RING IN THE HOLIDAY SEASONWITH AMERICAN REPERTORY BALLET’STHE NUTCRACKER

American Repertory Ballet’s magical production of The Nutcracker returns to three Central New Jersey performing arts venues this holiday season. The curtain lifts at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, November 25-27; performances continue at the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton on December 11; and the grand finale will be at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, December 16-18.

The Nutcracker ballet is a local and national holiday custom for families and seasoned ballet fans alike.  It is no surprise that the charm, excitement, and wonder of the production continues to be a part of our communities’ annual holiday plans and an ideal way to celebrate the season,” says Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel.

For the first time, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) will collaborate with the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey, led by conductor Daniel Spalding. These professional artists will be joined by the Trenton Children’s Chorus for one performance only at the Patriot’s Theater at the War Memorial.

Five performancesat State Theatre New Jersey will feature live music played by the ARB Orchestra, this year led by Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s Georg and Joyce Albers-Schonberg Assistant Conductor Kenneth Bean, and accompanied by the Princeton Girlchoir.

The Nutcracker 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 own home, wondering if it was all a dream.

“Each performance of The Nutcracker is unique, from the extraordinary dancing and scenic treats onstage, to the magical sounds of the orchestra and singers,” says Julie Diana Hench, Executive Director. Families can also take pictures with cast members in the lobby and visit The Nutcracker boutique for specialty gifts, maybe even enjoy some hot cocoa at intermission. “For almost 60 years, families have been delighted by this beloved production and making wonderful memories together,” says Hench. “We invite audiences of all ages to join in the fun!”

Whether it will be your first time seeing American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcracker, or you have been enjoying it for years… the magic awaits. For tickets, visit arballet.org.

 
McCarter Theatre Center | 91 University Place | Princeton, NJ
Friday, November 25       2:00 PM
Friday, November 25      7:30 PM
Saturday, November 26  2:00 PM
Saturday, November 26  7:30 PM
Sunday, November 27    1:00 PM

Patriots Theater at the War Memorial | 1 Memorial Dr. | Trenton, NJ
with Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey and Trenton Children’s Chorus 
Saturday, December 11 3:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey | 15 Livingston Ave. | New Brunswick, NJ
with the ARB Orchestra and Princeton Girlchoir
Friday, December 16      7:30 PM
Saturday, December 17  2:00 PM
Saturday, December 17  7:00 PM
Sunday, December 18     1:00 PM
Sunday, December 18     5:00 PM

Please Note: For all three venues, masks are strongly encouraged but not required.  


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. 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 and Dance for Parkinson’s programs. 

 Find ARB online at
 arballet.org; on facebook at facebook.com/americanrepertoryballet; and on Instagram at instagram.com/arballet.

Summer Intensive Advanced

Princeton Ballet School’s Advanced Summer Intensive is a 5-week program designed to nurture a dancer’s technical and artistic progress. This program attracts advanced students from all over the globe interested in studying with our distinguished faculty.

The Program

JUNE 26 – JULY 28, 2023
9:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. M-F
Saturday class times TBD

Princeton Ballet School’s Advanced Summer Intensive is a 5-week program designed to nurture a dancer’s technical and artistic progress. This program attracts advanced students from all over the globe interested in studying with our distinguished faculty. Princeton Ballet School holds auditions worldwide to select students for the program.

To be eligible, students must be at least 13 years old, with at least one year of pointe experience when the program begins on June 26, 2023. 

For more information, call 609.921.7758  or cbellis@arballet.org 

Post High School Summer Intensive students may also be considered for the American Repertory Ballet/Princeton Ballet School Trainee Program.

More Information

Ways to Audition

Register for an audition HERE.

In-Person Auditions 

Date and Times

Location

12/22/22

10:00 -11:30 / 11:30 -1:00

ROME, ITALY

Molinari Art Center/ Via Antonio Lo Surdo 51, 00146, Roma, RM


1/6/2023

10:00 registration | 10:15-11:45 Audition Class

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

3 Danks St, Waterloo, Sydney


1/7/2023

12:00-2:00

KRAKOW, POLAND

Cracovia Danza, 30-101, plac Na Groblach 7, 33-332 Kraków, Poland


1/8/2023

1:30-2:00 check-in / 2:00–3:30 audition

ANAHEIM, CA

Anaheim Ballet 280 E. Lincoln Ave, Anaheim, CA 92805


1/14/2023

2:00-4:00

PARIS, FRANCE

Studio Blue,14 Bd Poissonnière, 75009 Paris, France


1/15/2023

2:30-3:00 check-in / 3:00–4:30 audition

PHILADELPHIA, PA

The Philadelphia Dance Academy, 219 Cuthbert Street, 3rd floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106


1/15/2023

10:00-10:30 check-in / 10:30–12:00 audition

WINSTON-SALEM, NC

University of North Carolina School of the Arts, 1533 S. Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127



1/15/2023

2:30-3:00 check-in / 3:00–4:30 audition

NEW YORK, NY

Ballet Academy East, 1651 3rd Ave. 3rd floor, New York, NY 10128


1/21/2023

1:30-2:00 check-in / 2:00–3:30 audition

PRINCETON, NJ

Princeton Ballet School, 301 N. Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ 08540


1/22/2023

9:30-10:00 check-in / 10:00-11:30 audition

BEAR, DELAWARE

Delaware Arts Conservatory, 723 Rue Madora Drive, Bear, Delaware 19701


1/29/2023

10:00 Registration | 10:30 Audition Class


TOKYO, JAPAN

Minato City Ballet
2-13-5 2F Hamamatsu chou, Minatoku, Tokyo 105-0013


1/29/2023

1:00-1:30 check-in / 1:30–3:00 audition

WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Ballet,3515 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016


1/29/2023

11:00-11:30 check-in / 11:30–1:00 audition

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ

Princeton Ballet School, 60 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901


2/5/2023

11:00-11:30 check-in / 11:30-1:00 audition

MIAMI, FL

Miami City Ballet, 2200 Liberty Ave. Miami Beach, FL 33139


2/12/2023

10:00 Registration

10:30 Audition Class

OSAKA, JAPAN

Garage Art Space

3-6-23 Nishizutsumi Hondorihigashi, Higashiosaka, Osaka 577-0045 Japan



Virtual Auditions 

Saturdays: January 14th through March 25th

13-15 year-olds 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

16 year-olds and up 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Video Auditions

Step #1: Complete the audition form

Step #2: Create a 5-7 minute video demonstrating the following:

  • Barre exercises –  Pliés, tendus, dégagés, rond de jambes, grand battements, adagio
  • Center exercises – Adagio, Across the floor Pirouette, Petit Allegro, Grand Allegro
  • Women should show two pointe exercises (one with pirouette)

Step #3: Upload the video to YouTube and email the link, audition form, headshot and first arabesque (en pointe for women) photo to Carol Bellis at cbellis@arballet.org.

Experience the opportunity to:

  • Sample a taste of professional life in a full day dance experience, including rehearsals for a final performance
  • Grow technically through daily ballet technique, including pointe or men’s class
  • Deepen your understanding of important concepts in injury prevention, such as proper alignment and rotation
  • Expand your dance background through classes in contemporary, modern, and character dance
  • Develop group communication and leadership skills while establishing friendships with equally committed young dancers
  • Set effective goals and learn to increase personal discipline and focus
  • Interact with dedicated professionals, including the Princeton Ballet School faculty American Repertory Ballet’s professional company members
  • Students participating in the last three weeks of the program are eligible to participate in the final performance on Friday, July 28.

Audition Fee: $35

Classes

Summer Intensive focuses on ballet, including pointe and men’s classes. Other coursework includes variations, contemporary, character, Flamenco, and choreography. Sessions in BioMechanics/Conditioning gives dancers the opportunity to identify and resolve problems, increasing the sophistication with which dancers approach technique class.

Placement In Levels

Levels are determined on the first day of the program, the classes start meeting in their regular groups on the second day.

“What made a great impression on me right from the beginning of the first lesson of the Summer Intensive, was a method of studying classical ballet definitely new in some of its aspects, and in other ways, richly motivating me to reflect on and deepen my prior knowledge: I found every movement, from the very beginning of the barre work, more danced, more lived, more breathed.”

–Federica Valla, Torino, Italia

The Studios

Princeton Ballet School is located in the heart of Princeton with four large studios featuring high ceilings and sprung dance floors. Live music accompanies all ballet and modern dance classes.

The facility includes a dance library and is adjacent to numerous shops and restaurants, with generous open space, picnic tables, and gardens. The entire studio complex is wireless accessible.

Performance Opportunity

Students participating in the last three weeks of class can participate in a performance on July 28th.

Fees

To allow for even greater flexibility for families, the Summer Intensive programs will be offered in different sessions: 5 weeks (6/26-7/28), 3 weeks (7/10-7/28) or 2 weeks (6/26-7/8).

5 Weeks

3 Weeks

2 Weeks

$2850

$1710

$1140

Housing + Housing Fees

You must register for housing and tuition separately. Contact Carol Bellis, Coordinator of Summer Intensives, at 609.921.7758 ext. 30 or email cbellis@arballet.org for more information.

Click Here for Travel Guidelines

5 Weeks

3 Weeks

2 weeks

coming soon (does not include tuition)

coming soon (does not include tuition)

coming soon (does not include tuition)

Scholarships

A limited number of merit-based tuition scholarships are available. All students attending each audition site are automatically considered for scholarship. There is no separate application process.

Age Qualifications

Summer Intensive is for students ages 13 and over.

Further Opportunities: The American Repertory Ballet, ARB Trainee Program

The Trainee Program, a two-year-program, begins with the Summer Intensive and is the bridge between the student phase of training and that of a professional career. ARB Trainees start each day with intensive classes designed to polish technique and build strength. The program includes pointe class, variations, contemporary, bio-mechanics/conditioning, choreography, career development and American Repertory Ballet and classical repertoire to further technique and performance skills in a professional environment. Trainees also participate in the Princeton Ballet Workshop – the rehearsal and performance training program for the top levels of Princeton Ballet School. Trainees may also have the opportunity to participate in American Repertory Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.

International Students Princeton Ballet School is authorized and accredited by the federal government to enroll non-immigrant students.

Summer Intensive 2023

Summer Schedule

Uniforms

Advanced Summer Intensive uniforms consist of:

black leotards

convertible tights

black character shoes

knee length character skirt

American Repertory Ballet Kaleidoscope Review: Interpreting Reflections

The Dance Herald by Nadia Vostrikov

In a program named after constantly changing patterns, American Repertory Ballet’s Kaleidoscope lived up to the title with a range of dance from classical to contemporary. Two group pieces and two pas de deux, the evening’s line up was even laid out in kaleidoscope-like symmetry.

Taking inspiration from Salvador Dali’s painting Swans Reflecting Elephants – a surrealist image of swans peering into their morphed elephant reflection – Ryoko Tanaka’s Hindsight imitated the art through duos, zoological gestures, and an enchanting pas de deux

Tanaka has a firm grasp on vocabulary, knowing when to refer back to theme steps and when to incorporate something new.

In her thematic bag of moves: one arm bent at the elbow with fingertips to the chest and palm to the floor, a pirouette opening to an extended arabesque, stag leaps.

Movement remained a clear thread thoughtfully woven from section to section – elevated by Tanaka’s organic transitions and accompaniment of Ian Howells’ new composition, an inspirational, pastorale-like piano and cello number.

Accolades must also be given to Jason Flamos for the dramatic lagoon of light poured across the stage.

The peak of the piece is a pas de deux featuring emotive dancing from Annie Johnson and Aldeir Monteiro. Johnson changes from a burnt orange dress into black and Howells’ instrumentation becomes tender yet foreboding. Between Johnson’s costume and slackened body, it’s clear this is a duet of loss. Tanaka juxtaposes the simple beauty of the pas de deux with sculptural shapes and sharp upper body configurations in the group work – duality echoes throughout.

Set between the opening and closing group numbers were the two antipodal pas de deux, one to the jazzy Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered song and the other to Leo Delibes’ classic Act III Coppélia.

Claire Davison’s Bewitched featured Erikka Reenstierna-Cates and Elias Re in a whimsical, characterized, whirlwind romance. Taking cues from the music, Reenstierna-Cates wobbles and sways to the crooning lyrics “After one whole quart of brandy/Like a daisy, I’m awake”.

Familiar with Davison’s work, I am always happy to see her name on a program. Davison is unafraid of humor and open to riding any inspiration that floats her way (I once saw a piece in which she was inspired by a beach towel). Using non-conventional connections, a foot lifting a head, a cheek resting in a palm, her humor is subtle yet refined and always nestled ever so nicely in the music.

Delibes Duet, choreographed by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, is a more classic approach, using the age-old ballet formula of pas de deux, two variations, and coda. Decked in gorgeous silver costumes, the ballerina in a tutu with lapels revealing shimmering crystals and the male dancer in a similar shimmering lapeled tunic, Janessa Cornell Urwin’s costumes are a beautiful nod to the prototypical uniform with a 21st century upgrade.

Like the costumes, Stiefel offers us classical ballet with a twist.

Traditionally, male and female dancers have certain roles to fill. From the attire to how they stand on stage, their expectations are split by gender. Stiefel challenges that expectation.

A few bars in, the female dancer stands in a pose more commonly taken by the prince in full-length ballets; one straight leg, toes pointing slightly out and the other leg bent slightly at the knee with the heel tucked against the other foot. It may seem like nothing, but it’s a pose rarely done by a ballerina in pointe shoes and a tutu.

The pas de deux, luscious and provocative in its subtle challenges of the status quo, is absolutely refreshing. Duo Lily Krisko and Tiziano Cerrato are spirited and green, both new apprentices with the company, and rose to the difficult challenge. The steps following the pas section were increasingly demanding but the kind of dance where the audience is totally clued into the challenge and rooting the dancers on.

Influenced by the namesake of the program, Da’ Von Doane’s “Kaleidoscope Mind” was the most literal interpretation of the evening.

Grace Lynn Haynes’ designs featured a swirled backdrop and metal sculptures, later used as a central point for the end kaleidoscope formation, brought a crowded heaviness to the stage. Layered with fire and ice style unitards and dramatic face paint, there was a lot to take in when the curtain went up. While it was refreshing to see stage sets after three unaccompanied pieces, this may have been a case of too many ideas.

Working in mostly symmetrical formations and clean, balletic steps the steady tone of the piece mirrored the repeated, minimalistic music of Steve Reich. Intricate arm work was introduced mostly when the lower body was static, like that of an anchor or perhaps the central node of a kaleidoscope window.

Doane lets the piece fade out instead of culminating, delivering an introspective calm, an unusual choice for the closer.

Mid-way through the evening there was a minor curtain malfunction causing a small extended pause. Stiefel appeared on the stage to jovially remind everyone “this is a live performance, obviously, which is what makes it so special.”

American Repertory Ballet is a special company indeed.

Featured Photo for this American Repertory Ballet Kaleidoscope review of (clockwise) Nanako Yamamoto, Annie Johnson, Emily Cordies-Mason, Michelle Quiner in Da’ Von Doane’s Kaleidoscope Mind. Photo by Kyle Froman. 

2022-23 Season Tickets

Season tickets are now available! Buy tickets to all three American Repertory Ballet programs at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (Kaleidoscope, Giselle, and PREMIERE3) and receive 30% off. This offer only applies when purchasing all three programs in the same transaction. Subscribers also receive additional discounts and benefits.

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.

Co-choreographed by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg, Giselle will make its American Repertory Ballet premiere at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in March 2023. This celebrated and moving production had its world premiere at the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2012, and has since toured the globe. Giselle was adapted into a feature film directed by Tao Fraser, selected for screening in the NZ International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Stiefel and Kobborg’s Giselle will be restaged and partially redesigned specifically for American Repertory Ballet by an award-winning and renowned creative team.

PREMIERE3 features the revival and company premiere of Holberg Suite, choreographed by legendary dancer, dance maker, trail-blazer, and co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem – Arthur Mitchell. This invigorating ballet, set to the music of Edvard Grieg, will have newly designed costumes created for American Repertory Ballet.

AMERICAN REPERTORY BALLET ANNOUNCES ITS 2022/23 SEASON

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. 

KALEIDOSCOPE

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.

THE NUTCRACKER

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.

GISELLE

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. 

PREMIERE3

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.

“Building upon the renewed affirmation that dance impassions the hearts, bodies and minds of our communities, American Repertory Ballet will continue to blaze new trails and present distinctive programming within the industry. Our belief that modern voices igniting new creations, alongside original interpretations of iconic classical works, speaks to our pursuit of being uniquely timeless and relevant.  The upcoming season captures this feeling and keeps us steadfast in being authentic and singularly American Repertory Ballet.”

Ethan Stiefel, Artistic Director

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

American Repertory Ballet Review: A Gem in the Garden State

The Ballet Herald |by Nadia Vostrikov

Ethan Stiefel doesn’t shy away from trying new things. He pushed the Royal New Zealand Ballet forward as Artistic Director, choreographed a JFK/Space themed piece for the Washington Ballet, and of course, drove a motorcycle across a stage as the semi-villainous Cooper Nielsen in Center Stage.

It is unsurprising that he would put on a mixed bill of three world premieres at American Repertory Ballet, as their recently appointed Artistic Director. Titled Movin’ + Groovin’, the program includes an array of styles that complement each other nicely.

Program notes highlighted the selection of choreographers as a group who made the move “from dancers to dancemakers”. While one could argue that most choreographers make the very same transition, it is an interesting notion to hire young choreographers so close in time to their dance careers. Claire Davison still dances with the American Ballet Theater and Caili Quan danced with Ballet X until 2020. Choreographer Ja’ Malik’s career holds the most time between dancer and full-time choreographer, but not significantly.

Candidly titled “Moving to Bach”, Malik’s work is a lucid, refined piece.

Washed in patterned beams of light (designed by Jason Flamos) on an open stage of exposed brick walls and metallic light booms, the dancers are precise and well-informed. Set to Johannes Sebastian Bach’s Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1, the dancers move with clarity against a palate of difficult to count strings, creating a melody out of the challenging music. Dancer Clare Pevel stood out for her elongated balances and steady command of the core.

The dancers were dressed in a mix of key lime mesh and forest green leotards and biketards designed by Janessa Cornell Urwin, the greens adding to the fresh nature of the piece.

Malik weaves in generous preparations for the partnering moments, allowing the dancers breath, space, and deep plies. It’s a subtle addition of an attentive artist; whether he does so consciously or not, the dance and dancers benefit from it. While there were moments of wonderful intricacy, arms carving through each other, a repeated elbow pointed outward, hands orbiting a dancer’s head, these baroque junctures were often accompanied by little to no additional movement, allowing them to shine. Harking back on these movements, Malik gives the piece an anchor, threading a cohesive line throughout.

In the middle of the program was Quan’s “Circadia”, a textured contemporary piece set to a mix of 1950’s songs, an eerie whistling tune, and commissioned music.

The stage opens on a group of eight while a single dancer runs dramatically in slow motion, accompanied by deep, bellowing beats. Consider my attention piqued.

What follows is a cascade of funky movements; raised shoulders, shimmies, cocky struts, and tiny, demi-pointe shuffles across the stage.

Most notable is Quan’s use of the head; operating as another limb, the crown of the head rolls in circles or initiates an entire movement, the body merely following suit because it must.

Acting like an outsider of the group, Ryoko Tanaka dances with exactness in both the more laborious moves and the lighter ones. Erika Reenstierna-Cates and Jonathan Montepara dance with full commitment when they join up for a playful pas de deux, continuously falling atop one another.

Quan has many ideas, at times overlapping, which led to a piece that felt like many pieces rather than one singular message.

Closing the evening was Davison’s Fleetwood Mac inspired piece, “Time Within a Time”.

Set to six numbers from the band’s repertoire, the work had a jukebox feel to it. The least intricate costumes of the program, the wardrobe (monotone pedestrian outfits) became a backdrop to the dancing, music, and lighting.

Davison starts the piece with a slow walk on for dancer Jonathan Carter and then a break in the fourth wall as he looks at the audience, inviting us in. Later, Carter shows great technical skill in a demanding solo and then dramatic pause when the group gently hoist him up as if to say “we are here”.

Davison’s movements are festive and warm; soft knees and open palm gestures echo the folk-rock essence of the tunes. Particularly beautiful was a quick, repeated moment: bodies braided in a line of curved arms, only to unfold in a canon as soon as the braid was complete.

Later she creates a labyrinthine celestial knot with her eight dancers, weaving them in and out of each other in an elevated square dance. Moments like these are peppered amongst uncomplicated steps like simple skips or suspended stag jumps.

Would I say it is a happy piece? Yes. Would I say it is purely joy? No. There are morsels of sadness dotted throughout which get extinguished by a bright run or friendly lift. In doing so, Davison carves a space of merriment and delight for the dancers.

With no shortness of talent and a desire for the fresh and new, American Repertory Ballet is a gem of a dance company and just a short train ride away from the city.

Featured Photo of  Annie Johnson and Andrea Marini in Claire Davison’s Time Within A Time by Rosalie O’Connor Photography

American Repertory Ballet Presents MOVIN’ + GROOVIN’

BroadwayWorld.com

American Repertory Ballet celebrates its spring season finale at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, June 3rd – 5th, 2022, with Movin’ + Groovin’, featuring world premieres by three of today’s most exciting and innovative choreographers.

American Repertory Ballet is committed to fostering the presentation of diverse makers, movements and modalities in ballet and dance,” says Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel. “Movin’ + Groovin’ celebrates these ideas by commissioning three choreographers who are fresh and entering into a pivotal time in their careers. Their singular vocabularies and backgrounds will create an exhilarating evening of dance.”

The program features: Claire Davison’s Time Within A Time, set to the music of Fleetwood Mac; Ja’ Malik’s Moving to Bach, set to Bach’s Sonata for Violin Solo No.1; and a new work by Caili Quan, inspired by an eclectic music mix ranging from Boban Marković Orchestra to Gabriella Smith’s Carrot Revolution performed by the Aizuri Quartet.

Inspired by six songs from the legendary band Fleetwood Mac, Time Within Time reflects on recent years and how it might feel to return to a place, such as a theater, studio, workplace – or to each other. It is also a celebration! “We are happy to be together again,” says Claire Davison. “I am thrilled to be returning to ARB as the dancers are a dream to work with: talented, eager, passionate, and willing to play. And, the music of Fleetwood Mac is unbeatable.”

Davison currently dances with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Her choreographic credits include One of Us (2019) for Boulder Ballet and Por Ti for Kaatsbaan Cultural Park’s 2021 Summer Festival. In 2021, Davison was also the selected choreographer for New York Theatre Ballet’s Lift Lab. She participated in ABT’s 2022 Incubator program and created a one-woman show, Crash Test Dummy, for which she received the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus First of May award.

Newly appointed Artistic Director of Madison Ballet, Ja’ Malik, has been called a “choreographer to watch” by The New York Times. Describing his piece Moving to Bach, Malik says he was “inspired by both the dancers of ARB and Bach’s beautiful Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1. This new work for five dancers will create an ever evolving world of exhilarating physicality in both a direct relation and counter relation to the rhythmically serene and sometimes explosive score by Bach.

Malik previously danced with North Carolina Dance Theater (now Charlotte Ballet), BalletX, Ballet Hispanico, in addition to working with Camille A. Brown (For Colored…at The Public Theater), Juel D. Lane, and College Dance Collective among others. With a deep connection to music, Malik’s choreography draws on his own personal life experiences as well as the world around him to create physically emotional works that allow both dancers and audiences to experience a connection through the language of movement.

Caili Quan is a New York-based choreographer and a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School. Her new piece for ARB is inspired by how the body is affected during sleep. “Sleep gives us a place to recover, but it is also where our minds choose memories to keep. It also allows us space to reminisce and dream,” she says. “The music for the work is an eclectic mix that made me want to move, but also felt like a soundtrack to our dreams.”

Quan danced and choreographed for BalletX, and has created works for The Juilliard School, Nashville Ballet, and others. Her short documentary called Mahålang weaves familial conversations of her Chamorro Filipino upbringing on Guam with scenes from BalletX’s Love Letter, and was shown at the Hawai’i International Film Festival, CAAMFest, and the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center. She will be an artist in residence at the 2022 Vail Dance Festival.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at https://secure.nbpac.org/movinandgroovin


The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center is located at 11 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. The venue can be reached by car or New Jersey Transit, and has ample parking in its attached parking deck.

Beginning March 1, 2022, all patrons attending a performance at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC) must show proof of vaccination, including a booster if eligible. If not vaccinated, you must present a Negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance date.

A Midsummer Makeover

Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy on a new Midsummer Night’s Dream at American Repertory Ballet

Fjord Review

Ethan Stiefel thinks the world could use some laughter right now. “My mantra as of late has been that love and laughter can prevail,” says the former American Ballet Theatre star, who took the reins of the Princeton, New Jersey-based American Repertory Ballet last summer. “I felt that coming out of the pandemic it would be great to have a new ballet that really exudes laughter and joy.”

Enter Stiefel’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” his first full-length work for ARB, set to the rarely-heard Erich Wolfgang Korngold score. Stiefel’s reimagining, which premieres this weekend at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, doubles down on the whimsy of the Shakespearian comedy. (And not just in the ballet itself: Pre-show activities on opening night include a petting zoo and a fairy face painting station.)

Though the production is family-friendly, it’s too sophisticated to be just a kids show. The source of some of that sophistication: Luminous ABT principal Gillian Murphy, who is married to Stiefel, and who will dance the role of Oberon in several performances. Yes, Oberon, King of the Fairies, a role typically played by male virtuosos from Edward Villella to Stiefel himself. In Stiefel’s version, a more vulnerable but no less virtuosic Oberon is a woman, and is instead the leader of the elves. I spoke to Stiefel and Murphy about adapting the character to be a woman, the ballet’s unique score, and their vision for ARB.

For the full article, visit Fjord

Fairies, elves and a live donkey: New ‘Dream’ ballet has something for everyone

Home News Tribune

When you go to the ballet, you probably do not expect to see a petting zoo.

But that’s exactly what you’ll find at the opening night of American Repertory Ballet’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (There’s even a donkey!)

And that kind of family-friendly offering is exactly what new ARB artistic director Ethan Stiefel is aiming for.

His new interpretation of the Shakespeare classic, which he conceived and choreographed, is about 70 minutes long, making it perfect for audiences of all ages, he said. It will have its world premiere from April 1 to 3 at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.

“It’s an interactive experience, as well as a theatrical show,” he said.

The show is set to Felix Mendelssohn’s iconic score, with additional music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is Stiefel’s first full-length ballet for the company since he was named artistic director last summer. It will be performed in collaboration with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Bean.

“The ballet is going to really follow and stay true to the essence of the Shakespeare story, but at the same time I’ve put a little bit of a twist into it,” he said.

Oberon will be played by a woman, and Stiefel has added elves to the story.

“There’s a team elf and a team fairy,” he said. “Oberon in many legends or lore means ruler or leader of the elves. And so Oberon will actually have elves and Titania will have her fairies, which is, I think, going to be a cool and fun source of amusing conflict.”

He said that conflict will draw audience participation, and there will be other ways to show team pride, including themed merchandise.

ARB artistic associate and American Ballet Theatre principal ballerina Gillian Murphy, Stiefel’s wife, will dance the role of Oberon. The rest of the cast includes the entire ARB company and trainees from the Princeton Ballet School.

Stiefel stressed the importance of making ballet, and this production specifically, appeal to all.

“Arts is the source of inspiration and an elevation of spirit,” he said.

For the full article, visit the Home News Tribune

BWW Interview: Ethan Stiefel-Artistic Director of American Repertory Ballet and MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at NBPAC

Broadway World

American Repertory Ballet (ARB) will present the world premiere of Ethan Stiefel‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from April 1 to April 3 at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC). This is his first full-length ballet for the company since being named Artistic Director in the summer of 2021. Stiefel’s magical production for audiences of all ages will be performed in collaboration with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Bean.

Set to Felix Mendelssohn‘s iconic score with additional music written for film by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the enchanting production will transport audiences to a fantastical forest filled with fairies, elves, mischief, romance, joy and love. ARB’s Artistic Associate and American Ballet Theatre principal ballerina Gillian Murphy will dance the role of Oberon, leader of the elves.

Family-friendly activities inspired by the production will take place all weekend. On April 1, from 3:00-5:00 p.m., American Repertory Ballet will partner with the Arts Institute of Middlesex County with A Midsummer Night’s Dream themed programming as part of the Arts Institute’s First Fridays at Monument Square Park in New Brunswick. Children of all ages can enjoy a petting zoo, fairy and elf hand painting, a beginner ballet class offered by Princeton Ballet School and DANCE POWER, giveaways, and more. The Arts Institute’s First Fridays attendees will also experience fantastic art in the making with spoken word poetry, courtesy of Basement Shakes, live mural installation by New Brunswick Public Schools Art Teacher Danielle Fleming and the Art Club students, and a papermaking workshop, featuring lines of poetry from the ballet.

Children can also enjoy elf, fairy, and donkey themed face-painting in the lobby of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 2nd and Sunday April 3rd, to further enhance the performance experience.

Broadwayworld had the pleasure of interviewing Ethan Stiefel about his career, the ARB and the upcoming performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream at NBPAC.

Ethan Stiefel is an internationally renowned Dancer, Instructor, Coach, Director, and Choreographer. He is currently the Principal Guest Instructor at American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Stiefel was the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) from 2011-2014. Just prior to being appointed the RNZB’s Artistic Director, Stiefel served as Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).

Stiefel began his professional career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He was also a Principal Dancer with Ballett Zürich and joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1997. Stiefel gave his final performance with ABT in July 2012.

Can you tell us a little about your early training as a dancer?

I began my training in Madison, WI, at the Monona Academy of Dance when I was about nine. My sister Erin was interested in ballet and started lessons first. I wasn’t interested in ballet really, but my mom wouldn’t leave me at home alone because I was an active kid and was breaking furniture and stuff while playing sports in the house. After about 2 years in Monona, my sister and I studied at The Milwaukee Ballet School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the School of American Ballet. At the age of 16, I was offered a contract with the New York City Ballet.

Is there someone in particular who has influenced your career?

My amazing parents, my incredible wife Gillian, every dancer I shared the stage with, and are you ready for this… my motorcycles.

What advice would you like to give young people aspiring to a career in dance?

Listen and learn from others, but always stay true to yourself and your own artistic ideas.

How have your experiences as a dancer complemented your talent as a choreographer?

I was fortunate enough to have danced with so many companies on different continents and to have danced a very large and diverse amount of repertoire and styles both on stage and on film. These experiences, coupled with the fact that I have always sought to be my own artist, give my work unique, authentic, and entertaining perspectives. I like to think that my work has an “accessible sophistication” that can be enjoyed whether you are a balletomane or a casual theater patron.

Tell us a little about the challenges of your role as Artistic Director of ARB.

The biggest challenge is navigating the fact that you won’t please all people all the time.

We are excited about the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by ARB at NBPAC. What would you like audiences to know?

I guess I would like audiences to know that it is presented in an engaging 65-70-minute format and will be a distinctively magical and entertaining production for all ages. A production that keeps true to the essence of the Shakespeare tale, yet I believe presents many original ideas and fresh perspectives in both the staging, designs, and the choreography. I really love that we will also have fun activities for kids throughout the run like elf and fairy face painting and a real live donkey visiting us on the opening night!

Can you share with us some of your plans for the future of American Repertory Ballet?

Plans include a continuing investment in new productions and new voices and an ongoing commitment to fostering the presentation of diverse makers, movement, and modalities in ballet and dance. Essentially creating a culture and identity that is exclusively ARB, with the purpose of promoting inclusion, inspiration, and involvement.

Anything else, absolutely anything you’d like BWW NJ readers to know?

With the state of the world being what it is, I think it is important to believe, and ARB’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream truly supports this idea, that love, and laughter does prevail.