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ABT short films

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From the company:



Celebrating the creativity of ABT dancers, American Ballet Theatre presents Moving Stories: An ABT Film Festival.  Presented over two nights, Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 at 7:00pm ET, Moving Stories features eight short films created by ABT artists.  The films, varying from three to 11 minutes in length, will be available for viewing on ABT’s YouTube Channel.  Four films will premiere each evening, followed by roundtable conversations with the filmmakers. The hour-long programs are hosted by ABT Principal Dancer Misty Copeland and Emmy Award-winning producer Leyla Fayyaz (Life in Motion Productions).


Filmmakers contributing to the Company’s first-ever film festival include current ABT dancers Claire Davison (Dans Tes Rêve), Zhong-Jing Fang(Perception), Erica Lall (The Thread of Navigation), Duncan Lyle (Alone Together), Jose Sebastian (Sillage), Eric Tamm (Le Tré Cortegé), Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside (Swan Lake), and former ABT dancer Alexandre Hammoudi (Transonata).  All films were created in May and June 2020, as dancers sheltered in place and maintained strict COVID-19 health and safety precautions.


Moving Stories is a testament to the creativity and innovation of ABT’s dancers,” said ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.  “While the Company cannot deliver epic stories on majestic stages, ABT’s dancers are telling intimate stories on screens large and small.  Moving Stories is a tribute to the ‘Theatre’ aspect of our Company name.  We look forward to sharing this exciting new content with the world.”


Produced and edited by creative director Henry Evans and Zipline Media, Moving Stories: An ABT Film Festival will benefit the ABT Crisis Relief Fund.  Viewers will be able to donate to the fund directly through ABT’s YouTube channel while watching the event.  The ABT Crisis Relief Fund provides ongoing assistance to ABT’s artists – dancers, production crew, rehearsal pianists, artistic staff and education faculty – during the COVID-19 health crisis.

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As a longstanding patron of dance, fashion icon Gabrielle Chanel was a symbol of innovation, having catalyzed artistic connections across disciplines throughout her career  a distinctly modern approach that was embraced by Karl Lagerfeld and carried on today by Virginie Viard. In a new collaboration, American Ballet Theatre partners with CHANEL to launch Pas de Deux, a limited documentary series exploring the intersection of dance and other diverse art forms. Premiering Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 7:00PM EDT on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel and IGTV, ABT dancers and pioneering creators in art, music, food, and film come together to discuss their unique approaches and their shared inspirations.

Produced by Oscar®-winning Little Monster Films, each Pas de Deux episode sets the stage for two artists to delve into each other’s process and craft in intimate 15-minute conversations that culminate in new artistic creations. Created by ABT Soloist Gabe Stone Shayer, Pas de Deux takes viewers into the homes and workspaces of each dancer and collaborator, allowing these diverse creators the opportunity to connect virtually for an exchange of ideas.

Pas de Deux is inspired by one of those nights in New York City where you meet interesting people who inspire you,” said Shayer. “The idea first hit me when thinking about how I could continue to create in quarantine. I wanted to highlight the innovation that is magnified by an artist feeling stifled.
I’m obsessed with multimedia collaborations and felt this was the moment where we could explore the intersection of art and artists.”

“Dance as an art form has always inspired me,” said director Chai Vasarhelyi, head of Little Monster Films. “Whether our subjects are climbing vertical cliff faces or choreographing a ballet, we are inspired by movement, ambition, and creation. I have long been a fan of the ballet and having this opportunity to collaborate with some of the world's best dancers alongside other iconic artists and creators has been so fulfilling for me. By connecting these great artists, we aim to transcend individual

performance to create something entirely new.”

Creative pairings include:

  • ABT Principal Dancer Isabella Boylston with master chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson

  • ABT Principal Dancer Cassandra Trenary with Kat Sullivan, Artist in Residence at RLAB, New

    York City’s virtual and augmented reality lab

  • ABT Soloist Luciana Paris with visual artist Chloe Wise

  • Pas de Deux creator and ABT Soloist Shayer with Grammy Award®-winning singer, songwriter

    and actor Alicia Keys. Additional dance footage for this episode was directed and filmed by

    Pierce Jackson.
    View 30-second trailer for 
    Pas De Deux HERE.

    Artists appearing in Pas de Deux include:

    Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide. He has won multiple James Beard Foundation awards for his work as a chef and as host of No Passport Required, his public television series with Vox/Eater. Samuelsson was crowned champion of Top Chef Masters and Chopped All Stars, and was the guest chef for President Obama’s first state dinner. A committed philanthropist, Samuelsson is co-chair of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), which focuses on underserved youth. Author of several cookbooks, in addition to the New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef, Samuelsson also co-produces the annual Harlem EatUp! festival, which celebrates the food, art, and culture of Harlem. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Samuelsson converted his restaurants Red Rooster Harlem, Marcus B&P in Newark, and Red Rooster Overtown in Miami into community kitchens in partnership with World Central Kitchen, serving well over 200,000 meals to those in need. His podcast titled This Moment with Swedish rapper Timbuktu is out now. His newest cookbook, The Rise, was released this fall.

    Kat Sullivan is a Brooklyn based artist, technologist, and educator. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Dance at Skidmore College, and worked as a software engineer and a freelance dancer in the Boston area. While earning her masters degree at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP), she developed a practice around creative coding, live performance, machine learning, motion capture, and other emerging technologies. Sullivan has presented works at Lincoln Center, National Sawdust, SXSW, and the Liberty Science Center, and was selected for residencies by Yale, Pioneer Works, RLab, and Ponderosa Dance. She has lectured at Brown University, Complutense University of Madrid, and The Center for Ballet and the Arts, and is currently an adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and Tisch School of the Arts.


Artist Chloe Wise was born in Montreal, Quebec. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art and art history from Concordia University in 2013. Her work spans diverse media, including painting, sculpture, video, and installation. Wise is now based in New York, where she creates paintings and objects rooted in societal critique and self-deprecating humor. Her work has been featured in 10 solo gallery exhibitions, including shows in Geneva, Paris, London, and New York.

Alicia Keys is a modern-day Renaissance womana 15-time Grammy Award®-winning artist/songwriter/musician/producer, an accomplished actress, a New York Times best-selling author, a film/television and Broadway producer, an entrepreneur, and a powerful force in the world of activism. Since the release of her monumental 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, Keys has sold over 65 million records and built an unparalleled repertoire of hits and accomplishments. Keys’ seventh studio album ALICIA was released in September 2020 to critical acclaim, topping Billboard’s Top R&B Albums Chart. The first single, “Show Me Love,” earned Keys a record-extending 11th number 1 on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs airplay chart, and her follow-up hit single, “Underdog,” went number 1 on the overall iTunes chart and became the most added song at Top 40 radio in the U.S. upon its release. Keys released her new book, More Myself: A Journey, on March 31, 2020 via Flatiron Books, which debuted and spent multiple weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Born in Sun Valley, Idaho, Isabella Boylston began dancing at the age of three. While training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, she won the gold medal in 2001 at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. In 2002, she began training at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, on a full scholarship. She joined ABT Studio Company in 2005, the main Company as an apprentice in May 2006, and the corps de ballet in March 2007. She was promoted to Soloist in June 2011 and to Principal Dancer in August 2014. She won the 2009 Princess Grace Award and was nominated for the 2010 Prix Benois de la Danse. She received the Clive Barnes Award in 2011 and the Annenberg Fellowship in 2014. She has appeared as a guest artist with the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg and the Royal Danish Ballet.

Cassandra Trenary, a native of Georgia, began her dance training at Lawrenceville School of Ballet. She joined the school's company, Southern Ballet Theatre, in 2006 under the direction of Phyllis Allen and went on to receive additional training at Southeast Regional Ballet Association conventions and Brookwood High School’s Dance department. Trenary trained at American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive programs as a National Training Scholar and went on to join the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in 2009. She performed with ABT II (now ABT Studio Company) in 2011, joined the main Company as an apprentice in April of that year, and the corps de ballet in November. She was promoted to Soloist in August 2015 and appointed a Principal Dancer in September 2020. She was named a 2011 National YoungArts Foundation Winner and became a 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts nominee. She is the recipient of a 2015 Princess Grace Dance Honorarium and the 2017 Annenberg Fellowship for Dance.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Luciana Paris began her ballet training at the age of seven with Elena Perez. From 19911996 she studied at the Colon Theater Superior de Art Institute. She won a Gold Medal at the Latin American Dance Competition in 1995. In 1996, Paris was invited to join Ballet Camara and tour with the company in Argentina. She then joined the Teatro Colon Ballet as a soloist. In December 1996, she joined Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino as a principal dancer and became Bocca’s dance partner, touring nationally and internationally. She joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in October 2001 and was appointed a Soloist in August 2015. In 2008, she performed Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite at the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2012, American Ballet Theatre designated Paris as a Certified Teacher.

Gabe Stone Shayer is a talented Soloist with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), known for his creative ability and desire to break barriers in the world of art and beyond. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shayer fell in love with dance at the age of three. At age 11, he began his formal training with Alexei Boitsov and Natalia Cherov and at age 14, Shayer began training at The Rock School for Dance. Shayer has received numerous awards and placed in several competitions, including the Grand Prix Award at the 2010 Youth America Grand Prix, finalist at the New York International Competition and the Clive Barnes Award for Dance in 2016. In 2009, he traveled to Moscow to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Program where he won First Place for Best Male Dancer. He continued his studies at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow under the tutelage of Ilya Kuznetsov. In 2011 he became the first African American male to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in its nearly 250-year history. He joined ABT Studio Company in September 2011, the main Company as an apprentice in April 2012, and the corps de ballet in November 2012. Shayer was appointed Soloist with ABT in September 2020. As founder of Creative Genesis and the creative director of Pas de Deux, he continues to break creative boundaries on and off the stage.


Pierce Jackson was born in New York City. He has been directing films based on, and inspired by, dance for the last seven years. He has collaborated with brands and institutions including Kenneth Cole, LVMH, MoMA, The Whitney Museum, The Shed, and PERFORMA as well as publications such as Vogue, Interview Magazine, Paper Magazine, The New York Times, Visionaire, and Pin-Up Magazine to develop stories in fashion, culture, and the arts. Since 2014, along with his wife Dianna Mesion, Jackson has worked with the esteemed Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to create promotional material and content for their live performance-to-cinema series campaigns.

Little Monster Films is the production company of Oscar®-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (FREE SOLO, MERU), who have made some of the most critically and commercially successful documentaries of the last decade. Little Monster strives to tell stories that are meditations on curiosity, ingenuity, creativity, perseverance, and ultimately the human spirit.

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More on YouTube:



The Ritual, created by American Ballet Theatre Soloist Gabe Stone Shayer, will premiere on Sunday, December 13 at 7:30 P.M., as part of Lincoln Center at Home (#LincolnCenterAtHome). Filmed on the Lincoln Center campus in September of this year, The Ritual is performed by Shayer and ABT Principal Dancer Cassandra Trenary. The work will premiere digitally on Lincoln Center at Home and American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel.

Set to Góða Tungl recorded by Samaris, The Ritual represents the last movement of a larger work Shayer choreographed over the summer of 2020. Describing the work, he explained, “The Ritual represents human discovery. Performing at Lincoln Center in a different capacity was a manifestation of how we all need to find a new way to move forward. It was sort of an exploration of a familiar place that we often call home.”

The Ritual, created and filmed under strict COVID-19 safety protocols, is part of Lincoln Center at Home, activating Lincoln Center’s outdoor campus with small-scale performances, arts and civic engagements, and more.

For more information on American Ballet Theatre, please visit www.abt.org. For more information on Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, please visit www.LincolnCenter.org.


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A unique collaboration between ABT Studio Company and the Collective Conservatory, an immersive online music-making initiative, will premiere on Wednesday, December 16 at 6 P.M. ET on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel and @ABTStudioCo IGTV.

Visceral Harmonies was choreographed remotely by Amy Hall Garner in August 2020, as she created movement for 13 dancers of ABT Studio Company. The work is set to music composed by Steven Hackman and students from the Collective Conservatory. The composition was performed and recorded remotely by 100 students from the Peabody Institute’s “Tuned In” program and Harmony Project of Los Angeles, Tulsa, and Phoenix. A preview of Visceral Harmonies is available here.

Visceral Harmonies is Garner’s second work for ABT Studio Company following Escapades, commissioned and created in 2019. The new work was created and rehearsed over Zoom with Studio Company dancers filming the movements from their home studios or outdoor locations. Visceral Harmonies was edited and synced by ABT Studio Company alumna Hanna Bass.

ABT Studio Company dancers appearing in Visceral Harmonies participated from their home locations in the United States, South Korea, and the Philippines. Student musicians performing with the Collective Conservatory, under founder and artistic director Daniel Trahey, were recruited from across the country.

"Visceral Harmonies is a work celebrating the future of the arts,” said Amy Hall Garner. “ABT Studio Company and the Collective Conservatory came together during an extraordinary moment in time to further the kinship of music and dance. The entire creative vocabulary was built directly from descriptive dialogue. It was an honor to be involved in this relationship and interpret both languages developed exclusively through the gift of technology. Blending together these young artists in this way, and especially at this time, is something I am definitely proud of."

“We were overjoyed when ABT was interested in our progressive idea of students composing 

music for Studio Company,” said Daniel Trahey, founder and artistic director of the Collective Conservatory. “The music we composed is themed around movement and dance. To partner with ABT Studio Company to help lift, elevate, and accentuate the importance of youth’s voices has been a dream come true for the students.”

“What I valued most about participating in Visceral Harmonies was the uniqueness and vision of the collaborative process, as laid out by Dan Trahey and the Collective Conservatory, Amy Hall Garner, and ABT Studio Company,” said Steven Hackman, composer and cultural ambassador for the Collective Conservatory. “It was a process which kept at its core, the mission of exploring the creative voice of the many young musicians involved. Assisting in bringing those students’ musical ideas to life, seeing how those ideas inspired Amy's choreography, and finally, witnessing the exquisite dancing of ABT Studio Company, was a wonderful journey.”

Under the artistic direction of Sascha Radetsky, ABT Studio Company is a classical ensemble of 15 dancers, aged 17-21, with outstanding potential. ABT Studio Company seeks to develop the next generation of ballet dancers, choreographers, and audiences and serves as a crucial transition from ballet student to professional performer. 80% of current American Ballet Theatre dancers are alumni of ABT Studio Company.

The Collective Conservatory is an online initiative to facilitate meaningful, active, and immersive music-making experiences for communities, inspired by the philosophy of nurturing and inspiring the whole person. The Collective Conservatory works with students from across the world, specifically from underrepresented and underserved communities. Experienced teaching artists work alongside professional musicians and other cultural ambassadors to curate dynamic offerings, addressing community needs for social connectivity, wellness, creative expression, and independent learning.

For more information on ABT Studio Company and American Ballet Theatre, please visit www.abt.org. For more information on the Collective Conservatory, please visit www.collectiveconservatory.com.

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Rhye. Photo: Emma Marie Jenkinson.

Sonya Tayeh. Photo: Shervin Lainez.

In a unique collaboration, American Ballet Theatre and National Sawdust, the non-profit Brooklyn-based music venue, have joined forces to present the World Premiere of
What Becomes of Love?, a dance film choreographed and directed by Sonya Tayeh and set to music by Rhye (Mike Milosh). What Becomes of Love? will be co-hosted by American Ballet Theatre and National Sawdust on Facebook on Thursday, March 4 at 6 P.M. ET.

What Becomes of Love? is ABT’s first collaboration with Tayeh, the Tony Award®-nominated choreographer and director whose most recent credits include Moulin Rouge! and Sing Street for Broadway. Tayeh’s new work, created in November 2020 in a “ballet bubble” in Silver Bay, New York, features ABT dancers Cory Stearns, Zimmi Coker, Courtney Lavine, Jose Sebastian, Ingrid Thoms, and Joseph Markey.

What Becomes of Love? also marks Tayeh’s first collaboration with Rhye, whose recorded tracks, Dark, Awake, and Outro, provide a medley of vocals alongside piano, synthesizer, and violin instrumentation.

"What Becomes of Love? is a dance film that explores the mystery of love in all forms,” said (more)



Tayeh. How to hold onto it, what the fall feels like, what the first drop of it does to the mind, the body, and the soul. Love, to me, is an unguarded mystery filled with sensuality, wonder, and trickery all at the same time. Exploring the dance with ABT dancers was a process filled with such intimacy and courage. They hold a depth inside of movement that is thick and refined. It was a gift to watch them push themselves into such a vulnerable, raw place.”

Speaking of the collaboration, ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie commented: “Sonya exposed our dancers to an entirely new way of approaching creation, with intimacy and trust informing the aesthetic and vocabulary.”

A conversation with Sonya Tayeh, Rhye, Courtney Lavine, and Ingrid Thoms will immediately follow the performance. See trailer for What Becomes of Love on Vimeo.

What Becomes of Love? is produced in conjunction with American Ballet Theatre, National Sawdust, Sharing Spaces Productions, and MATTE PROJECTS.

For more information on American Ballet Theatre, please visit: www.abt.org

Commissions and presentations of new work by women choreographers are supported by the ABT Women’s Movement. Champion support for the ABT Women’s Movement is provided by Jenna Segal. Additional leadership support provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

ABT’s Choreographic Innovation and Inspiration and Inclusion programs are generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Additional major support of ABT’s Innovation and Inclusion programs is provided by Mark Casey and Carrie Gaiser Casey, the Ford Foundation, and through an endowed gift from the Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Special thanks to Denise Littlefield Sobel for her leadership gifts to: ABT's Media Fund, advancing the Company's digital endeavors; and ABT RISE, fueling the Company's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


American Ballet Theatre recognizes with deepest gratitude the dedication and dynamism of the ABT RISE

Advisory Council, co-chaired by ABT Trustees David Rabkin and Shari Siadat. The Council's championship

of ABT RISE strengthens diversity, equity, and inclusion at American Ballet Theatre.

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