Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland

Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland

Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland - in the news

Time Out New York: Eve's Song

Theater review by Regina Robbins 

When the Johnsons sit down to dinner in Patricia Ione Lloyd’s new play, Eve’s Song, they do everything right, from placing their cloth napkins neatly on their laps to saying “please” and “thank you” as they pass the rolls. Mom Deborah (De’Adre Aziza) takes pride in making a nice meal for her teenage kids, even after working all day at a demanding corporate job. But as the head of this high-achieving African-American family, newly separated from her husband, she’s beginning to fray at the edges. When Lauren (Kadijah Raquel), Deborah’s elder child and a college student, becomes involved with Upendo (Ashley D. Kelley), a sexually fluid political activist, the Johnson home starts coming apart—literally. 

The first half of Eve’s Song plays as kooky dark comedy, but supernatural elements assert themselves with increasing frequency as the action progresses. While Lauren explores her burgeoning queer identity, Deborah’s life goes further off the rails; meanwhile, the ghosts of black women swirl around them, heartbroken and forgotten, threatening the family’s suburban middle-class bubble.

A pro’s pro, director Jo Bonney guides the cast on a disquieting journey from humor to tragedy; newcomer Raquel is especially impressive as the sensitive Lauren, dismayed to find that her sexual awakening brings with it a growing political consciousness. As plays about racial violence flood New York stages in an overdue cascade, Lloyd rises above the tide on the strength of her original voice. Guess who’s coming to dinner? Someone you thought was dead and buried.


See the Full Article HERE

Emeri FetzerComment
Forbes: The Best Theater of 2018 - Broadway and Beyond
Another mirror for America’s soul, but one trained as much on gender as on race. A mashup of styles and giddy language explosions, Eve’s Song presents a version of our country not covered in the nightly news, one in which the deaths of black women dominate the bandwidth. It is America as Haunted House, with the ghosts finally given voices denied to them in life, through a series of the year’s most aching monologues. After years of adversity, playwright Ione Lloyd made her professional debut at one of the country’s most prestigious theaters, and as such it is one of those plays that feels both surprising and inevitable.
— Lee Seymour, Forbes

Read the full Forbes Article HERE

Emeri FetzerComment
Star Tribune: Review of "Appétit," performed by Zenon Dance Company
The piece began in darkness with the sound of the dancers’ voices muttering softly, then more loudly.

“It’s mine,” they called. When the lights came on, the dancers could be seen choking and gasping, their sinewy bodies pulled by an inexplicable force from their stomachs. They rolled over one another with tight muscles and jerking limbs. Their power struggles led only to more suffering, with the dancers eventually crawling wretchedly on the ground.

The piece’s final moments, complete with menacing animal masks, were unsettling. Batten Bland revealed the worst excesses of human nature. Her raw denouncement of humanity’s base qualities held a particular resonance in the wake of the massacre three years ago, but it continued to feel prescient even now.
— Star Tribune

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Emeri FetzerComment
NY TIMES: Stefanie Batten Bland Named Guest Choreographer for ABT Studio Company

Ballet Theater Announces Female Choreographer Initiative


Gia Kourlas for The New York Times

American Ballet Theater announced a multiyear initiative on Wednesday that will support the creation and the staging of new works by female choreographers. The A.B.T. Women’s Movement, which will support at least three female choreographers each season, grew out of Ballet Theater’s Women’s Choreographers Initiative, which has already funded dances by Jessica Lang, Lauren Lovette and Dana Genshaft.

“I realized at the beginning of last year that my future plans for the next three years included a majority of women,” Kevin McKenzie, the company’s artistic director, said in an interview. “I thought, we’re doing this anyway — why don’t we formalize it?”

Most years one work will be made for the main company and one for the A.B.T. Studio Company; another will be a work-in-process that can be workshopped with one of the two groups.

For its opening-night fall gala, on Oct. 17, Ballet Theater will present an all-female program, including a premiere by the tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance and Twyla Tharp’s 1986 “In the Upper Room.” The program will also feature the Studio Company performing “Le Jeune,” a 2017 work choreographed by Ms. Lovette, a principal at New York City Ballet.

The fall season will also include a new work by Jessica Lang, her third ballet for the company. Looking ahead to the 2018-19 season, new works will be made by Claudia Schreier, for the Studio Company, and Stefanie Batten Bland, for that group’s residency at Duke University in January of 2019.

“It’s important to level the playing field, if you will, but what’s paramount above and beyond that is, Where is the next voice?” Mr. McKenzie said. “I’m looking for somebody who can ignite the excitement of where we are in time. I just care about the work. And it turns out that the work that is catching my eye seems to be a higher percentage of women.”

VISIT THE NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE HERE

Emeri FetzerComment
Big Dance Town: Review of SBB's '41 Times' Performed by TU Dance
“41 Times” is a solemn and elegiac creation, as it must be. The dancers (who collaborated with Batten Bland in making the piece) performed with care and focus, as if they were keepers of Diallo’s spirit and the spirits of all who have been lost. The movement was wary, hands went up at times – but there was also an internal struggle laid bare, an attempt to break free of a horrific cycle. The work depicted a journey from despair into an opposite state – not really hope (that would be too simple) but a level of perseverance and determination to survive, despite the odds.
— Big Dance Town Blog
Emeri FetzerComment