Miami City Ballet Gala: Tempest Meets A Mid Summer’s Night Dream

Followers of Downton Abbey hear “gala” and have visions of long coats, silk top hats and mustaches waxed to a rapier point, haute couture dresses squared off like combative tulips, and a night of a lifetime. However, for an arts organization like Miami City Ballet, a gala is serious business.

The success of a gala often determines the next season’s programming and whether the company will expand or struggle to maintain training, coaching, touring, and outreach programs. On a rainy, El Niño-saturated morning, Artburst had the chance to touch base with this year’s chair of the MCB Gala, Tina Carlo, who gave us an insider’s glimpse of some of the highlights to expect at this year’s party.

New Times: Is this the first gala you’ve done for Miami City Ballet?
Tina Carlo: No, actually, this is my fourth time chairing. I arrived in Miami in 1995 and became involved organizing support for MCB right away, mainly due to a love of ballet that I’ve had from dancing it as a child. In 1997 I helped form the organization Partners En Pointe, intended as a way of drawing in 20- and 30-somethings as new ballet patrons — I’m still active with this group today. I’ve also served on MCB’s Board.

Are there specific goals you have for this year’s gala?
Yes, we have two. This is the 30th anniversary of the company so we want the gala to celebrate that achievement. We want also to [highlight] the keynote program of this season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream [a re-imagining of Balanchine’s ballet based on Shakespeare’s play, first performed in 1962, with the updated version including sets from Miami-born artist Michele Oka Doner and dramatic direction from acclaimed director Terell Alvin McCraney].

Any special features slated for the evening?
A big highlight of the evening will be the dancers themselves. Dancers will be seated with different tables of donors throughout the ballroom. All the dancers are also there to enjoy the evening, and they will be dancing with the audience later on. This arrangement was so successful at last year’s gala we wanted to do the same this year.

Can you give us a glimpse of some of the party’s design elements?
Some months ago an underwater photo-shoot was done of the dancers. All evening these will be projected on the walls of the tent. The intent here is to create an underwater fantasy atmosphere, which we’ll emphasize by adding coral arrangements and other details. Through the planning we’ve worked closely with Oka Doner, the artist responsible for the original costumes and sets we’ll see in this re-imagined production of Dream. However, you’ll appreciate that I can’t tell you everything because I have to leave some surprises for the attendees.

Any idea yet what’s on the menu
Catering by La Basque with a main course of Chateaubriand — definitely a fabulous evening for dancing and dining.

If you are still contemplating a Downton-style get up, you’ll be relieved to know it’s still not too late to reserve a seat for this Saturday's festivities. Cocktails begin surfside at 5:30 p.m. and extend late into a mid-winter night, just like a dream.

– Sean Erwin,

Miami City Ballet Gala
On Saturday, January 23, starting at 5:30 p.m. on 21st Street and Collins Avenue (between the W South Beach and the Setai hotels). For more information or to reserve a seat visit

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