The Hartt School Announces Stephen Pier as Director of the Dance Division

By: Feb. 26, 2010
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The Hartt School, the comprehensive performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford, is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Pier as Director of the Dance Division. Pier has a distinguished career as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer with some of the world's finest companies and schools.

Pier, who recently served several months as Interim Director of Hartt's Dance Division, said of his appointment, "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue contributing to The Hartt School after what has already been a very welcoming start. I look forward to developing the many potentials of the Dance Division and its aspiring artists, as well as exploring the vast possibilities within the rest of The Hartt School, the University, and the community."

Stephen Pier has achieved a uniquely rich and varied career. His credits as a performer include many years with the Jose Limon Company, where the New York press hailed him as " of the most gifted dancers on the modern dance scene today." He went on to become a leading soloist with the Hamburg Ballet in Germany, performing the title roles in John Neumeier's "Othello" and "Saint Matthew's Passion," and creating numerous other major roles during his nine years with the company. As a member of the Royal Danish Ballet for six years, Mr. Pier had the privilege of dancing leading roles in works of Bournonville, Balanchine, MacMillan, and Bejart, and collaborating with many of Europe's finest contemporary choreographers.

Mr. Pier was invited to teach both the company and the school of the Royal Danish Ballet and served as ballet master for the company from 1992 to 1996. He has taught on the faculty of the Alvin Ailey School, the Martha Graham Center, Regional Dance America, New York International Ballet Competition, and for many notable companies in Europe, America, and Asia, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Bat Dor, Introdans, Scapino Ballet, Cedar Lake Dance Ensemble, and the New National Theater, Tokyo. He was on the faculty of The Juilliard School from 1996 until joining Hartt. His students have danced in companies around the world including The Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, Martha Graham Company, Lar Lubovitch Co., Mark Morris Dance Co., Doug Varone Dancers, Cullberg Ballet, Cedar Lake Ensemble, Alvin Ailey, and Bat Sheva.

In 2002 Mr. Pier began PierGroupDance ( to explore and collaborate with dancers and artists in various art forms. He has created more than 30 works for the concert stage, opera, theatre, and film. The Hamburg Ballet (Germany), Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Danish Theater, Royal Danish Opera, Bat Dor (Israel), The New National Theater (Japan), The Juilliard Dance Ensemble, The Di Capo Opera Company (New York City), Nilas Martins Dance Company, and the Dance on Film Festival at Lincoln Center all have presented his work. He was selected to be part of Jacob's Pillow Choreographer's Project in 1998. He co-founded and directed the emerging choreographer's workshop "Danses" at the Royal Danish Ballet from 1990 through 1996.

Pier was the Artistic Director of Juilliard's innovative Mentoring Program beginning in 2007, and in September 2008 he began a 3-year tenure as director of the new Visions and Voices: Altria/ABT Women's Choreography Project at American Ballet Theater. Pier plans to continue to lead and innovate at Hartt, as well. "The Dance Division is gaining recognition as one of the leading programs for the enrichment and education of professional track dance artists and I am eager to help the students and the School in defining that trajectory into the 21st century."

Hartt Dean, Aaron Flagg, expressed the excitement and anticipation shared by the entire Hartt community, saying, "In his short time with us, Stephen has energized the Hartt Dance Division, bringing access to masterworks and master artists, as well as an openness and collaborative spirit which will benefit the entire University of Hartford. His international stature in the ballet and modern dance worlds makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Division at this time and will prove invaluable as Hartt refines its identity as a college of performing arts."