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Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland to Present EMBARQUED: STORIES OF SOIL At Bates Dance Festival and BAM

Embarqued will also be presented as a gallery installation at the John Brown House in Akron, OH, where archival and research materials for the work will be on display.

Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland to Present EMBARQUED: STORIES OF SOIL At Bates Dance Festival and BAM

Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland's newest work, Embarqued: Stories of Soil, a dance-theatre work that interrogates existing relationships to memorials, will be presented at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME, July 23-24, and will have its New York premiere at BAM, November 1-5, as part of the 2022 Next Wave Festival.

Embarqued will also be presented as a gallery installation at the John Brown House in Akron, OH, where archival and research materials for the work will be on display. The installation will run from July 15 to September 3, and is organized in association with The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron in partnership with the Summit County Historical Society of Akron.

Known for her bold, visually striking work, Stefanie Batten Bland's newest project, Embarqued: Stories of Soil, is an evening-length dance-theatre work based on the excavation of self and country, created in cloths, skin tones, labor, ship parts, and moving bodies. The work centers around a transformative ship mast that invites reflection of our shared history and interrogates our relationships with memorialization.

Inspired in part by the African American Heritage Trail on Martha's Vineyard-still a living, evolving memorial site-heroic stories of survival, loss, and resilience unfold through an integration of lighting, sound, textiles, and movement, each element complementing and adding to the rich layering of storytelling at the heart of the work. The lushly envisioned landscape connects people and places through a time continuum revealing postcolonial ghosts and mythologies that still hold sway today.

Conceived and choreographed by Stefanie Batten Bland, Embarqued features an original score by Paul Damien Hogan, scenic design by Emmanuel Bastien, costumes by Shane Ballard, dramaturgy by Guillame Segouin, and lighting design by Yuki Nakase Link. Embarqued is performed by five extraordinary dancers: Jamal Abrams, Emilie Camacho, Raphaël Kaney Duverger, Jennifer Payán, and Latra A. Wilson.

A multifaceted work, Embarqued: Stories of Soil exists in three formats: a theatrical staged work, an outdoor performance, and a gallery installation. Connecting the past with the present through reflection and engaged action, Company SBB's touring engagements include projects with local organizations inviting people in areas where the work is performed to participate in conversations and workshops.

Embarqued: Stories of Soil had its world premiere at Duke Performances in Durham, NC, in April 2022.

2022 Summer/Fall Schedule

Friday, July 15-Saturday, September 3

Gallery installation at The John Brown House, Akron, OH

Organized in association with The National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron in partnership with the Summit County Historical Society of Akron.

Saturday-Sunday, July 23-24, at 7:30pm

Performances at Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME

Outdoors at Simard-Payne Park

Tuesday-Saturday, November 1-5, at 7:30pm

Performances at BAM Fisher, Brooklyn, NY

Embarqued was commissioned by ArtYard and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The work has been created through critical research and creative residencies provided by ArtYard, Duke Performances at Duke University, and The Yard in Chilmark, MA, in partnership with the Martha's Vineyard Museum and the Martha's Vineyard African American Heritage Trail. Embarqued was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project has received additional support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation and New Music USA.

Child of a jazz composer/producer father and writer mother, and raised in SoHo when it was still led by artists, Stefanie Batten Bland was clearly destined for a future in the arts. A global artist, Batten Bland exhibits a unique blend of African American flamboyance and European sensibility. Her work is situated at the intersection of dance-theatre, film, and installation, with a focus on the interrogation of symbols in contemporary and historical culture. Undeterred by convention, the emotional content of Batten Bland's choreography is directly accessible, and its social and philosophical message is visceral.

Batten Bland established her company, Company SBB, in France in 2008 while positioned as head choreographer at the Paris Opéra Comique. Upon returning to New York City, she received the support of Mikhail Baryshnikov as a part of the esteemed residency program at Baryshnikov Arts Center, where she continues as resident artist. Before establishing her own company, Batten Bland danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Tanztheater Wüppertal Pina Bausch, Punchdrunk's Sleep No More, Hungarian choreographer Pal Frenák, and creator Georges Momboye of the Ivory Coast.

Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, Batten Bland served as movement director for Eve's Song at The Public Theater and is currently casting and movement director for Emursive Productions, as well as the performance and identity consultant for Emursive's Sleep No More. Batten Bland's work has been presented at Lincoln Center Restart Stages, The Yard at Martha's Vineyard, La MaMa Experimental Theater, Peak Performances at Montclair State University, and internationally at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Danse à Lille in France, and Tanztendenzen in Germany.

Batten Bland has created for fashion and lifestyle partners Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermès, and Guerlain. Her choreography is currently in active repertory at American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey II, Transitions Dance Company in the UK, and Frontier Danceland in Singapore. Batten Bland has created 14 dance cinema films that have been shown in international festivals in South Africa, Buenos Aires, Greece, and Germany. Her latest dance film, Kolonial, has received seven US and international film awards, and was nominated for three Bessie Awards.

In 2021, Batten Bland was awarded a New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project Production Grant for her work Embarqued: Stories of Soil, which premiered at Duke Performances in April 2022. Other awards include a Jerome Robbins Award, Bessie Schönberg Fellowship at The Yard, and Toulmin Creator Fellow at NYU Center for Ballet Arts. She has been featured in The New York Times, Dance Magazine, Marie Claire, and Dance Europe.

Batten Bland received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College and is currently an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University's Department of Theatre and Dance.

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