ArtYard is pleased to announce its partnership with the Baryshnikov Arts Center for a residency program to support the development of new work that launches in March with Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland.
As part of this partnership, Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland will host opportunities for the public to experience and engage with Embarqued: Stories of Soil, an installation-based dance-theatre work that interrogates existing relationships to memorials, before its world premiere April 15-16 in Durham, NC. People are invited to stop by ArtYard for open rehearsals and to register for an interactive community workshop and previews during the three-week residency in Frenchtown between March 13 and 30.
“We are excited to welcome Stefanie Batten Bland and Company SBB to Frenchtown and build upon Baryshnikov Arts Center’s work to support artists by providing space for creative investigation,” said Jill Kearney, ArtYard’s founder and executive director. “ArtYard and BAC share a vision for arts and culture as a third space where people enrich their life, expand their perspectives, and discover their creativity across cultures. We’re proud that our community in Frenchtown will have an opportunity to encounter artists of Stefanie’s caliber, engage in workshops, and observe the unfolding of remarkable, creative works in progress.”
The ArtYard/BAC partnership expands the footprint and capacity of BAC Residencies, which hosts up to 20 artists each year to develop ideas, projects, and collaborations. Support through the program, which recently launched an open call, can include the use of the organization’s studios and theaters, honoraria, and technical services. ArtYard provides the chance for selected artists, who are encouraged to focus on their current priorities without the expectation of delivering a finished work, to live, work, and engage in Frenchtown.
The partnership sparked in early March 2020 when Mikhail Baryshnikov, BAC founder and Artistic Director, and Cora Cahan, BAC President & CEO, visited ArtYard and met with Kearney.
“It was immediately apparent given both organizations’ deep-seated commitments to supporting and encouraging artists across the visual and performing arts spectrum that a collaboration between ArtYard and BAC could be, should be, and would be,” Cahan said. “Everyone at BAC joins me in expressing our great delight that Stefanie Batten Bland and her company are the inaugural artists, setting the standard for what we expect will be many fruitful ArtYard/BAC residencies to come.”
Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland’s work at the intersection of dance-theatre, film, and installation interrogates contemporary and historical culture.
Embarqued centers around a performative ship mast that invites reflection and reveals post-colonial foundations and mythology. Interrogating existing relationships to memorials, the multilayered work calls up African ancestral stories integral to uniting our country, enabling us to viscerally and holistically connect our country both forward and backward in space and time and through soil itself.
Conceived and choreographed by Stefanie Batten Bland, Embarqued features an original score by Paul Damien Hogan, who created the score for Batten Bland’s acclaimed work Look Who’s Coming to Dinner, set and video design by longtime collaborator Emmanuel Bastien, costumes by Shane Ballard, and lighting design by Yuki Nakase Link. Embarqued is performed by Raphaël Kaney Duverger, Jennifer Payán, Rachel Watson-Jih, Latra A. Wilson, and David Lee Parker — all of whom have collaborated closely with Batten Bland on this project.
Embarqued will take many forms from live performance to visual art/textile installation to activities that explore the ways that art intersects with community spaces. Connecting the past with the present through reflection and engaged action, the company’s engagements will include projects with local organizations inviting people in areas where the work is performed to participate in conversations and workshops.
While at ArtYard, the company will collaborate in art-making experiences with community members and schools, specifically the making of individual flags and the exploration of how that cloth relates to their identity. The flags will be on display in ArtYard’s courtyard, which fronts the Delaware River.
ArtYard is an incubator for creative expression and a catalyst for collaborations that reveal the transformational power of art. Based in Frenchtown, NJ, ArtYard is an interdisciplinary alternative contemporary art center comprised of exhibition space, theater, and residency program, dedicated to presenting transformative artwork, fostering unexpected collaborations, and incubating original new work.
BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by Founder and Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov to build an arts center in New York City that serves as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC’s opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative space for artists from around the world. Located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan, BAC comprises a total of 20,000 square feet, including the 238-seat Jerome Robbins Theater, the Howard Gilman Performance Space, and four column-free studios. BAC serves approximately 700 artists and up to 22,000 audience members annually through presentations and artist residencies.
About Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland
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. 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.