Stiefel and Murphy: Plans for New Zealand

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In today's links there's a great interview/article in the NYT by Gia Kourlas on Ethan Stiefel (mainly) and Gillian Murphy's plans for New Zealand:


Highlights are:

  • Johann Kobborg encouraged him to apply for the job
  • Murphy will dance with and coach for the company
  • Stella Abrera will guest in his first production, "The Sleeping Beauty"
  • He'll choreograph or stage at least one production a year, and his first will be "Giselle" with co-stager Johann Kobborg
  • "Along with more Balanchine ballets, he is also eager to introduce works by Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp. "

Stiefel also said he would "reassess" his physical shape, one of the reasons he cancelled his spring ABT performances, to see if he could dance, but directing was his first priority.

Last year the company season began at the end of February and ran to June, with a tour in July. "Sleeping Beauty" is part of the "Meridian Season", which runs November-December. The beginning of the regular season is a good fit for Murphy for the ABT season, and depending on what ABT's plans are for the Fall, the Meridian season might work, too, since "The Nutcracker" is already choreographed.

Ashton -- yes! I wonder in which cities Abrera will dance; the company will perform the work in six cities in addition to Auckland, and has secured an alternate venue, the CBS Arena, in Christchurch for a mixed bill that includes excerpts from "The Sleeping Beauty".

“I see my job as not only building the art and the company but building the identity of dance in New Zealand, which is an opportunity,” [stiefel] said. “You don’t always have that. Other places are established, and know how they want to do it.”

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He's eager to branch out. For the scenic design of "Giselle," Mr. Stiefel is inspired by ... the idea of exploring the psychological makeup of characters like Myrtha, the implacable Queen of the Wiles. "Why is Myrtha the way she is?" he asked. "We're going to try to explore things like that."

:wallbash: Oy!

Giselle isn't a Tudor ballet. This is the kind of thinking that bogged down the Kirkland-Chernow-McKenzie Sleeping Beauty. While it may help some dancers to have fully fleshed-out backstories, the audience doesn't need these things spelled out for them. This is ballet. It is about conveying essence, not minute narrative details.

Anyway, I do wish him and NZB both a happy and fruitful association :flowers: , and I look forward to hearing about it.

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I'll help with the kitty :>

Yes, I could also do foster home for kitty. I recently lost both of my own so there's room! And I have a blue bedspread (a' la the NY Times photo), so Selah would feel right at home!

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