The Joyce Theater Foundation (Linda Shelton, Executive Director) is thrilled to welcome Dresden Semperoper Ballett to its Chelsea home for the German-based company's Joyce debut from October 31-November 4. Tickets, ranging in price from $10-$56, can be purchased at, by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800, or by visiting The Joyce Theater box office. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street. For more information, please visit

Founded in 1823, Dresden Semperoper Ballett has long been a center for German ballet and dance. Since 2006, Canadian-born Artistic Director Aaron S. Watkin has shaped the company's artistic profile with a vision known to break down the traditional borders between classical and contemporary dance. With works ranging from pure classical narratives to modern abstract works by some of today's hottest choreographic voices, Dresden Semperoper Ballett is comprised of an astonishing 60 dancers representing 23 different nationalities who perform over 80 times a year on the stages of Semperoper Opera House and on tour around the world.

For its Joyce debut, Dresden Semperoper Ballett will present a program of premieres featuring a select group of dancers from the company. The evening will begin with the U.S. premiere of dancer and choreographer David Dawson's 5. First seen as the wedding pas de cinq in his full-length Giselle, which he created for the company in 2013, 5 ignites a challenging dialogue between the traditionalism of Adolphe Adam's music and Dawson's unique choreographic style. The company will present the New York premiere of Mr. Dawson's On the Nature of Daylight, to the music of Max Richter, which centers on the timeless mystery of love and illustrates the more emotional side of Dawson's work. The company will also perform the U.S. premiere of Vertigo Maze by choreographer Stijn Celis. Set to Johann Sebastian Bach's Chaconne for Solo Violin and Four Voices, Vertigo Maze examines the ideals of freedom and how one finds harmony amidst the perpetual restrictions society places upon one. The program also includes the world premiere of Ganz leise kommt die Nach/The Night Falls Quietly from company dancer and choreographer Joseph Hernandez.

Performances of Dresden Semperoper Ballett will be October 31 - November 4 at The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street) according to the following schedule: Tuesday andWednesday at 7:30pm, and Thursday through Saturday at 8pm. There will be a post-performance Curtain Chat with Dresden Semperoper Ballett on Wednesday, November 1, which is open to all patrons attending that evening's performance. Tickets range in price from $10-$56 and can be purchased at, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street. For more information, please visit


Aaron S. Watkin (Artistic Director ) was born in Canada and graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada in 1988, winning the prestigious Erik Bruhn Award. Watkin enjoyed a full career in dance beginning with leading classical companies including National Ballet of Canada, English National Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. After seven years of the classical repertoire, he was invited by world renowned choreographer William Forsythe to become a Principal Dancer with Ballett Frankfurt. Watkin always admired the works of Nacho Duato and joined his company, the National Dance Company of Spain, in 2000. In June 2002 Watkin was appointed Associate Artistic Director to Victor Ullate Ballet. He was a personal choreographic assistant to William Forsythe, in charge of setting and rehearsing Mr Forsythe's ballets on dance companies throughout the world. Watkin was a guest teacher to many of Europe's leading dance companies and Artistic Associate Director of The Loft Dance Studio in Brussels, Belgium. Watkin was also Artistic Associate Director of the annual Dance For Life AIDS Benefit Galas at the Cirque Royal Theatre in Brussels, Belgium. Aaron S. Watkin was appointed Artistic Director of Dresden Semperoper Ballett in 2006. In 2007, he choreographed his first full-length ballet production, The Sleeping Beauty. Since then he has choreographed La Bayadère(2008), Swan Lake (2009), and The Nutcracker with Rector Jason Beechey (2011). He premiered his own creation of Don Quixote in 2016 at the Semperoper.

David Dawson (Choreographer ) is counted as one of the most important of his generation of dance-makers working in the classical ballet idiom today. Dawson, born in London, is one of today's most sought after choreographers. He has received numerous prestigious awards and nominations including the Prix Benois de la Danse Award-the Oscar of the ballet world-in 2002, the Choo San Goh Choreography Award in 2004, and Russia's highest theater prize, the Golden Mask Award in 2005-all as Best Choreographer. His personal choreographic style transforms classical ballet in new ways, and his signature works are highly atmospheric, emotionally physical, abstract/narrative pieces that have been acclaimed by critics and audiences worldwide. Dawson has created over 20 ballets internationally. His works have entered the repertoires of many of the world's leading ballet companies, and have been performed in more than 25 countries. Between 2004 and 2012, Dawson was named Resident Choreographer for the Dutch National Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet, and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Dawson currently lives in Berlin.

Stijn Celis (Choreographer ) trained at Stedelijk Instituut voor Ballet in Antwerp, Belgium. He danced at the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Zurich Ballet, ballet company of the Berne Municipal Theatre, Contemporary Dance Zurich, ballet company of Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, and at the Cullberg Ballet. After his career as a performer he went on to study stage design in Antwerp. Stijn Celis was Artistic Director of Bern Ballet in Bern, Switzerland from 2004 to 2007 before resuming his freelance career. Since 2014, he has been Artistic Director of the Saarland State Ballet in Saarbruecken, Germany, where he also began to direct operas and musicals. Stijn Celis has created pieces for companies such as Cullberg Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Royal Swedish Ballet, and Vancouver-based Ballet BC. Among his popular pieces are wie Schwanensee(2006), Gefährliche Liebschaften (2006), Le Sacre du printemps (2009), and Your Passion is Pure Joy to Me (2009). Dresden Semperoper Ballett performs his creations of Cinderella, Vertigo Maze, andNoces. In 2013, Celis created Romeo and Juliet and, one year later, Josephs Legende for Dresden Semperoper Ballett.

Joseph Hernandez (Choreographer ) was born in Fort Knox, KY in 1988. He began his dance training at the age of four while his family was living in Tacoma, Washington. The son of a military musician, Joseph lived in Heidelberg, Germany for much of his childhood. Upon returning to the U.S. as a teenager, he studied at the School of American Ballet before accepting his first job as a dancer with the New York City Ballet. He danced in New York for two years before moving to Texas to join Ballet Austin. In 2009, he decided to move back to Europe and danced for two seasons with The Royal Ballet of Flanders under Kathryn Bennetts. It was there that he created his first piece for the company´s 2010 Coupe Maison program. In 2012, he joined Les Ballets De Monte Carlo where he was awarded numerous choreographic opportunities by renowned director Jean Christophe Maillot. He is currently employed by Dresden Semperoper Ballett as a dancer and choreographer. His full length Orakel(Semperoper Ballett 2016), as well as his work for Les Ballets De Monte Carlo, Royal Ballet of Flanders (Coupe Maison workshop), and his freelance work that was presented at the prestigious Festspielhaus Hellerau has earned him critical acclaim.


Breaking down the borders of dance with an all-encompassing repertoire from the pure classical full-lengths to cutting edge modern productions with world-class artists, Dresden Semperoper Ballett has been setting new standards in the dance world under the directorship of Aaron S. Watkin since 2006, and in close collaboration with Rector Jason Beechey and the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden, the two institutions have created a vibrant apprentice program together to promote young talent. The reputation of the ensemble has been acknowledged on several occasions, most notably with the award of The Foundation for the Support of the Semperoper, as well as the German Theatre Award "Der Faust" for the creation of Cow by Alexander Ekman. Dresden Semperoper Ballett has enjoyed a multitude of international tours to some of the most renowned opera houses in the world including Paris, Barcelona, Houston, St. Petersburg, Abu Dhabi, Antwerp, Gothenburg, Nairobi, und Johannesburg, among others. Season 2017/18 will see a second visit to New York City at The Joyce Theater, as well as tours to Ottawa and London. Australia and Asia are in the works for the near future. The focus of Dresden Semperoper Ballett for the immediate future is to continue to build up its unique identity and send creative new impulses throughout the dance world!


The Joyce Theater Foundation ("The Joyce," Executive Director, Linda Shelton), a nonprofit organization, has proudly served the dance community for over three decades. Under the direction of founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation acquired and The Joyce renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea. Opening as The Joyce Theater in 1982, it was named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther's clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. Ownership was secured by The Joyce in 2015. The theater is one of the only theaters built by dancers for dance and has provided an intimate and elegant home for over 400 U.S.-based and international companies. The Joyce has also presented dance at Lincoln Center since 2012, and launched Joyce Unleashed in 2014 to feature emerging and experimental artists. To further support the creation of new work, The Joyce maintains longstanding commissioning and residency programs. Local students and teachers (K-12th grade) benefit from its school program, and family and adult audiences get closer to dance with access to artists. The Joyce's annual season of about 48 weeks of dance now includes over 340 performances for audiences in excess of 150,000.

Photo Credit: Costin Radu

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