American Ballet Theatre Partners with Columbia University for ABT's "Innovation Initiative"

 

Lauren Post and Luis Ribagorda in ABT's 2010 Innovation Initiative performance.
(Photo by Gene Schiavone)

 

American Ballet Theatre’s Innovation Initiative is a two-week choreographic workshop that supports emerging choreographers within ABT’s ranks. This year, the Initiative has partnered with the Arts Initiative at Columbia University to provide Columbia students with a chance to take an in-depth look at the professional choreographic process. ABT dancers Gemma Bond, Claire Davison and Daniel Mantei have been selected as this year's choreographers. ABT has also invited Pam Tanowitz and Jillian Peña to create new work on the company. It's the first time outside choreographers have been included in the program. 

Leading up to the program’s final, public performance—which will take place on November 16 at Columbia’s Miller Theatre—students will have a chance to attend company performances at the David H. Koch Theater, observe Innovation Initiative rehearsals and participate in a master class let by an ABT dancer.

This win-win partnership will allow ABT to continue offering its choreographic program to company dancers, while simultaneously bringing ballet to a university that—while famous for its academics—has not historically prioritized dance. Ideally the partnership will help foster a passion for dance within a new group of audience members.

For tickets to the November 16 performance, click here.

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks