Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 12:00 pm
We’re continuing the series with a special American Ballet Theatre “takeover” day on Wednesday, May 13. Throughout the day, in collaboration with choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland, pre-professional dancers from ABT’s Studio Company will post movement reflections on Duke Performances’ Instagram account. Then, at 7 PM EDT, ABT Soloist Skylar Brandt will offer an all-levels ballet barre class through Instagram Live and Facebook Live.
We’re encouraging our viewers to give to two important fundraising efforts organized by local arts organizations — the Durham Arts Council’s Arts Recovery Fund and NorthStar Church of the Arts’ Durham Artist Relief Fund — to directly support the Durham arts community. Stefanie also asks that folks consider supporting the Actors Fund, and ABT asks that donations go to the ABT Crisis Relief Fund. (These funds are not associated with Duke University.)
A Jerome Robbins awardee, Stefanie Batten Bland‘s interdisciplinary practice interrogates contemporary and historical culture and situates the work at the intersection of installation and dance-theatre. Based in New York City, she founded Company SBB in France in 2008 when she was head choreographer at Paris Opera Comique. In permanent residence at University Settlement, the Company is regularly produced by La MaMa Experimental Theater, which co-presented her new work “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner” for FIAF’s 2019 Crossing the Line Festival. She has been commissioned by Ailey II, Spoleto Italy, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Singapore Frontier Danceland, Brooklyn Museum and others globally. She also makes dance cinema films that have been shown internationally and creates for fashion and lifestyle partners including Louis Vuitton, VanCleef & Arpels and Hermes. Known for her unique movement aesthetic, she served as movement director for “Eve’s Song” at the Public Theater. An inaugural Women’s Movement Initiative Choreographer for ABT, she recently set work on Gibney Dance Company and choreographed for Juilliard New Dances. A 2019 fellow for New York University’s Center for the Ballet Arts, Stefanie has been featured in global media including New York Times, Marie Claire, TV 5 Monde and Dance Teacher Magazine. She received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College and lives in SoHo with her family, where she grew up as the daughter of artists.
American Ballet Theatre Studio Company seeks to develop the next generation of ballet dancers, choreographers and audiences. The central mission of ABT Studio Company is to prepare its twelve exceptionally promising dancers (ages 16-20) for careers in American Ballet Theatre’s main Company or other leading ballet companies worldwide. ABT Studio Company serves as the crucial vehicle for transitioning from student to professional performer. Nearly 80% of current American Ballet Theatre dancers are alumni of ABT Studio Company, including nine Principal Dancers and thirteen Soloists. Each season, ABT Studio Company commissions emerging and/or established choreographers to create new works on Studio Company dancers, serving as a platform for new choreography. ABT Studio Company engages the broadest possible ballet audience by performing classical, neoclassical and contemporary repertoire in a range of venues around the globe.
Skylar Brandt was born in Purchase, New York and began her training at the age of six with teachers Diana White and Christian Claessens at Scarsdale Ballet Studio. She also studied with Valentina Kozlova, Fabrice Herrault, and Susan Jaffe. She attended the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre from 2005-2009 under the direction of Franco De Vita. Brandt spent five summers at ABT’s New York Summer Intensive, was a National Training Scholar from 2006-2009 and also received the Bender Foundation Scholarship in 2009. Brandt was a silver medalist at Youth America Grand Prix in 2004 and 2008. As a student, Brandt was invited to dance for the Antony Tudor Centennial Celebration at the Juilliard School. In 2007, she choreographed and performed in a DVD for Capezio’s national campaign. Brandt joined ABT II (now ABT Studio Company) in 2009 where her repertoire included Medora in Le Corsaire, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and leading roles in works by Aszure Barton’s, Jodie Gates, Edwaard Liang and Jessica Lang. She also danced George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Jerome Robbins’ Interplay.
Brandt became an apprentice with the main Company in November 2010 and joined the corps de ballet in June 2011. She was appointed a Soloist in August 2015. Her roles with the Company include Polyhymnia in Apollo, Gamzatti and a Shade in La Bayadére, the Fairy Spring in Cinderella, Medora and an Odalisque in Le Corsaire, Lycenion in Daphnis and Chloe, a Flower Girl and Amour in Don Quixote, Maiden in Firebird, Lead Can Can in Gaîté Parisienne, Giselle and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, Golden Cockerel in The Golden Cockerel, Young Girl in The Green Table, Columbine in Harlequinade, Young Jane in Jane Eyre, the Canteen Keeper, the Chinese Dance and one of the Nutcracker’s Sisters in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, Carnival Dancer in Othello, Olga in Onegin, Younger Sister in Pillar of Fire, Princess Florine in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Some Assembly Required, the pas de trois, the Hungarian Princess and a little swan in Swan Lake, a Goat in Sylvia, Princess Praline in Whipped Cream, leading roles in AFTERITE, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Garden Blue, Piano Concerto #1, Symphonic Variations and Thirteen Diversions and featured roles in Bach Partita, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, Gong, In the Upper Room, Raymonda Divertissements and Sinfonietta. She created a Consort in Ghost Catcher, The Swallow in The Seasons, the Fairy Canari qui chante (Canary) in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, a leading role in Her Notes and featured roles in AfterEffect, After You and Praedicere.
Brandt has performed in several international galas. Brandt was awarded a 2013 Princess Grace Foundation-USA Dance Fellowship. That same year, she was featured in the film Ballet’s Greatest Hits. In 2018, Brandt was the recipient of an unprecedented Special Jury Award for her performances on the Russian television show “Big Ballet.”
Presented by Duke Performances, Duke Arts & WXDU.