American Repertory Ballet names new artistic director

The American Repertory Ballet, which last year debuted a new home at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, now has a new artistic director, a renowned dancer and choreographer who will join the company in July.

Ethan Stiefel, who is currently principal guest instructor at the American Ballet Theatre in New York City, was chosen to become the ARB’s next artistic director after an extensive search, the company said in a news release.

“This appointment marks a wonderful new era for our organization,” board Chair DonnaJean Fredeen said in a prepared statement. “We believe Ethan Stiefel’s unparalleled expertise and innovative vision will bring American Repertory Ballet into an exciting new chapter. We are delighted to welcome him, and look forward to supporting his leadership.”

Executive Director Julie Diana Hench added: “We are beyond thrilled to have Ethan join our organization in this capacity. His incredible breadth of experience and accomplishments, combined with his inspiring vision, generosity of spirit, creative talents and professionalism, will shape the future of American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School. With Ethan at the helm, it feels like the possibilities are endless.”

Stiefel began his professional dance career at age 16 with the New York City Ballet, and served as principal dancer there, and with Ballett Zurich and ABT, which he joined in 1997 and where he gave his final performance in July 2012. He went on to serve as dean of the School of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and then as artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet for three years.

“I am very fortunate to again have the opportunity to become an artistic director,” he said in a statement. “I believe most arts organizations have taken stock during these times and are exploring ways to pioneer, diversify and reinvigorate how they approach their internal culture, while seeking to offer current and relevant inspiration for communities and audiences.

“I am looking forward to helping American Repertory Ballet emerge from these challenging times and to being a part of developing the art form within the organization and the communities we serve.”

The ARB was founded as the Princeton Ballet Society in 1954, and now comprises the ballet company itself; Princeton Ballet School, a nonprofit dance school; and the company’s Access & Enrichment initiatives.