Ethan Stiefel appointed Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet

One of the world’s most acclaimed dancers has been appointed Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Gillian Murphy will join him.

ONE of the world’s most acclaimed dancers has been appointed Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
 
Ethan Stiefel – currently a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and Dean of The School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts – will take up the position next year.
 
‘This is a huge coup for the RNZB,” said RNZB General Manager Amanda Skoog. “Ethan is one of the most talented dancers currently performing in the world, but on top of that, he’s a fantastic teacher and I have no doubt he will not only be an inspiring mentor but he will lead the RNZB to a new level of recognition and excellence.”
 
Stiefel, who is currently based in New York City and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said he is looking forward to building on the RNZB’s excellent reputation while at the same time “seeking to be a fresh, innovative and inspiring leader for the RNZB“.  
 
Born in Pennsylvania, Stiefel has a close affinity with New Zealand – his grandmother was born and raised in Christchurch and he has relatives in Invercargill and Manapouri.
 
Stiefel, whose dance repertoire features an extensive list of lead roles in both classical and contemporary ballet, began his dance training at the age of eight in Madison, Wisconsin. His early teachers included Paul Sutherland and Ted Kivitt. He continued his studies at Marcia Dale Weary’s Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He was awarded a full scholarship at the School of American Ballet, where he studied under Stanley Williams and then studied with Mikhail Baryshnikov at his School of Classical Ballet. Stiefel began his performing career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He was also a Principal Dancer with the Zürich Ballet and joined American Ballet Theatre as a Principal Dancer in 1997.
During his career, Stiefel has performed as guest dancer for some of the most renowned companies in the world including The Kirov Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and the New York City Ballet.
 
The 37 year old – who starred in the hit movies Centre Stage (directed by Nicholas Hytner) and Centre Stage 2, Turn it Up – will begin his role with the RNZB on 1 September after taking care of his existing commitments with ABT and the School he directs.
 
Stiefel said he and partner in life Gillian Murphy, also a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre, were looking forward to the new adventures his appointment would bring.
 
“I also look forward to connecting with my relatives living in New Zealand today and, being a sports enthusiast with Kiwi blood, to supporting the All Blacks!”, he said.
 
Stiefel was appointed after an extensive international recruitment process. “The calibre of applicants from both New Zealand and overseas was extremely high,” said RNZB Board Chair, Anne Blackburn. “Ethan shone through in all areas, impressing the interview panel with his vision for the RNZB and his commitment to the art of ballet.”
 
Both his background as a dancer and his experience as Dean of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts made him the ideal choice, Blackburn said.
 
“This is a very exciting time for the RNZB. Ethan has an outstanding reputation internationally and we are ecstatic he has accepted the position of Artistic Director.”

Ballet NEWs

Ethan Stiefel in Prodigal Son Photopraph : Roy Round

Ethan Stiefel – currently a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and Dean of The School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of Arts – will take up the position next year.

Ethan in his own words :

“I am enormously appreciative and enthusiastic about having been appointed the next Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Becoming RNZB’s Artistic Director provides me with an exceptional opportunity to professionally and personally evolve and to contribute to the art form I truly love. It is very encouraging to see how much the company has already achieved, the potential it possesses and how the nation embraces its national ballet company. I look forward to building on the company’s fine reputation, while seeking to be a fresh, innovative and inspiring new leader for the RNZB in any way I can. Both myself and my partner in life; American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer, Gillian Murphy, are ready for this new chapter in our lives and wholeheartedly make a commitment to the new adventures and prospects it holds. Finally, I also look forward to connecting with my relatives living in New Zealand today and, being a sports enthusiast with Kiwi blood, I’m also looking forward to supporting the All Blacks!”

 

Ballet NEWS

Ethan Stiefel Photograph : Rosalie O'Connor

My basic goals are to:

* Build upon the appreciation and pride many New Zealanders already have for their Ballet company and, in turn, use that momentum to further expand audience growth and interest, through continually enhancing the quality of our work and the new innovations we will seek to nurture and promote.

*Provide opportunities for New Zealand artists to share in and contribute to the success of the RNZB.

* Foster strong RNZB relationships within the population and with cultural, creative, political and business leaders on the local and national level.

*Energetically develop and elevate the company artistically by presenting inventive and original programming that embraces both traditional and contemporary sensibilities.

* Utilize the extensive knowledge and connections my prior performing and managerial experiences have provided, so as to engage and present acclaimed artists, choreographers and repertoire that has yet to be seen in New Zealand.

* Achieve more international recognition and acclaim for the RNZB and the country, through increased off shore touring and by seeking to have a greater presence in the American market. Essentially, seek to make the RNZB a primary international ambassador of New Zealand and its inherent qualities.

* Employing a strong work ethic and passion for what I do, see that the RNZB contributes to the quality of life, imagination, culture and economic vibrancy of a nation and its identity.

Ethan Stiefel, born in Pennsylvania, is a Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre and is Dean of The School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Ballet NEWS

Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy in ABT Don Quixote Photograph : Rosalie O'Connor

Stiefel began his dance studies in Madison, Wisconsin. His early teachers included Paul Sutherland and Ted Kivitt. He continued his studies at Marcia Dale Weary’s Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He was awarded a full scholarship at the School of American Ballet, where he studied under Stanley Williams and then studied with Mikhail Baryshnikov at his School of Classical Ballet.

Stiefel began his performing career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet where he quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He was also a Principal Dancer with the Zürich Ballet and joined American Ballet Theatre in 1997. His repertoire of full-length works includes Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty) Siegfried (Swan Lake), Romeo (Romeo and Juliet), Albrecht (Giselle), Lescaut (Manon), Lenski (Onegin), Jeanne (Raymonda), Colas (La Fille Mal Gardee), Solor (La Bayadere), Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Cassio (Othello), Basil (Don Quixote), Franz (Coppelia), Conrad and the Slave (Le Corsaire). He has appeared in a wide variety of shorter works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Michel Fokine, William Forsythe, Lar Lubovitch, Nils Christe, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Jiri Kylian, August Bournonville, Bob Fosse, Antony Tudor, Christopher Wheeldon, Eugene Loring, Peter Martins, Nacho Duato, Frederick Ashton and Twyla Tharp.

He made his debut with London’s Royal Ballet in Twyla Tharp’s Junk Man pas de deux and returned frequently as a guest dancing the roles of Franz, Solor, Colas, Albrecht, Lenski, the Prince in a new production of The Sleeping Beauty and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe. The Kirov Ballet first invited him to dance Apollo in St. Petersburg and he later returned performing the role of Solor.

Ballet NEWS

Ethan Stiefel in ABT's Swan Lake Act III Photograph : Rosalie O'Connor

He has made guest appearances with The Australian Ballet, Zürich Ballet, Munich Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Teatro Colon, and toured in the United States, Japan, Russia and throughout Europe. He starred in the feature film Center Stage, and returned to play the role of Cooper Nielsen in Center Stage 2- Turn It Up.

Stiefel’s television and video credits include The Dream, Le Corsaire, Die Fledermaus and the documentary, Born to be Wild. He has been a guest teacher for many institutions including the American Ballet Theatre II, American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet School.

Stiefel recently staged and choreographed a new version of The Nutcracker for UNCSA.

He has received several awards for his work. In 1999 His Royal Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco presented Stiefel with the Statue Award of the Princess Grace Foundation, the foundations highest honor.  He received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award in December 2008. He was a juror for the Prix de Lausanne in 2001 and served on the selection committee for the 2010 International Ballet Competition held in Jackson, Mississippi.

He was appointed Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet in October 2010 and begins his role on 1 September 2011.

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8 Responses to “Ethan Stiefel appointed Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet”

  1. May Says:

    That’s a long way for Steifel to go!! Only one question – what about Gillian??? She’s still dancing in New York (and touring)!

  2. Ballet News Says:

    May – Gillian is moving with him.

  3. Anne Sanderson Says:

    Best wishes to him and to them. Thank you for such a full and informative article.

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