Still, even though Ms. Lopez has built successfully upon the achievements of her predecessor, the founding director Edward Villella — both were New York City Ballet principal dancers — her company is now in transition. As I’ve said, it has fared well with recent choreographic commissions. But one of its finest, most beloved ballerinas, Patricia Delgado, has left; another, her sister, Jeanette, has taken a leave of absence.
So how does today’s Miami City look at the Pillow? In the prima role of “Allegro Brillante,” Jennifer Lauren — making her debut in an exacting part — began cautious, guarded, but gained sweep and bloom as she proceeded. Her partner, Renan Cerdeiro, is integrity personified: In his dancing, you see a whole person who makes the ballet’s world more real. The corps, four male-female couples, took full charge of the brilliantly intricate details. (Balanchine keeps ringing the changes: Each man partners each of the women in the course of the work.)
“Polyphonia” is a cool piece, yet you could feel Miamian warmth here and there in it. A male duet for Jovani Furlan and Kleber Rebello exhilarated; Tricia Albertson and Reyneris Reyes danced the most prestigious duets with cool eloquence; Ms. Lauren showed real sparkle in another duet with Mr. Rebello.
Differences between Miami City Ballet and what you may call its parent company were most evident in the program’s weakest item, “Barber Violin Concerto.” This is an odd vehicle for contrasting pairs of stars: two ballet, two barefoot modern. Nathalia Arja, so explosively energetic, and Rainer Krenstetter, elegant and almost imperturbable, were as vivid as the tiresome third movement would allow.
Chase Swatosh was politely impressive as the barefoot and bare-chested man, but as the grand ballerina who finds romantic expansiveness by spending time with the bare-chested modernist, Simone Messmer was a closed book. “Barber” is one of…