American Repertory Ballet returns to Kaye Playhouse in New York City with Elevate, an innovative program of cutting-edge ballet and contemporary works.
The program includes: Intrare Forma by Philadelphia-based choreographer Meredith Rainey, featuring music commissioned by up-and-coming composer Miranda Scripp; Sight Line by choreographer Amy Seiwert featuring the haunting melodies of Romania’s beloved Maria Tânase, and the anticipated return of Ethan Stiefel’s rousing Wood Work, set to modern renditions of Nordic folk tunes by the Danish String Quartet.
Location: The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College | New York, NY
Meredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. In 1985, he became the first African American dancer of the Milwaukee Ballet. In 1987, he was invited to join the newly formed Pennsylvania-Milwaukee Ballet, when the collaboration ended, he remained with the Pennsylvania Ballet for 17 years—much of that time as a soloist—until his retirement in 2006. Among other awards and fellowships, Rainey has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship (1995 & 2002), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant (2001), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2002), a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2003), and a Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant (2010). He has been commissioned to create works for Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet De Cali, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, and institutions such as The University of the Arts, Drexel University, Stockton University, Georgian Court University, Goucher College, Swarthmore College, and Bryn Mawr College. His work has been performed in North and South America and throughout Spain. In 2009, Rainey founded and directed Carbon Dance Theatre, a contemporary ballet company in Philadelphia. In 2014 after deciding to concentrate on artistic projects, he closed the company and remained a sought-after teacher, mentor, and independent choreographer. In the fall of 2019, Rainey graduated with top honors as a member of the first cohort of candidates for the Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of the Arts. (Photo credit: Portia Jones)
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. Named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, her first full evening of choreography was named one of the “Top 10” dance events of 2007 by the SF Chronicle. Other awards include a Bay Area IZZIE Award for Outstanding Choreography and a “Goldie” from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Her ballets have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kennedy Center, and the Joyce Theater in New York City. Seiwert’s ballets are in the repertory of BalletX, Smuin Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Austin, BalletMet, Washington, Atlanta, Oakland, Colorado, Louisville, Cincinnati, Carolina, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, and American Repertory Ballets as well as Imagery, ODC/Dance, and AXIS Dance. Ms. Seiwert will be joining Smuin Contemporary Ballet as Associate Artistic Director for the 23/24 Season.
Ethan Stiefel is an internationally recognized Instructor, Coach, Director and Choreographer. Stiefel became American Repertory Ballet’s Artistic Director in July, 2021. In 1989, Stiefel began his professional dance 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 the Royal New Zealand Ballet, The Washington Ballet, American Repertory 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. (Photo credit: Harald Schrader)