a fan, and if so, of what?
I am really not a fan of anything — except perhaps dance.
Do you do social media?
Facebook: #LourdesLopez miami city ballet; Instagram: lourdi5258.
Who is your real-life hero or heroine?
Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. He has turned philanthropy upside down in a good way and made us focus on diversity and inclusion in all we do. [Lopez became the first artist elected to the Ford Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2014.]
If you had to choose: Rocky
or Raging Bull?
Rocky! It’s inspirational; there is nothing like Stallone running up the steps totally in control, strong and ready to win!
What car are you driving now?
A VW Passat.
What do you like most about yourself?
That I love to learn.
What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out-of-town?
I love the Keys and Sanibel Island for beaches. If you are into nightlife, then it’s SOBE!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I just turned 59 — whatever it would have been, it is too late to change now!
What do you consider your
My family, especially my