Ethan Stiefel's Wood Work, photo by Eduardo Patino, NYC
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- American Repertory Ballet (ARB), under the leadership of Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, has unveiled its 2023-2024 season. A bold reflection of the company’s uniqueness, the upcoming season expands artistic boundaries and introduces exciting new dance and music.
“ARB's artists and programming together create exceptional experiences unlike the repertoire that others are presenting. We do this not simply to be different, but because this is how we as an organization believe that we can contribute to our communities and beyond, as well as towards the broader context of the art form,” says Stiefel. “We've placed an emphasis on showcasing new work and a dynamic range of talent while also exhibiting a true commitment to advancing classical ballet. Our 2023-2024 season will continue to further and freshly evolve both ourselves and our art.”
ELEVATE: A founding resident company of the state-of-the-art New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), American Repertory Ballet returns to its home venue October 13-15, 2023 with Elevate, an innovative program of three new-fashioned ballet and contemporary works. The program includes: a new creation by dance influencer and award winning artist Stephanie Martinez; a world premiere by Philadelphia-based choreographer Meredith Rainey, featuring new music commissioned by up-and-coming composer Miranda Scripp; and the anticipated return of Ethan Stiefel’s rousing and poignant Wood Work, set to modern renditions of Nordic folk tunes by the Danish String Quartet.
Photo by Leighton Chen
THE NUTCRACKER: After a record-breaking year, American Repertory Ballet’s time-honored holiday tradition - The Nutcracker - returns to delight audiences throughout New Jersey. For the first time in five years, ARB’s The Nutcracker will be on stage at Two River Theater in Red Bank, N.J. In addition, performances will be at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, and at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick. The Nutcracker holds a special place in the hearts of both new and longtime patrons, becoming synonymous with the holiday season. Its endearing story, Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score, and iconic choreography create a memorable experience for the whole family.
Performances of The Nutcracker take place November 24-26, 2023 at McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton; December 1-3, 2023 at Two River Theatre, Red Bank; December 9, 2023 at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, Trenton; and December 15-17, 2023 at State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick.
CLASSIC BEAUTY: This enchanting program at NBPAC, March 8-10, 2024 features excerpts from two crown jewels of the classical ballet repertoire: Swan Lake Act II and Sleeping Beauty Act III.
Swan Lake Act II takes audiences into the bewitching world of Odette, the swan princess, as she reveals her true form to Prince Siegfried. From the famous “Dance of 4 Little Swans” to the poignant and romantic pas de deux between Odette and the prince, this fairytale scene will leave audiences spellbound.
Sleeping Beauty Act III is a grand celebration of love and happiness, culminating in the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré. This act is a highlight of the ballet with its elegant and virtuosic divertissements that spotlight the technical skills and artistry of ARB dancers.
Ethan Stiefel's A Midsummer Night's Dream, photo by Rosalie O'Connor
A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT DREAM: The return of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a one-act ballet conceived and choreographed by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, will once again have audiences of all ages cheering, laughing out loud, and mesmerized by the ballet’s whimsy and stylish storytelling. Set to Felix Mendelssohn’s iconic score, with additional music arranged by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, this charming production promises to transport audiences to a fantastical forest filled with fairies, mischief, romance, and, of course, humor. Performances run May 10-12, 2024 at the NBPAC.
Tickets go on sale August 21, 2023 at www.arballet.org
ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHERS
Stephanie Martinez, photo by Todd Rosenberg
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)
Meredith Rainey, photo by Portia Jones
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)
Ethan Stiefel, photo by Harald Schrader
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)
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.