Meredith Rainey

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) 

Stephanie Martinez

Chicago-based choreographer, Stephanie Martinez, moves her audiences along a journey guided by the kinetic momentum of her award-winning works spanning over 12 years. With original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Bruce Wood Dance, Nashville Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, BalletX, and Milwaukee Ballet, among others. Theatre credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Martinez’s versatility expands the boundaries of contemporary ballet movement. Martinez has created over 70 ballets on companies and collegiate programs across the country. Martinez has received numerous grants for her work and is continually recognized for her work as a female artist of color. Dubbed “a chameleon” of choreography by the Chicago Tribune, Martinez’s psychologically revelatory works challenge the viewer’s notion of what is possible. Martinez is the founder and artistic director of PARA.MAR Dance Theatre in Chicago, IL established in July 2020. (Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)  

Arthur Mitchell


Arthur Mitchell (Choreographer, Holberg Suite) 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.

Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:
Holberg Suite

Amy Seiwert

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.

Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:
Sight Line
World, Interrupted

Ryoko Tanaka

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 ARB2. In 2018, she was promoted to ARB. Since joining the company, Tanaka has performed the principal roles of Giselle in Giselle, Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette in Swan Lake (for Princeton Ballet School). She has also performed featured roles in Ethan Stiefel’s Wood Work and Overture, as well as Paul Taylor’s Airs, Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June, Amy Seiwert’s World, Interrupted, Caili Quan’s Circadia, Ja Malik’s Moving to Bach and multiple other roles. She made her debut as a choreographer creating a new contemporary piece Saudade for ARB digital season in 2021.

Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:

Caili Quan

Caili Quan is a New York-based choreographer who danced with BalletX from 2013 to 2020. She has created works for BalletX, The Juilliard School, Nashville Ballet, Oakland Ballet Company, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, and Ballet Academy East. She served as an Artistic Partnership Initiative Fellow and a Toulmin Creator at The Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. With BalletX she performed new works by Matthew Neenan, Nicolo Fonte, Gabrielle Lamb, Penny Saunders, Trey McIntyre, and danced at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Vail Dance Festival, Belgrade Dance Festival, and DEMO by Damian Woetzel at the Kennedy Center. “Mahålang”, a short documentary that wove familial conversations of her Chamorro Filipino upbringing on Guam with scenes from BalletX’s Love Letter, was shown at the Hawai’i International Film Festival, CAAMFest, and the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center. Quan is a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School.

Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:

Johan Kobborg

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. (Photo by Morgan Norman)

Ethan Stiefel

Ethan Stiefel is an internationally recognized artist, educator and leader in the performing arts. He is currently Artistic Director for the American Repertory Ballet (ARB). Stiefel was the Principal Guest Instructor at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) from 2016-2021 and the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) from 2011-2014. Just before being appointed the RNZB’s Artistic Director, he served as Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) from 2007-2011.

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.

During his career, Stiefel performed leading roles in all of the full-length classics and danced in an extensive range of shorter works created by the industry’s foremost classical, modern and contemporary choreographers.

Guest appearances include The Royal Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Ballett Zürich, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Hamburg Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Teatro Colon, New National Theatre (Tokyo), Kings of the Dance and numerous tours in the United States, Japan, Russia and throughout Europe.

He starred in the feature film Center Stage and returned to play the role of Cooper Nielsen in Center Stage 2-Turn It Up and Center Stage: On Pointe. Stiefel’s television and video credits include The Dream, Le Corsaire, Die Fledermaus, Gossip Girl and the documentary, Born to be Wild.

As a Choreographer, Stiefel created a new staging of The Nutcracker for the UNCSA. He choreographed a one act comedic ballet, Bier Halle, and collaborated with Johan Kobborg on choreographing and producing a new production of Giselle for the RNZB. In 2013, Giselle was adapted into a feature film, directed by Toa Fraser, and was selected for screening in the NZ International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. Giselle was restaged and performed in 2015 at the Opera National Bucharest.

Additionally, Stiefel choreographed a new work for the top level of ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, Knightlife, which was performed at the Joyce Theater in New York in April 2016. He choreographed a collaborative work on the ABT Studio Company and the Royal Ballet School, See the Youth Advance!, which had its premiere at London’s Covent Garden, in May 2016. He created FRONTIER, a new ballet for The Washington Ballet which premiered at The Kennedy Center in May 2017. In the fall of 2018, Stiefel created Overture for the ABT Studio Company and subsequently he choreographed Wood Work for The Washington Ballet in April 2019.  In 2021 he choreographed Prine Time, a solo commissioned by the Guggenheim Works and Process Virtual Artists Series and Beneath the Surface, a short dance film for Northern Ballet Theatre (UK). Most recently, Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for American Repertory Ballet had its premiere at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in April 2022.

Stiefel was the Choreographer for Flesh and Bone, a 2015 limited edition television series for STARZ network.

He has been a guest teacher for many institutions including the Paris Opera Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, The Royal Ballet School, The Australian Ballet School, Norwegian National Ballet, Ballett Zürich, Ballet de Bordeaux, Opera National Bucharest, John Cranko Schule Stuttgart, Tanz Akademie Zürich, Berlin State Ballet School, Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and The School of American Ballet.

Stiefel was invited to serve on the jury for the Paris Opera Ballet’s 2014 annual promotion examination and was on the jury of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco presented Stiefel with the Statue Award of the Princess Grace Foundation, the Foundation’s highest honor, in October 1999. He received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award in December 2008.

Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Delibes Duet
Wood Work

Ja’ Malik

Ja’ Malik is a choreographer and the newly appointed Artistic Director of Madison Ballet. Noted as a “choreographer to watch“ by Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times, Malik is an evolving choreographer from New York City. Having previously danced with North Carolina Dance Theater (now Charlotte Ballet), BalletX, Ballet Hispanico in addition to working with Camille A. Brown (For Colored Girls… at the Public Theater), Juel D. Lane and Collage 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 allows both dancers and audiences to experience a connection through the language of movement. Having created works on Charlotte Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence and Houston Contemporary Dance Company among others. Malik is honored to create his first work on American Repertory Ballet. More info about Ja’ Malik can be found at

Works choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:
Moving to Bach

Claire Davison

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 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 a selected choreographer for New York Theatre Ballet’s Lift Lab. This year, she participated in ABT’s 2022 Incubator and created a one-woman show, Crash Test Dummy for which she received the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus’ “First of May” award.

Works choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:
Time Within a Time