Works & Process at the Guggenheim presents The Washington Ballet: Julie Kent with Dana Genshaft and Ethan Stiefel
The Washington Ballet Artistic Director Julie Kent, a champion of new choreography, discusses newly commissioned works with choreographers Dana Genshaft and Ethan Stiefel and moderator Donya Archer Bommer. Company dancers including Victoria Arrea, Katherine Barkman, Kateryna Derechyna, Tamás Krizsa, Corey Landolt, Tamako Miyazaki, Andile Ndlovu, and Daniel Roberge perform exclusive highlights prior to their April 3rd premieres in Washington, D.C.
Leadership support for this Works & Process program provided by Monica B. Voldstad with additional support from Judith M. Hoffman and Howard S. Paley.
Lead funding for Works & Process is provided by The Florence Gould Foundation, The Christian Humann Foundation, Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Evelyn Sharp Foundation, with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The Washington Ballet (TWB) was founded as The Washington School of Ballet by Mary Day in 1944 and incorporated as a professional company in 1976. At the helm is internationally acclaimed ballerina Julie Kent. As The Washington Ballet's Artistic Director, Kent's mission is to bring world-class ballet to the Nation's Capital, continuing the tradition of classical ballet and contributing to the evolution of the art form through contemporary works and new commissions.
As the ballet company of the nation's capital, The Washington Ballet reflects the diversity of the community and the nation through its dancers and its repertoire. Kent has introduced into the repertoire seminal works by George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, Justin Peck and Alexei Ratmansky while embracing the work of emerging choreographers including Clifton Brown, Gemma Bond, and Ethan Stiefel, among others. Her commitment to the development of both the dancer and the art form is fulfilled through presentation of beloved classic 19th-century ballets and landmark 20th-century works while reaffirming a commitment to commissioned works that will contribute to the evolution of ballet and its relevance in our times.
TWB's three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its school, professional training programs, and Studio Company; and serving the community in which it resides through community engagement programs will continue to propel TWB to a more prominent place within the nation's capital and beyond.
Julie Kent, Artistic Director, has been at the helm of The Washington Ballet since July 2016 and was the longest serving ballerina in American Ballet Theatre's 80 year history. She began her dance training with Hortensia Fonseca at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet in Bethesda, MD and attended summer sessions at American Ballet Theatre II and the School of American Ballet before joining American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 1985. In that same year, Kent won first place in the regional finals of the National Society of Arts and Letters at the Kennedy Center. In 1986, she was the only American to win a medal at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition, and she became a member of ABT's corps de ballet.
Kent starred in the Herbert Ross film "Dancers" in 1987 opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov. She was appointed a Soloist with ABT in 1990 and a Principal Dancer in 1993, the year in which she won the Erik Bruhn Prize in Toronto and was named one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People". In April 2000, Kent won the "Prix Benois de la Danse" and is the only American woman ever to have won this prize. Later that year, Kent starred in the motion picture "Center Stage" directed by Nicholas Hytner. In 2012, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as well as a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Dance Magazine. Since 2014, she has been the Brand Ambassador for HANIA by Anya Cole, a luxury line of hand knit cashmere in New York City.
During Miss Kent's long performing career, she has acquired a vast repertoire dancing over 100 ballets, including all of the major classical, dramatic and neo-classical roles in works by Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, John Cranko, Anthony Tudor, Michel Fokine, Agnes DeMille, Merce Cunningham, José Limón, Jiří Kylián, Ronald Hynd, Ben Stevenson and Christopher Wheeldon. As well, she has had roles created on her by John Neumeier, Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, Nacho Duato, Stanton Welch, James Kudelka, Jorma Elo, David Parsons, Jessica Lang and Natalie Weir.
Her appearances as a guest include invitations from the Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro alla Scala, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, Australian Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Teatro Colon, Ballet de Santiago, and others.
In August of 2015, after a 30 year performing career, Kent was named Artistic Director of ABT's Summer Intensive, a comprehensive summer dance program for 1,400 students at 5 campuses across the U.S.
Kent is married to TWB Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee, and, as a mother of 2 children she has helped redefine the image of the American Ballerina.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Dana Genshaft trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet, School of American Ballet, and Paris Opéra Ballet School. She joined San Francisco Ballet in 2000, and remained there as a soloist until 2015. While at San Francisco Ballet she danced principal and soloist roles in numerous works by Val Caniparoli, Mark Morris, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Edward Liang, Helgi Tomasson, Christopher Wheeldon, Ashley Page, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Jorma Elo, Wayne Mcgregor, Yuri Possokhov, Jerome Robbins, Paul Taylor, Stanton Welch, and Alexi Ratmansky. Genshaft has performed as a guest artist at the Portland Ballet Gala and the Dance/USA Annual Conference and in Tiit Helimet's Estonia Project.
Her choreography has been seen on American Ballet Theater's Studio company as well as in numerous selections for the SF Dance Film Festival, including the music videos for George Harrison's "What is Life" and the Generational's "Say When." Her 2016 work "Portrait" for SFDW's Inaugural Season was nominated for an Isadora Duncan award for Best Design, and is currently being adapted into a short film.
Ethan Stiefel is an internationally renowned Dancer, Instructor, Coach, Director and Choreographer. Stiefel was the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 2011-2014. Just prior to being appointed the RNZB's Artistic Director, Stiefel served as Dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).
Stiefel began his professional career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He was also a Principal Dancer with the Zürich Ballet and joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1997. Stiefel gave his final performance with ABT in July 2012.
His repertoire of full-length works included Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Siegfried (Swan Lake), Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), James (La Sylphide), Albrecht (Giselle), Lescaut (Manon), Lenski (Onegin), Jeanne (Raymonda), Colas (La Fille Mal Gardée), Solor (La Bayadère), Oberon (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Prince (Cinderella) Cassio (Othello), Basil (Don Quixote), Franz (Coppélia), Conrad and the Slave (Le Corsaire). He appeared in a wide variety of shorter works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Michel Fokine, William Forsythe, Lar Lubovitch, Jiří Kylián, August Bournonville, Bob Fosse, Antony Tudor, Christopher Wheeldon, Eugene Loring, Peter Martins, Nacho Duato, Frederick Ashton, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Nils Christe, Susan Stroman, Mark Morris, and Christopher Wheeldon, among others.
Guest appearances include The Royal Ballet, The Mariinsky Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, Zürich Ballet, Bayerische Staatsballett, Hamburg Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Teatro Colon, New National Theatre (Tokyo), Kings of the Dance, and numerous tours in the United States, Japan, Russia and throughout Europe. Stiefel was invited to serve on the jury for the Paris Opera Ballet's 2014 annual promotion examination and was on the jury of the 2015 Prix de Lausanne. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco presented Stiefel with the Statue Award of the Princess Grace Foundation, the Foundation's highest honor, in October 1999. He received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award in December 2008.
Works & Process at the Guggenheim
Described by The New York Times as "an exceptional opportunity to understand something of the creative process," for over 34 years and in over 500 productions, New Yorkers have been able to see, hear, and meet the most acclaimed artists in the world, in an intimate setting unlike any other. Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, has championed new works and offered audiences unprecedented access to generations of leading creators and performers. Most performances take place in the Guggenheim's intimate Frank Lloyd Wright-designed 285-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater. In 2017, Works & Process established a new residency and commissioning program, inviting artists to create new works, made in and for the iconic Guggenheim rotunda.