A dynamic mix of new works and iconic story ballets
Still invigorated by a year of standing ovations and critical success, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is thrilled to reveal its dramatic 2022/23 season.
A founding resident company of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), American Repertory Ballet returns to its home venue September 23-25, 2022 with Kaleidoscope, an innovative program featuring a new creation by ARB’s own Ryoko Tanaka and pianist-composer Ian Howells. Audience favorite, Claire Davison’s Bewitched (set to Ella Fitzgerald’s iconic vocals) is certain to delight alongside a dazzling classical pas de deux showcasing the balletic bravura of ARB’s artists. Also commissioned for the program is a unique collaboration between choreographer Da’ Von Doane (formerly of Dance Theatre of Harlem) and New Jersey-based visual artist Grace Lynne Haynes, whose creations have graced the cover of The New Yorker magazine among others.
American Repertory Ballet’s beloved production of The Nutcracker returns with performances at four venues throughout New Jersey beginning November 25, 2022 at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center and closing December 16-18, 2022 at State Theatre New Jersey, with a full orchestra and youth choir. This holiday favorite tells the magical story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they battle toy soldiers and larger-than-life mice, and travel through a whirlwind of dancing snowflakes to the Land of Sweets. Greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, Clara enjoys a suite of brilliant and joyful dances before opening her eyes to the familiar sights of her home, wondering if it was all a dream.
Making its American Repertory Ballet premiere at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, March 3-5, 2023, Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg (formerly of the Royal Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet) will present their co-choreographed Giselle. The celebrated and moving production, which had its world premiere at the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2012 and has toured the globe, will be restaged and partially redesigned specifically for American Repertory Ballet by an award-winning and renowned creative team. With universal themes of love, betrayal, and forgiveness, Giselle is one of the most popular and beloved full-length story ballets of all time.
Kaye Playhouse NYC
In addition to ARB’s local venues, the company returns to the Kaye Playhouse at New York’s Hunter College for one performance on Saturday, March 25, 2023 with a mixed repertory program never-before-seen by New York audiences.
The season will close at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, June 9-11, 2023, with PREMIERE3 featuring the company premiere and revival of Arthur Mitchell’s invigorating Holberg Suite set to the music of Edvard Grieg, as well as highly anticipated world premieres by Amy Seiwert and Ethan Stiefel.
ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHERS
Claire Davison began her ballet training at the Boulder Ballet School and attended Boston Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School summer programs. She was a finalist at the 2009 Youth America Grand Prix competition. Davison joined the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in 2010, was named an apprentice with the main Company in 2012, and appointed to the corps de ballet in June 2013. Her repertoire with ABT includes Berthe in Giselle, Good Fairy in Harlequinade, Madame in Manon, Nanny and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Queen Mother in Swan Lake, and a featured role in Deuce Coupe. Davison participated in ABT’s Innovation Initiative in 2014 and ABT Incubator in 2019. Her new work for American Repertory Ballet, called Time Within A Time, premiered in June 2022.
Da’ Von Doane is a former leading dance artist with Dance Theatre of Harlem. He was named one of Dance Magazines Top 25 to Watch in 2014 and a Pointe Magazine Stand Out in 2017. Da’ Von is originally from Salisbury Maryland, where he began his dance training. Since 2012 Da’ Von has been a leading member of The Dance Theatre of Harlem and has performed in works by Donald Byrd, Tanya Wideman and Thaddeus Davis, Helen Picket, Francesca Harper, Arthur Mitchell, Billy Wilson, Darrell Moultrie, Claudia Schreier, Robert Garland, George Balanchine, Royston Maldoom, Nacho Duato and Ulysses Dove. As a guest artist Da’ Von has appeared in Galas and Festivals in Vail Colorado, Cancun Mexico, And Poland, as well as Guggenheim works in process, E- Moves at Harlem Stage in NYC, and The Virginia Arts Festival. His Choreography has been presented numerous times in NYC by Periapsis Music and Dance, Bryant Park Presents, The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center and the 92nd Str Y. Da’ Von is currently Associate Adjunct Faculty and an MFA candidate at University of the Arts. Da’ Von’s current research focuses on the fluctuations in energetic frequencies in and around the body causing us to shapeshift according to our intended purposes.
Johan Kobborg is a choreographer and former Principal Dancer of the Royal Danish Ballet and The Royal Ballet London, and most recently is the Former Artistic Director of the Ballet Opera National Bucharest. Kobborg has performed with some of the leading companies in the world, such as the Mariinsky, the Bolshoi, American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada. As a choreographer, he has created works for companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, San Francisco Ballet, The Sarasota Ballet and the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Arthur Mitchell was known around the world for creating and sustaining the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the internationally acclaimed ballet company he co-founded with Karel Shook in 1969. Following a brilliant career as a principal artist with the New York City Ballet, Mr. Mitchell dedicated his life to changing perceptions and advancing the art form of ballet through the first permanently established African American and racially diverse ballet company. Born in New York City in 1934, Mr. Mitchell began his dance training at New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts, where he won the coveted annual dance award and subsequently a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet. In 1955, he became the first male African American to become a permanent member of a major ballet company when he joined New York City Ballet. Mr. Mitchell rose quickly to the rank of Principal Dancer during his fifteen-year career with New York City Ballet and electrified audiences with his performances in a broad spectrum of roles. Upon learning of the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and with financial assistance from Mrs. Alva B. Gimbel, the Ford Foundation and his own savings, Mr. Mitchell founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with his mentor and ballet instructor Karel Shook. With an illustrious career that has spanned over fifty years, Mr. Mitchell was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, a National Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the New York Living Landmark Award, the Handel Medallion, the NAACP Image Award, and more than a dozen honorary degrees.
Amy Seiwert enjoyed a nineteen-year performing career dancing with the Smuin, Los Angeles Chamber, and Sacramento Ballets. As a dancer with Smuin Ballet, she became involved with the “Protégé Program,” where her choreography was mentored by the late Michael Smuin. She was Choreographer in Residence there upon her retirement from dancing in 2008 until 2018. She is the recipient of numerous choreographic awards, including a “Goldie” award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, which described Seiwert as the Bay Area’s most original dance thinker, “taking what some consider a dead language and using it with a 21st-century lingo to tell us something about who we are.” Seiwert’s ballets are in the repertories of companies from coast to coast and her works have been supported by the Joyce Theater, the Kennedy Center, and the National Endowment of the Arts. Seiwert currently serves as Artistic Director of Imagery, a contemporary ballet company in San Francisco.
Ethan Stiefel is an internationally renowned Dancer, Instructor, Coach, Director and Choreographer. Stiefel became American Repertory Ballet’s Artistic Director in July, 2021. In 1989, Stiefel began his professional career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. Stiefel was also a Principal Dancer with Ballett Zürich followed by being a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) from 1997-2012. Stiefel has served as Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) as well as the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. During his celebrated performing career, Stiefel danced leading roles in all the full-length classics and performed in an extensive range of shorter classical, contemporary, and modern works. Guest appearances include dancing with The Royal Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, Teatro Colon, The Australian Ballet and many others. He has appeared in numerous film, video and television productions including the feature film Center Stage and the documentary Born to be Wild. As a choreographer, he has created new works for American Repertory Ballet, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, The Washington Ballet, ABT Studio Company, Northern Ballet (UK), The Royal Ballet School, UNCSA, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the television series Flesh and Bone on the STARZ network. Stiefel has received a number of prestigious awards such as the Statue Award of the Princess Grace Foundation and the Dance Magazine Award.
Ryoko Tanaka was born and raised in Wakayama Japan, where she began her training. In 2013, she was selected to be in the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program, where she performed in Michael Pink’s Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker and Timothy O’ Donnell’s At World’s End as a soloist. In 2017, she joined the trainee program at American Repertory Ballet and soon moved up to ARB 2. In 2018, she was promoted to ARB. Since joining the company, Ryoko has performed the title role in Giselle, Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Odette in Swan Lake for Princeton Ballet School, Paul Taylor’s Airs, Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June, Ethan Stiefel’s Wood Work, Amy Seiwert’s World, Interrupted and multiple other roles. She made her debut as a choreographer creating a new contemporary piece Saudade for ARB digital season in 2021.
ABOUT AMERICAN REPERTORY BALLET
Led by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is New Jersey’s preeminent ballet company, presenting classical repertory alongside new and existing contemporary work. ARB is a founding resident company of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center while also performing in major venues across New Jersey and beyond for an annual audience of more than 30,000. Founded in 1954 as the Princeton Ballet Society, ARB has been designated a “Major Arts Institution” by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council. The company has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and other major foundations and leaders in the field as a prominent force in the field of dance. Princeton Ballet School, ARB’s official school, attracts talent from around the world while providing opportunities for local students of all ages, such as through its award-winning DANCE POWER program.
* Photo of Annie Johnson by Harald Schrader Photography