Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp
About the Program

THIRTEEN’s Great Performances puts the spotlight on one of America’s finest dance companies in Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp on Friday, October 28 at 9 p.m. (check local listings). The program will air as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.

This program – a trio of signature works by the renowned choreographers — will showcase the company’s critically acclaimed performances of Balanchine’s “Square Dance” (music by Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli) and “Western Symphony” (music by Hershy Kay) and Tharp’s “The Golden Section” (music composed and performed by David Byrne).

Watch a preview:

From their home base in Miami Beach (and utilizing four performing venues in South Florida), Miami City Ballet – under the leadership of Artistic Director Edward Villella, celebrated its 25th Anniversary Season in 2010-11. More than 88 ballets are featured in its repertory, works created by a roster of world-class choreographers including George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Frederick Ashton, Anthony Tudor and John Cranko as well as such 19th century classics as “Giselle,” “Coppelia” and “Don Quixote.”

Villella is America’s most celebrated male ballet dancer. The artistry and versatility he exhibited during his long career with New York City Ballet (1957 to 1975), and in concert appearances across the United States and Europe and on television, did much to popularize the role of the male in dance. He is associated with many of the greatest roles in the New York City Ballet repertory and has been a leading advocate for the arts in America. In 1985, Villella became the founding artistic director of the Miami City Ballet, which has won worldwide acclaim under his direction.

In January 2009, Villella brought the Company to Manhattan’s City Center for its New York City debut, resulting in standing ovations and rave reviews. “Miami City Ballet made its Manhattan debut on Wednesday night at City Center. To watch it dance Balanchine is to see aspects of his choreography more clearly than with any other company today. Energy; crispness; stretch; dance as a demonstration of music rather than as a response to it; the multidimensionality of the body in space: these basic ingredients of the ballet master’s style shine bright here,” enthused Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

In a follow-up review, Macaulay opined, “No company today performs ‘Square Dance’ as well as Miami.”

This summer, the company held its debut season at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris to great acclaim. The Miami Herald reported that the company was rewarded with “regular standing (even screaming) ovations from sold-out audiences filling the 2,500-seaet theater.”

Laura Cappelle in The Financial Times noted, “Square Dance, one of their calling cards, sets the tone. At home in this whirlwind of spirited classical inventiveness and folk references, soloists and corps de ballet alike articulate the music and the choreography as one, striking notes so blissful that the action sometimes seems to stop for a millisecond.”

Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp was directed by Dance in America veteran Matthew Diamond (Balanchine Celebration, The Wrecker’s Ball with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Swan Lake with American Ballet Theatre), and produced by Joan Hershey and Mitch Owgang; for Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Vivian Milstein, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers and PBS. Major program funding is also provided by Jody and John Arnhold.

  • Alberto Mederos

    Oh no!
    I do not get PBS (Miami Beach) tonight.

  • Cliff Rigsbee

    Nuts. We do not have a TV at present. Thought we could watch on computer. Perhaps after it has run live??

  • Ricki Harris-Yee

    @Cliff Rigsbee (and @Alberto Mederos), don’t worry. You’ll almost certainly be able to see this presentation in about a week or so on the PBS Video website (

    Of course, you’ll have to watch it on your computer, unless you have a Media Center computer or Apple TV-type of device at home.

  • Amy Laden

    Does anyone know the title of the David Byrne piece? The dance and music were spectacular.

  • Laura Stanley

    I only was able to catch The Golden Selection (the David Byrne piece), but the company dancers are absolutely amazing. I was transported to another dimension watching them. Just fantastic. I’d love to purchase this DVD, if it is available.

  • Keli Kinnaird

    You can find the music on the album entitled ” The Caroline Wheel” by David Byrne. The performance was absolutely exquisite; to the point of tears of elation. Please release this for home viewing if its not yet available. Bravo!!!

  • S. Johnson
  • S. Johnson

    I believe it is the Catherine Wheel –

  • S. Johnson

    I believe it is the Catherine Wheel.

  • Elise

    I wasn’t able to be home that evening and my recorder didn’t work. I hope this will be an episode I can watch online!

  • Joanna Benech

    Would PBs re run the MCB special on Great Performances?

  • Inez Gelfand

    The total performance was absolutely amazing. Mr. Villella must be a real profectionist as all of the dancers were synchronized. I have seen many ballets and was most impressed with this Miami Ballet performance. Thank you KOCE for bringing this to us.

  • Tony Janik

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE release this incredible program on DVD and Blue Ray Disc!
    That would make my holiday shopping so much easier since I would give a disc to everyone of my friends…and even some relatives!!!

  • david ernst

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for your interest in Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make a DVD or blu-ray of this particular program, so please keep an eye out for potential repeats from your local station. Again, thank you for watching GREAT PERFORMANCES.

  • david ernst

    Hi Joanna,

    Please visit the PBS TV schedule website at to see when your local station may re-air Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp. Remember to set the search widget to your local station.

  • Colette K

    Please have a replay of this. It needs to be made available to all of us who sadly had to miss the show.

  • DBoegli

    Bravo! Its was amazing! If one ever doubted Ballet was an athletic pursuit they need only see the stamina, strength and endurance these dancers present.

    I agree it needs to be put on a DVD for purchase and replayed more often. Bravo! Miami!

  • Omar

    Well, shoot! I had no idea this was airing and would love it if THIRTEEN in NYC would show this again. From the widget mentioned above, I cannot see that there are plans to rerun the show…

  • RElliott

    If not made into a DVD….I think this program should definitely be made available to watch the whole thing online. Is that possible??

  • NateH

    For whatever reason,the local Atlanta, GA affiliate did not broadcast this program-what a shame. I also would request a DVD/Blu-ray release, please.

  • david ernst

    Dear RElliot,

    First of all, we’re so happy that everyone enjoyed Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp as we were very proud of the production and the fantastic job Miami City Ballet did.

    Unfortunately, due to the extremely high cost of clearing the rights for internet use combined with limited funding resources, we were unable to secure the rights to stream the program online.

    We encourage you to check with your local station directly to find out if they have any repeats of the show planned. Again, thank you for watching GREAT PERFORMANCES.

  • Carrie LeBay

    I have a daughter who is a ballet dancer who would absoloutely love to see this. Has anything changed with availablity on DVD or online?

  • david ernst

    Hi Carrie,

    Unfortunately, nothing has changed in regards to the DVD or its availability online.

    Thank you for your question.

  • Ferda

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE show this again in the metro D.C. area! Our Fios cable box reset itself in the middle of the broadcast and my DVR stopped right after the Balanchine piece. I REALLY need to see the Tharp piece.

    Thank you!

  • Lindsay Easler

    Only bad part is that I can’t watch it in Canada.

  • Lorraine Levinson

    Is it possible to request that VPT , carry a repeat of this Ballet performance? Will the DVD ever be available?

  • david ernst

    Hi Lorraine,

    In order to do that you should contact VPT, your local public television station. Unfortunately, there is no DVD available of the performance. We’re so glad you enjoyed the original broadcast.

    GP Team

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