Ethan Stiefel's Wood Work, photo by Eduardo Patino
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- American Repertory Ballet (ARB) announces the opening of its spellbinding 2023-24 season - “Elevate” - at the state-of-the-art New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), October 13-15. The program features world premieres by celebrated choreographers Stephanie Martinez and Meredith Rainey, along with the return of ARB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel’s rousing Wood Work, set to modern renditions of Nordic folk tunes by the Danish String Quartet. Plus, Stiefel will create a new solo set to “If I Could Only Fly” by American singer-songwriter and poet Blaze Foley.
Award-winning artist Stephanie Martinez will present a new creation in which she “explores and discusses how we never truly understand our desires, but the effort is necessary to attain happiness.” Her versatility pushes the boundaries of contemporary ballet movement so much that the Chicago Tribune dubbed her “a chameleon,” of choreography. Martinez’s psychologically revelatory works challenge the viewer’s notion of what is possible.
Philadelphia-based choreographer Meredith Rainey says his work “leaves space for audiences to make connections to their own personal experience and draw their own conclusions.” For his world premiere ballet titled Intrare Forma, Rainey partners with up-and-coming composer Miranda Scripp, who is currently studying composition at New York University. Scripp’s mother, Beatrice Jona Affron, is the music director and conductor for Philadelphia Ballet where Rainey was a soloist dancer. “Meredith has known me my whole life,” explains Scripp. “He has taken interest in my music, and he approached me for this commission. From the beginning, Meredith made it clear that he wanted this project to be a collaboration.” For this piece, Scripp has written music for string octet (four violins, two violas, and two cellos).
Ethan Stiefel, ARB’s Artistic Director, will present Wood Work, a poignant and moving piece that celebrates individuality and the power of human connection. About this piece, US 1 newspaper states: “Stiefel interweaves his quirky movements with standard phrases of classical ballet.”
Tickets start at $25. Group sale discounts are available. For tickets, visit arballet.org or call the NBPAC box office at (732) 745-8000. “Elevate” will be performed at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC):
Don’t miss this unforgettable program of dance that promises to elevate and inspire! Performances take place Friday, October 13 at 7:00pm; Saturday, October 14 at 2:00pm & 7:00pm; and Sunday, October 15 at 2:00pm.
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.
The new work by Stephanie Martinez for “Elevate” is a co-production between American Repertory Ballet and Madison Ballet.
“ELEVATE” CREATIVE TEAM
Chicago-based Stephanie Martinez (Choreographer) 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 for 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. Martinez is the founder and artistic director of PARA.MAR Dance Theatre in Chicago, IL established in July 2020. (photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)
Meredith Rainey (Choreographer) 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. 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). Rainey has been commissioned to create works for Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet X, 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 more artistic projects that are artistic, Rainey 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)
Miranda Scripp (Composer) is currently getting her Bachelor of Music at New York University, studying Music Theory and Composition with a concentration in Screen Scoring. Previously, she studied composition privately with John McDonald and Howard Frazin. She is also a multi-instrumentalist, having studied piano with Jonathan Bass and violin with Kelly Barr at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division. Currently, she studies piano privately with Dr. Brandt Fredriksen. Scripp is an avid chamber musician and spent seven summers at Greenwood Music Camp, where she played piano, violin, and viola, and composed music for the camp. Equally dedicated to composing and performing, Scripp has been a member of the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Programs and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and has performed in Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall, and New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. (photo credit: Paul Mardy Photography)
Ethan Stiefel (Artistic Director and Choreographer) 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 Photography)
Led by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, and with a distinctive reputation for innovation and individuality, American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is recognized as one of the state’s premier performing arts organizations. 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.