Villella Bows Out

It’s more than fitting that the Miami City Ballet kicks off its 2011-12 season with a performance of George Balanchine’s Square Dance. One of the choreographer’s break-out stars was Edward Villella, MCB’s founder and director, who recently announced his retirement. Three years ago, Villella brought the troupe to New York, where they garnered heaps of aplomb when they performed Square Dance. This summer, he debuted the company in Paris, again to rave reviews. What a way to go out, Mr. Villella. But fortunately for us, MCB continues on, with increasingly proficient and interesting takes on old and new dances. The rest of Program I, which debuts at the Arsht Center’s Ziff Ballet Opera House, includes three diverse works. One is Jerome Robbins’s Afternoon of a Faun, based on a ballet dancer obsessed with himself and his own reflection. Liturgy, which also traveled to Paris, is an austere pas de deux set to the music of contemporary classical composer Arvo Pärt. And finishing off the opening program is Twyla Tharp’s signature work, In the Upper Room.
Oct. 21-23, 8 p.m., 2011
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