Ms. Abrera is from South Pasadena, California, and began her ballet studies at the age of five. After winning the Gold Medal of the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition (fka Adeline Genee Awards) and performing on the Bolshoi stage at the Prix de Lausanne, she joined the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in 1996 at the age of seventeen. In 2001 she was appointed to Soloist, and then to Principal Dancer in 2015. During her 24 years as a ballerina with ABT, her repertoire included leading roles such as Aurora, Cinderella, Giselle, Juliet, and Tatiana, as well as in works by Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, William Forsythe, Martha Graham, Jiri Kylian, Jessica Lang, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Lar Lubovitch, Cathy Marston, Benjamin Millepied, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, and Christopher Wheeldon. She created several roles at ABT in ballets choreographed by luminaries such as Mark Morris, Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp, and Paul Taylor.
In June 2020, Ms. Abrera retired as a dancer with ABT and was appointed Artistic Director of Kaatsbaan Cultural Park.
As a repetiteur of Alexei Ratmansky’s work, she has been invited to the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as to ABT and ABT Studio Company. And she continues to teach ABT and ABT Studio Company classes on a regular basis. Previously, Ms. Abrera was the Associate Director of the summer Kaatsbaan Ballet Intensive and spearheaded Pro-Studio, a coaching program for professional ballet dancers in the formative initial years of their careers.
Ms. Abrera’s charity work includes founding Steps Forward for the Philippines, an organization that partnered with Operation USA to rebuild an elementary school in the wake of 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan. She cofounded Artists for Aveni, to benefit the Aveni Foundation’s mission to cure cancer. She also curated and danced in a series of galas in Manila in 2018 and 2019 to benefit the gifted yet economically disadvantaged Filipino children of CENTEX elementary schools in the Philippines, which resulted in the building of the Stella Abrera Dance and Music Hall in Batangas. She was also a frequent performer in galas for Dancers Responding to Aids and Dance Against Cancer.
She studied at Long Island University, Harvard University “Crossover into Business” program, and participated in the 2020 DanceEast Rural Retreat.
Ms. Abrera’s awards and nominations include:
Benois de la Danse Nomination for The Sleeping Beauty | 2017
New York State Assembly recognition for service to the community | 2017
Woman of the Year recognition from the Philippine Consulate General in New York | 2016
California State Senate recognition for contributions to the performing arts | 2015
Gold Medal, R.A.D.’s Adeline Genee Awards | 1995