Lopez and Wheeldon founded Morphoses in 2007, but Wheeldon left three years later. Lopez said she's looking forward to working with him again in Miami.
"He's a very, very talented choreographer. His works should be seen," she said.
Morphoses may soon have a new home in Miami, too. Both companies are working out a partnership that Lopez hopes will create a kind of laboratory where the modern company can experiment and think about the future of dance without the traditional ballet company's concerns about ticket sales and expenses.
Lopez said that collaboration may begin by 2014.
Ballet's future also forms the core of Lopez's plans for the company's dance school. She has appointed Darleen Callaghan to lead it and build a curriculum that includes dance and music history, not just dance instruction. Next month, the school will begin developing a syllabus not only to train students in all aspects of dance, but also to keep them as members of the dance community even if they don't pursue dance careers.
"It's not just about creating dancers for Miami City Ballet or for other companies. I want to view the school as an opportunity to create audiences," Lopez said.
The company is poised financially to realize Lopez's plans, after paying off debts, fundraising and establishing programs that should boost revenue, said Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, who was brought in as a consultant to help restructure Miami City Ballet.
"The good thing in the arts is, ambitious plans create revenue," Kaiser said.
They also create unlikely collaborations such as a new ad campaign that pairs principal dancers Jeanette and Patricia Delgado with Miami Heat basketball stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade to promote downtown Miami's cultural scene.
Lopez said the Heat approached the ballet about the campaign, and she promises more teamwork with other arts and entertainment institutions to reach new audiences.
"I've come back to a city that I don't recognize — the vibrancy, what's happening not just in ballet, but in everything," Lopez said.
Miami City Ballet: www.miamicityballet.org
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