Who Run the World? ABT’s Outstanding Female Choreographers

Photo by Reuben Radding, courtesy of Bland

American Ballet Theatre artistic director Kevin McKenzie has announced the formation of the ABT Women's Movement, a multiyear initiative to support the creation of new works by female choreographers. ABT's fall performance program will feature new work by Jessica Lang and tapper Michelle Dorrance, and Le Jeune, by New York City Ballet's Lauren Lovette. Along with Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, which has long been part of ABT's repertoire, the ABT Studio Company will premiere a new work by choreographer Claudia Schreier.

"I am proud to be a part of this initiative," says Lang. "If we can ignite all imaginations to find creative potential, we can move from possible to probable that the future will have equality and be rich with inventive ideas and engaging art."

DT spoke with Stefanie Batten Bland, whose new work will be featured in ABT Studio Company's annual residency at Duke University in January.

Dance Teacher: What does it mean to you to be a part of the ABT Women's Movement?

Stefanie Batten Bland: We are being considered makers, and it's really about the work. I'm so aware of how the women's movement has come back. I just happen to be a part of this iteration of it. This movement has repeated itself because we haven't gotten it right yet. Maybe we will finally get to the point where we have equality. I'm honored to be alongside these women.

DT: Dance Magazine wrote an article questioning ABT's plan to provide female choreographers with "guidance and feedback," arguing they would never say that to a male choreographer. What are your thoughts on this?

SBB: For the types of grants and funding that I generally go for, feedback is a very natural part of the process. I am not finding gender bias in that. No one is able to participate in any type of residency without getting feedback from a mentor. Creating requires dialogue.

Rachel Neville, courtesy DTH

A new three-summer collaboration between Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Dance Theatre of Harlem will contribute to conversations on race, activism and equity in the arts, while also exploring creative projects and learning opportunities.

Kicking off the partnership in June, DTH focused on the development of The Hazel Scott Project, a new work by choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher. Scott was a Black piano virtuoso and Hollywood trailblazer who risked her life and career through outspoken civil rights activism. In the spirit of her example, Monica White Ndounou, associate professor of theater, and John Heginbotham, director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble, co-taught a summer theater course that challenged students to create dance as a tool for social change.

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Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

Studio owners who've been in the recital game for a while have likely seen thousands of dance costumes pass through their hands.

But with the hustle and bustle of recital time, we don't always stop to think about where exactly those costumes are coming from, or how they are made.

If we want our costumes to be of the same high quality as our dancing—and for our costume-buying process to be as seamless as possible—it helps to take the time to learn a bit more about those costumes and the companies making them.

We talked to the team at A Wish Come True—who makes all their costumes at their factory in Bristol, Pennsylvania—to get an inside look at what really goes into making a costume, from conception to stage.

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Teaching Tips
Courtesy Jill Randall

Fall may be fast-approaching, but it's never too late to slip in a little summer reading—especially if it'll make you all the more prepared for the perhaps crazier-than-usual season ahead.

Here are six new releases to enrich your coming school year:

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