Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland

Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland

Company SBB Stefanie Batten Bland - in the news

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.”


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
French Culture Institute: In Conversation with SBB
I’m originally from a neighborhood and a city that values new walls (buildings) over old. NYC has a habit of building over buildings. As a child I was surrounded by graffiti and open lots that were commandeered by the community and transformed into gardens and that is what got my juices flowing, what if I could transform a wall’s identity. If I could repurpose it for a conversation about space and place, how exciting a physical and linguistic discussion we could be having. Not a wall that separates but one that welcomes; one that showcases the people who came to our shores and those who are still trying.
— Stefanie Batten Bland, in conversation with French Culture Institute
Emeri FetzerComment
Gus Solomons Jr. Reviews 'Welcome'
gus .jpg
Judging by the intriguingly dark tone of the dance, which sustains its dramatic tension throughout, “Welcome” (written in five languages in the program) is an ironic comment on our contemporary condition — socially, culturally, and politically. It’s definitely a work that speaks metaphoric “truth” to our current “alternative reality.”
— Gus Solomons Jr. on "Welcome" at La Mama 2017
Emeri FetzerComment