MIAMI (CBS4) – Think of it as ‘boot camp’ for the ballet. In preparation for this weekend’s performance of “Program 2”, dancers with The Miami City Ballet are undergoing ‘Company Class’ – a daily hour and a half warm up, practice and drill session.

Celebrating its 25th season, South Florida’s critically acclaimed dance company is led by its founder Artistic Director Edward Villella who works with the dancers day in and day out to perfect every move.

“It’s very important for me to get across to these dancers how I want them to move and phrase and to attack all of these things,” said Villella.

At the age of 74 Villella, who puts his heart, soul and sweat into the company seven days a week admits he’s had to slow down his moves a bit.

“I have 9 broken toes, stress fractures in both legs, an operated knee, three hip replacements, a bad back and arthritis,” said Villella who is an award-winning dancer.

His passion, however, is tireless and it’s rewarded in the performances by this talented company. Callie Manning and Didier Bramaz met at The Miami City Ballet 12 years ago and were married last July. They are one of three dancing couples who met at the ballet and fell in love.

“We started off as friends and then found we liked each other a lot more than that,” said Manning.

Both dancers say working and dancing for The Miami City Ballet is an honor.

“It’s a very special place. We are like family, we help each other, we care about each other,” said the couple.

Villella admits that this company is his passion and fountain of youth.

“It’s an extension of who I am,” he said. “As a dancer, that’s a whole other world”

The Miami City Ballet’s “Program 2” premieres at The Adrienne Arsht Center from January 7th to 9th. It will then move to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on January 14th through the 16th.


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