In Conversation: Stefanie Batten Bland with Eva Yaa Asantewaa
The Spring 2021 season of premieres commissioned by BAC includes a series of live-streamed talks with the artists about their projects and creative processes.
In conjunction with the premiere of Kolonial, choreographer Stefanie Batten Bland talks with writer and curator Eva Yaa Asantewaa.
Batten Bland and Yaa Asantewaa first connected through engagements with Gibney Dance, where Yaa Asantewaa currently serves as Senior Director of Curation and Editorial Director.
Kolonial is available to watch free, on demand May 3-17, Monday at 5PM ET until Monday at 5PM ET.
BAC Artist Commissions made possible with generous leadership support from Anonymous, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Howard Gilman Foundation, Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine Kaye Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, Thompson Family Foundation, and Robert and Kathleen Wallace.
Lead support of dance programming at BAC is provided by the Rudolf Nureyev Endowment.
As of January, 2021.
Stefanie Batten Bland
Jerome Robbins awardee Stefanie Batten Bland is an interdisciplinary global artist who interrogates contemporary and historical culture. She situates her work at the intersection of dance-theatre and installation.
A 2020 commissioned artist by Baryshnikov Arts Center, Duke Performances, and 2019 fellow at Center for Ballet Arts at NYU, Batten Bland is also currently a choreographer for American Ballet Theatre's inaugural Women's Movement Initiative. She created Company SBB in Paris in 2008 and established it in New York City in 2011, when she was in residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center and began her current residence at University Settlement. Regularly produced by LaMama Experimental Theater, she premiered her latest work Look Who's Coming To Dinner at LaMama in fall 2019 for FIAF's Crossing the Line Festival. Her COVID commissions include the virtual global performance of EU Day for the European Union at the United Nations, a distanced film for Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim. Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, she served as movement director for Eve’s Song at the Public Theater (Forbes 2018 Best Theatre) and is currently Movement Director and Director of Equity for the 2021 immersive production Life & Trust by Emursive. She also directs dance cinema films. She is regularly commissioned by companies including Louis Vuitton and Hermes. Recent commissions include: Ailey II, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Gina Gibney Dance, The Juilliard School, Singapore Frontier Danceland, Spoleto Festival Italy, and The American Center for Art & Culture in Paris where she is a resident artist. Featured in The New York Times, Dance Europe, Brooklyn Rail, Marie Claire, Dance Data Project, TV 5 Monde and Dance Teacher Magazine among others, she will celebrate Company SBB's 10th U.S. anniversary in the 2021-2022 season with existing and new works. She received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College, is Assistant Professor at Montclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and lives in SoHo with her family.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Eva Yaa Asantewaa (she/her), a veteran writer, curator and community educator, won the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. She works at Gibney as Senior Director of Curation and Editorial Director. She is also the founder of Black Curators in Dance and Performance.
Yaa Asantewaa began her long career in dance journalism and criticism in 1976, published by Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, SoHo Weekly News, Gay City News, her arts blog, InfiniteBody, and other publications. As founding Editorial Director of Imagining: A Gibney Journal, she publishes essays reflecting issues and perspectives of importance to the dance/performance community. Among many other program initiatives she launched at Gibney, she has created the Black Diaspora support group for rising Black dance and performance artists and the Eva Yaa Asantewaa Black Arts Leadership Award. In 2016, for Danspace Project’s Lost and Found platform, she curated the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, an evening of group improvisation featuring 21 Black women and gender-nonconforming performers, a cast that won a 2017 Bessie for Outstanding Performer. In 2019, she received a BAX Arts & Artists in Progress Award. Queer|Art has named one of its awards in her honor: the Eva Yaa Asantewaa Grant for Queer Women(+) Dance Artists. A native New Yorker of Barbadian immigrant heritage, she makes her home in the East Village.