Joffrey Ballet Announces Winners of the Choreographers of Color Award
CHICAGO (November 5, 2013) - The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, is pleased to announce the winners of the third annual Choreographers of Color Award: Justin Allen, Stefanie Batten Bland and Norbert De La Cruz III. This announcement follows a national call for artists to submit applications, which began in July.
The Choreographers of Color Award was created to recognize promising young minority choreographers whose diverse perspective will ignite creativity in the field of dance. Each of the three selected choreographers will be given a minimum of 30 rehearsal hours to set a new work on the Joffrey Academy Trainees. Each winning choreographer will also receive a $2,500 stipend and an opportunity to work directly with Joffrey Academy Artistic Directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. The three World Premieres will be presented in Winning Works:Choreographers of Color Awards 2014 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, in one performance only, Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm.
Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director, Ashley Wheater stated: "Gesture and movement likely preceded speech as the first form of human communication. Even now, though we have developed languages as diverse as the people who populate the earth, dance remains a 'universal' language. People from all backgrounds dance, and communicate, without sharing words. Dance is a powerful bridge. With Choreographers of Color, we celebrate all that is different and all that is universal amongst us."
Stefanie Batten Bland, from New York City, adds to Mary Batten and Ed Bland's artistic legacy of liertature and music with her own layer of dance. She has been recognized as a 2010-12 Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist in Residence and a Jerome Robbins "NEW Fellow," and a 2011-12 Cambridge Who's Who of Professionals and Entrepreneurs. Bland has danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Pal Frenak, Georges Momboye, Pina Bausch Tanz Theater Wuppertal, Lar Lubovitch, Julie Taymor and Angelin Preljocaj, among others. She created Company Stefanie Batten Bland in 2008 in France so that she might better investigate the human condition and our relationship within the natural world. Her works are based in dance, with a strong instillation component which allows futuristic worlds to take place in space and time. The troupe has performed live and via dance cinema, throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the States. Bland has also set pieces on Ailey ll, Danceland of Singapore, Zenon Dance Company of Minneapolis and is currently guest choreographer for Transitions Dance Company of London.
Justin Allen was born in Baltimore, Maryland and began his dance training at the Baltimore School for the Arts. In 2004, he began his training at The Rock School for Dance Education and completed his education in the Rock Academics Program Alliance. From 2004 to 2008, he spent his summers training with the Miami City Ballet School. In 2008, Allen received his first opportunity to dance as a professional guest artist with The Dayton Ballet, which led to him receiving his first professional contract. In 2009, he joined The Ballet Theatre of Maryland where he performed as a soloist and in 2010 he became full time faculty and a choreographer at The Rock School.