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David Hallberg to Direct ABT's New Choreography Initiative

Henry Leutwyler

Today, American Ballet Theatre announced a new initiative to foster the development of choreography by company members and freelance dancemakers. Aptly titled ABT Incubator, the program, directed by principal David Hallberg, will give selected choreographers the opportunity to spend two weeks workshopping new dances.

"It has always been my vision to establish a process-oriented hub to explore the directions ballet can forge now and in the future," said Hallberg in a press release from the company. Interested? Here's how you can apply to participate.


David Hallberg will direct ABT's new choreography initiative. Photo by Kate Longley, Courtesy The Australian Ballet.

The Application Process

Now through August 31, interested choreographers are invited to submit a proposal for a new work. (For full details on how to apply, click here.) A select group will then be invited to a September 18 audition.

The Audition

Who will chose the participating choreographers? The panel includes esteemed voices from ABT—Hallberg, artistic director Kevin McKenzie and artist in residence Alexei Ratmansky (no pressure)—plus choreographers Jessica Lang and Lar Lubovitch (both of whose work has been performed by the company) and Danspace Project executive director Judy Hussie-Taylor.

Alexei Ratmansky and the women of ABT. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT. Ratmansky in rehearsal at ABT. Photo by Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

The Workshop

Then, the chosen choreographers will get down to business: October 31 to November 10, they'll enjoy two concentrated weeks of creative time at ABT's Manhattan facilities. In addition to free studio space, they'll have access to dancers from ABT and the Studio Company, plus a stipend, additional collaborators, panel discussions and mentorships.

Then What?

According to a press release from the company, the Incubator "is committed to providing a focused lab to generate and inspire ideas for the creation of new work." Though it's unclear what exactly will happen to these works after a private studio showing on November 10, ABT Incubator is a promising step toward nurturing new choreographic talent.

We're crossing our fingers that it will grow to be as successful as New York City Ballet's affiliated New York Choreographic Institute, which helped opened the door for in-house names like Justin Peck and Lauren Lovette. Perhaps we'll see the work of one (or several) Incubator choreographers eventually onstage at ABT or danced by its Studio Company.

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