American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company to be in Residence at UB, Thanks to Special Funding from State Assembly

Public performance to cap off three-week residency in October

By Kelli Bocock-Natale

Release Date: September 18, 2000

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Studio Company of the American Ballet Theatre, one of a handful of great classical ballet companies in the world, will be in residency at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts from Oct. 1-21.

The ABT Studio Company, a highly specialized training program to prepare young dancers to enter the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and ABT's principal outreach arm, was founded in 1995. It has never performed in Western New York. The last time the ABT performed in Buffalo was in 1981.

The ABT Studio Company's residency at UB will be its first with a campus in the State University of New York. The residency and cultural opportunity for the Western New York community will be made possible through state funding arranged by Assemblyman Paul A. Tokasz of Cheektowaga, Chairman of the Assembly Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committee, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

While in residence at UB, the ABT Studio Company's 13 dancers are scheduled to offer lectures-demonstrations, workshops for UB dance students, master classes for dancers from UB and the community, and performances for school children. The company will perform in several area high schools, as well as present a public dance concert at 8 p.m. on Oct. 20 in the Mainstage Theatre of the CFA on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. (see ticket information at end of news release).

"Bringing some of the world's finest dancers to Western New York will not only enhance the quality of life for our residents, but will also attract dancers and ballet lovers from across the region," Tokasz said.

"I want to thank Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his support and assistance in bringing the American Ballet Theatre to Western New York," he added. "We are pleased to bring this world-renowned ballet troupe to the University at Buffalo, marking the company's first visit to Western New York."

UB President William R. Greiner praised both Silver and Tokasz for their efforts.

"The Assembly's support will make it possible to bring one of the nation's finest ballet troupes to UB, benefiting not only students, faculty, and staff, but the larger Western New York community as well," Greiner said.

"We appreciate the Assembly's financial assistance, and we are delighted to welcome the American Ballet Theatre back to Buffalo after an absence of nearly 20 years."

As Western New York's premier presenter of dance, UB's Center for the Arts is the perfect venue for ABT's Studio Company, according to CFA Director Thomas B. Burrows.

"Not only has Assemblyman Tokasz given us our most impressive and comprehensive dance season thus far-- his effort makes it possible for us to double the number of students touched by our community-school outreach program and to increase the professional artists residency experience for UB's dance students by 100 percent. The center is extremely grateful."

Dance companies that have presented at the CFA in the past are Ailey II, The Parsons Dance Company, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Limón Dance Company. The center's 2000/2001 KeyBank Dance Series will include Ailey II, Doug Varone and Dancers and dance soloist Margie Gillis.

The CFA each year programs a dance residency to benefit not only the university's students, but the Western New York community as well. The residency program is designed to bring together dance students, students of related performing and fine-arts disciplines, students in local dance companies and schools, as well as the larger arts communities and new community audiences. Residency activities and master classes are provided at no cost to under-served area schools that are interested in participating. The outreach activities reach more than 1,000 Western New York school children every year.

Established in October of 1995, the American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company is a small classical dance company of 13 young dancers of outstanding potential. The ABT Studio Company was created to prepare young dancers to enter American Ballet Theatre and provides opportunities for the emergence of new and established choreographers and composers. Through in-school performances, lecture-demonstrations, and academic residencies, the ABT Studio Company brings the excitement of close contact with a professional company into communities across the country.

In keeping with its reputation as a "dancers' company," the American Ballet Theater continually draws the finest dancers from the United States and the rest of the world.

Louis G. Spisto, ABT executive director, describes it as "both a rigorous curator of the great masterworks and an eager commissioner of new ballets."

The company has been home to such legendary performers as Carla Fracci, Nora Kaye, Alicia Alonso, Eric Bruhn, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Gelsey Kirkland and, Spisto noted, "is now home to the most celebrated stars of this generation. To see them perform is to genuinely experience one of the wonders of the world."

Ticket prices for the public performance on Oct. 20 are $18, $15, $9, and $7 for UB students. Tickets are available at the CFA Box Office (Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m.) and all Ticketmaster locations, including Kaufmann's and Movies Plus. To charge tickets call 852-5000, in Canada 1-416-870-8000. For more information call 645-ARTS.