Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor
As summer 2021 approaches, local nonprofit performing arts organization, Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre in Cody, Wyoming is once again looking forward to their Outreach Program with Intermediate and Advanced Dance Intensives. These intensives are unique to the area and provide a concentrated time for dancers to perfect different techniques which may include ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, musical theatre, and/or choreography. Participants also learn about other aspects of dance such as dance history, terminology, and current affairs. As part of the intensive session, RMDT brings in a guest artist or instructor to teach a Master Class. For the 6th straight summer RMDT’s intensives will include Ballet Master Classes taught by Prima Ballerina and former principal dancer, Natalia Magnicaballi.
Magnicaballi’s relationship with RMSA/RMDT, began in 2005, when she first performed the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in RMDT’s annual production of the Nutcracker Ballet. In 2018, Magnicaballi retired from Ballet Arizona after over 33 years of dancing professionally but she continues her coaching and teaching in the United States and abroad. Magnicaballi is passionate about dance and had this to say about her return this year.
“I am a firm believer in the power of the Arts. And I especially believe in Dance, because it is a wonderful means we as humans have to communicate, to express our emotions without the need of words. I feel very fortunate being able to call Ballet my passion. I am very grateful to this artform for so many things, among them for taking me to places I would have never before dreamed of. And for allowing me to meet the many wonderful people that take part of our global ballet community around the world. I want to thank Ms. Elizabeth Fernandez for inviting me and making me feel part of RMDT, and for giving me the opportunity to share my passion, professional experience, and knowledge with her students.”
– Natalia Magnicaballi
RMSA/RMDT looks forward to Magnicaballi’s return and feels honored that the dancers in our small town community has the opportunity to learn from her expertise.
To register for these Intensives or other summer dance & music programs offered by Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre and Rocky Mountain School of the Arts see: www.rockymountaindancetheatre.org
ABOUT NATALIA MAGNICABALLI
From her humble childhood in an industrial district of Buenos Aries to performing on five continents and simultaneously leading two prestigious US ballet companies as a prima ballerina for over two decades, Natalia Magnicaballi has demonstrated that exceptional talent, determination, planning and purposeful hard work can take a talented young person a long way in life, overcoming obstacles along the way.
Over those twenty years, Natalia has led both The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Washington, DC, since its conception in 1999 and Ib Andersen’s Ballet Arizona, Phoenix, since 2002, as the most celebrated prima ballerina in each of their histories, according to audiences and major media. At the same time, she has been passionately devoted to passing her love for this artform to younger generations, teaching regularly and guesting as a ballet master with companies and academies worldwide since 2005.
A distinguishing fact of Natalia’s career is the unprecedented number of years she has danced professionally ̶ more than 33, since age 9.
Natalia is especially known for her mastery of the works of 20th century’s legendary ballet choreographer George Balanchine. She has performed them as a principal dancer for more than 36 ballet seasons combined between her east and west US companies, and her Balanchine repertoire includes the principal roles in 38 of his most celebrated ballets, including famous lost pieces recovered as part of the Balanchine Preservation Initiative, a legacy project to introduce rare or lost Balanchine works to global audiences. Natalia’s Balanchine repertoire has been passed directly on to her by Ms. Farrell and Mr. Andersen, themselves former Balanchine’s protegees, over the past two decades. As a result, Natalia has become one of the most knowledgeable and sought-after Balanchine teachers and coaches of her generation.
Her classic repertoire includes lead roles in the most beloved classic ballets such as Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Paquita, La Sylphide, Don Quixote, Coppélia, and Giselle, performing in the main houses and arena theatres around 5 continents, including the Paris Opera Garnier, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Cairo Opera House in Egypt, and the Royal Opera Muscat in Oman.
As a child, Natalia graduated with highest honors after eight years of ballet training at the Ballet Institute of the internationally renowned Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. That’s where she began taking part in productions as a professional dancer at age 9. At the age of 14, she was invited by Teatro alla Scala’s ballet star Maximiliano Guerra to join the Joven Ballet and the next year she became part of the prestigious Ballet Argentino, soon becoming a principal dancer at the young age of 19, touring worldwide for five consecutive years before accepting an invitation to join the Washington, DC Kennedy Center’s then-new ballet company, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. She virtually simultaneously received an invitation from then recently appointed Artistic Director Ib Andersen to join Ballet Arizona, thereby sharing her performing agenda between both.
Aside from the classics and Balanchine works for which Natalia was famous, because of her technical and artistic versatility she was invited to join Italy’s premiere neoclassical company Atterballetto under Mauro Bigonzetti’s direction, where he created for her the solo piece “She” with Charles Aznavour’s music, interpreted by Elvis Costello. And, back home in Buenos Aires, she performed the lead role in Mauricio Wainrot’s “A Streetcar Named Desire” with the acclaimed Contemporary Ballet Company of Teatro General San Martín. She has also performed and premiered works by Jirí Kylián, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart, Dwight Rhoden, Paul Mejia, Ib Andersen, Oscar Araiz, Mauricio Wainrot, Ana María Stekelman, Alberto Méndez, Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky.
In a space typically reserved for artistic directors, Natalia has built a widespread reputation for herself as a sought-after ballet educator and artist coach continuously for over 16 years, while simultaneously performing as a principal dancer. Her personal signature, artistic versatility and interpretive maturity, paired with her rarely seen musicality and equal understanding of classic, Balanchine and contemporary technique languages, gained Magnicaballi the recognition from critics and audiences worldwide. Soon invitations poured in, not only to perform, but to teach as a guest ballet master and to coach professional companies and prestigious ballet academies internationally, delivering summer courses, special programs and masterclasses, and sharing her knowledge and expertise on the classic and Balanchine styles.
In her role as an educator, Natalia realized the need to introduce fundamental modifications to the way ballet has been taught and passed along generation to generation. She knew it was critical to turn the rigid Old School structure into a more nurturing, dynamic teaching method. A BFA summa cum laude graduate of the prestigious Ballet Institute of the Colón Theatre and having studied with many professional companies and renown ballet masters all over the world, Natalia discerned that while focusing on technical syllabuses and physical ability are undoubtedly essential, most classic ballet training methods have almost entirely neglected the importance of psychology. Natalia’s experience and her continuing research and study in educational psychology has led her to develop a comprehensive teaching method, focused not just on the dance student’s technique and physicality, but in her or his overall growth, providing each with the tools for the essential physical, psychological and emotional development essential not only when performing on stage, but throughout their lives.
Natalia has spent over three decades jumping from planes to stages worldwide, sometimes even performing in the eastern and western US on the same weekend. The constant physical, mental, and emotional demand, due to the amount and diversity of ballets she had to learn, rehearse, and perform at any given point in time, paired with her endless commitment to devote herself entirely to her audience at every performance, encouraged Natalia to innovate. She had to constantly try and find new ways to hone her own learning process and to further develop her ability to make any new ballet “her own”— no matter how little time she had to rehearse it. Natalia’s personal awareness of the many challenges ballet dancers face both during their training years as well as in their professional careers, coupled with her innate sense of respect and value for each dancer, have played a vital role in setting her apart as an artist, but also as a mentor, educator and coach. She selflessly passes her skills on to her mentees when preparing them for professional performances, auditions, or competitions, always with outstanding results.
Under her mentorship and watchful eye many of her students have become outstanding professional dancers in a variety of nationally and internationally acclaimed companies and genres, from Ballet Arizona, the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet to acclaimed Broadway musicals, the Radio City Rockettes, and Cirque du Soleil. She also coaches young dancers on a regular basis who compete at some of the most challenging competitions with a great success rate and many who have won scholarships to some of the most revered performing arts schools and conservatories such as The Juilliard School, Pace University, University of Michigan and The University of Arizona, to name a few.
A personal note: This year Natalia is celebrating her 20-year wedding anniversary with the love of her life, as well as their second year as naturalized American citizens. They pledged their Oath of Allegiance in 2019 in a beautiful and unforgettable ceremony organized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Grand Canyon, in recognition of the couple’s contribution to American arts and culture over the past two decades.