Ballerina Simone Messmer joins Miami City Ballet in time for the company’s 30th anniversary.
“I am so happy to have found Miami City Ballet,” says the troupe’s newest principal dancer, Simone Messmer. The elegant, long-limbed Messmer—who pirouetted into her profession when she joined New York’s storied American Ballet Theatre but is now an enthusiastic Miami transplant—chats about her new life in the sun.
How did ballet become your career? I was a kid who would not sit still. I used to put on my sister’s petticoat, make my family sit on the couch, turn on the classical music station, and just dance around for hours. My mom put me in ballet when I was 3. When I was 14, I got accepted to The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, a small [ballet] boarding school. And then at 16, I got the call saying I got a job with ABT’s Studio Company and spent a season with them before getting an apprenticeship with the main ABT company.
What brought you to Miami? I stayed at ABT until 2013 and decided it was time for me to move. I chose San Francisco, which was not a good fit for me. I was a little bit lost about what my next step should be, so I went back to New York. Then, this past May, I called [MCB artistic director] Lourdes Lopez and I said, “I don’t know if you know me, but I heard you’re doing great things in Miami, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in me?” The next day she wrote me and said, “I know your dancing very well; I’d like to offer you a position.” That was shocking to me because they hadn’t seen me in almost two years. It all happened within a couple of weeks.
You started with the company this summer. How are your first few months in Miami going? I like it a lot. When I was a kid, my mother sent me to language immersion school, so all of my schooling was actually in Spanish. Down here, I’m very thankful for that—it’s making things a little easier. The company members and the staff have been very welcoming to me and very supportive, which has meant a lot and made the transition very easy.
When you’re not in rehearsal, where can we find you? I’m a beach girl because I was a competitive swimmer before I was a dancer. I’m three blocks from [South] Beach, so I just walk over. I do want to try paddleboarding. I’m waiting for a day when I won’t be too sore the next day for work!