Former American Ballet Theatre star Ethan Stiefel will choreograph a new work to complete The Washington Ballet's triple bill in late May. When we first heard about artistic director Julie Kent's 2017 programming, we wondered which choreographer would join the bill alongside Frederick Ashton's The Dream and Antony Tudor's Jardin aux Lilas.
The Washington Post reports that Stiefel's ballet will take inspiration from John F. Kennedy's investment in the U.S. space program and will feature a commissioned score by composer Adam Crystal. The ballet, with the working title Frontier, is set to coincide with the president's centennial.
Stiefel is probably best known to wider audiences for his silver screen role as Cooper Nielson in the 2000 film Center Stage, and for his behind-the-scenes work choreographing the ballet scenes in the Starz TV show "Flesh and Bone," starring Sarah Hay. But ballet fans know he also briefly served as artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, from 2011 to 2014, where he choreographed Bier Halle and staged Giselle with Johan Kobborg. He has also set work on ABT's Studio Company and the students at ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. This new production may offer American fans a chance to refamiliarize themselves with his stage choreography after stints abroad and on TV.