A Miami Moment with Lana Kay Rosenberg

Lana Kay Rosenberg

Lana Kay Rosenberg

Lana Kay Rosenberg, director of Miami's Dance Theatre and associate professor of kinesiology and health, has worked at Miami for "a VERY long time." She choreographs major works for Dance Theatre, the performing dance company on campus, and has been a guest choreographer in Brazil every summer since 1990 except 2012 and 2013. She returned from her latest trip to Brazil in time for the new school year and the upcoming Lecture Series, of which she is chair.

Q: You have an extensive background in ballet, modern dance and jazz, having performed professionally in those genres.  When did you start dancing?
A: I actually started taking classes when a lot of kids do — when I was 6. I was pretty awful, according to my mother, but got better. By the time I was 9, I started advancing in my little dance career and have actually been dancing professionally since I was 14, if professionally means you get paid for it, certainly not full time. I was dancing with the Grand Rapids Ballet when I was in high school.

Q: What's your favorite style of dance — to perform and to choreograph?
A: Pretty much it's the same. I have to say it's modern or contemporary dance. I like it because it allows me, or the students I'm choreographing, to really express themselves. When I was dancing professionally in a ballet company, we all looked pretty much alike: We were all lean. We all pulled our hair back in a bun and it didn't honor the differences that we all have. The goal was to look exactly alike. What I love about contemporary dance is … everyone doesn't have to fit in the same mold.

Q: You're also the off-ice dance coach for Miami's three synchronized skating teams. Congratulations on the "collegiate team" winning its 10th straight national title in March. How do you work with the skaters?
A:  I'm so proud of the girls! I don't choreograph their programs; I add some movements into already choreographed programs. The senior team comes to the dance studio twice a week, and they work with me starting at 7:30 a.m. on placement and form. I need them to use their face and use their eyes and stretch their arms. I'm very, very, very performance-oriented. I'm supposed to make them more flexible and stronger and all that stuff, but more than anything it's about performance, projecting the choreography's theme to the judges and audience. The junior and the collegiate teams, I see them each by themselves once a week in the studio and work on the same things.

Q: Tell us about your latest trip to Brazil. Were you there for the World Cup?
A: No, I very specifically went after the World Cup. I am so glad I was not there for the World Cup because I was going to the cities where World Cup events were happening, so it would have been a mess. I worked with two male dancers from a more contemporary ballet company that is in association with one of the major performing spaces in the city Belo Horizonte. It was a very invigorating athletic dance and that was exciting. It was performed in a beautiful outdoor theater.

Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
A: I'm definitely a Type triple-A personality so I'm always going, but I'm really comfortable relaxing by just sitting. I love the ocean or Lake Michigan, a big body of water. I could just sit outdoors from 8 o'clock in the morning until 5 o'clock at night doing absolutely nothing but reading.