Interview: Ethan Stiefel Q&A

Monday 4 July 2011

Ethan Stiefel. Photo: Rosalie O'Connor The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) will be performing their triple bill From Here to There at the Barbican Theatre in July 2011.
These performances mark the company’s first appearance in the UK since the appointment of Ethan Stiefel as new Artistic Director, currently a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

We caught up with Ethan as he prepares for the company’s visit to London….

Are you moving full-time to Wellington/New Zealand (from September 2011) or will you still spend some time in the USA, each year?
I am moving full-time to Wellington, but there might be some moments where I return to the U.S. during the course of a year.

Will you still continue to dance after taking up the new job?
I am not sure. I am not retired and still love performing, but I will have to wait and see how things unfold. Just taking it all step by step.

Are there any roles that you haven’t danced that you still covet?
I am rather content with my overall career and the roles I have had the opportunity to have danced.

Have you started to develop your vision for the RNZB?
To a certain extent, one begins developing ideas, from the moment one is appointed to lead a company. I believe that I will infuse a fresh approach and new energy to many parts of the RNZB. I also sense that I need time to learn more about the RNZB, on a number of levels, as that will inform what the plan and vision ultimately becomes.

City of London Festival 2011. Royal New Zealand Ballet, 14-16 July, Barbican. Photo: Maarten Holl The company has a great repertoire, combining work by indigenous choeographers, the classic ballets and work by the best neoclassical choreographers of the 20th Century (notably Balanchine and MacMillan) and also more recent work by some of the most sought-after choreographers at work today in both classical (Morris, Hampson, Dawson) and contemporary (Baldwin, De Frutos) idioms. Will you keep this balance or is your vision to move more in one particular direction?
One reason I was attracted to the RNZB, was because of its broad repertoire. I will also aim to provide diverse programming that presents both the dancers and the audiences with different and engaging experiences. Additionally, I would like provide our company with some truly unique stagings and new creations, that will give us our own special and personal identity.

Will you be combining your passion for teaching and coaching dancers and students with the artistic direction of the company?
Absolutely. This is one of the areas I am most excited about- being in the studio with the dancers.

Do you enjoy visiting London? Any plans for things you’ll do when you are here with the company?
I do enjoy London very much and had the privilege of spending a great deal of time there, whilst guesting with The Royal Ballet, for four years. Honestly, I think I will primarily be spending my time with the company, holding auditions, attending meetings and receptions, conducting interviews and seeing performances. This upcoming trip is all about the RNZB.

Royal New Zealand Ballet perform From Here to There on 14-16 July at the Barbican.
Box office: 0845 120 7550. Tickets: £16-£32
“Information and online booking”:

Video clip of “From Here to There”:

Part of – City of London Festival 2011

_Photo credits: _
Top – Ethan Stiefel, by Rosalie O’Connor
Below – Royal New Zealand Ballet in From Here to There
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__*Interview: Graham Watts*

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