In February 2018, Duke Performances unveiled an audacious three-year collaboration with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), one of the world’s leading classical ballet companies. Through its expansive programming, international engagements, and distinctly American style, ABT has served a crucial ambassadorial role since 1939. At Duke, itself a longtime champion of contemporary dance, ABT’s wide-ranging partnership includes public performances, community engagement, monthly visits by master teachers from ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, and the development of one world premiere each year. To cap it all, in Spring 2020, ABT’s Main Company returns to North Carolina for the first time since 1969 for a weeklong run of Giselle at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
In January 2019, at the close of her two-week residency, award-winning choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland presents her work-in-progress with the American Ballet Theatre’s dozen-member Studio Company, the organization’s professional training program. A public conversation about making the work follows the showing. The performance takes place in the airy cantilevered dance cube at the Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke’s stunning new state-of-the-art performance venue that has helped make such programming possible. This robust partnership promises not only to enrich the cultural landscape of both campus and city, but also to extend the repertoire and reach of classical ballet by developing, producing, and performing world-class dance here in Durham.