Stefanie Batten Bland, Assistant Professor in Theatre and Dance, recently received a 2023 Creative Capital Award for the project Spaces (TBC). Creative Capital is a nonprofit, grantmaking organization with the mission to fund artists in the creation of groundbreaking new work, to amplify the impact of their work, and to foster sustainable artistic careers.
Creative Capital wrote: “Housed under the big top, Spaces (TBC) continues Stefanie Batten Bland’s work and research in historical human exhibition and spatial separation. A large-scale multidisciplinary work, Spaces will expand upon Company SBB’s immersive physical-theater practice and is based in observation, with audience as both onlookers and participants, nestled under the soft, penetrable walls of a tent. In our park, which can exist in both indoor and outdoor settings, choice and behavior center our shared stories of identity and the many journeys we make in a lifetime. This work examines human behaviors and the way different people navigate within changing spaces to reveal structural systems in which our individual identity biases are explored, struggled with, or maintained. The ordinary is the extraordinary as each soft, flowing material sectional is created to explore sociopolitical issues. Participants, grounded in free will, visit a series of scenes where physical, sonic, full worlds unfold—leading us to explore our own kinetic empathy toward self and our contemporary color narratives.”
3 times 2021 Bessie Nominated and Jerome Robbins awardee Stefanie Batten Bland is an interdisciplinary artist who situates her work at the intersection of dance-theatre, film, and installation, with a focus on the interrogation of contemporary and historical culture. She is a 2022 commissioned artist with Duke Performances in partnership with The Yard and Baryshnikov Arts Center, a 2021 Lincoln Center RESTART artist, a 2021 Toulmin Creator Fellow for the Center for Ballet Arts at NYU, and choreographer for American Ballet Theatre’s inaugural Women’s Movement Initiative.
Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, Batten Bland served as movement director for Eve’s Song at the Public Theater (Forbes 2018 Best Theatre), European Union at the United Nations, and is currently casting and movement director for Emursive Productions (producers of Sleep No More). She has created for fashion and lifestyle partners Louis Vuitton, VanCleef & Arpels, Hermés, and Guerlain. Her choreography is currently in active repertory at American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey II, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Transitions Dance Company in Greenwich, UK, and Frontier Danceland in Singapore. Her work has been seen internationally at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Danse à Lille in France, and Tanztendenzen in Germany.
Company SBB’s 2021 dance film Kolonial, produced by Baryshnikov Arts Center, was nominated for three Bessie Awards, including outstanding production, visual design, and costumes. Batten Bland has created 14 other dance cinema films that have been shown in international festivals in such places as South Africa, Buenos Aires, Greece, and Germany.
Batten Bland has been featured in The New York Times, T Magazine, Dance Europe, Marie Claire, The Brooklyn Rail, TV 5 Monde, and Dance Teacher Magazine.
A global artist, Batten Bland established her own company, Company SBB, in France in 2008 while head choreographer at the Paris Opéra Comique. Upon returning to New York City in 2011, she received the support of Mikhail Baryshnikov as a part of the esteemed residency program at Baryshnikov Arts Center, where she has continued to present work.