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DURHAM, NC: Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland presents World Premiere of "Embarqued: Stories of Soil" this Spring

DURHAM, NC: Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland presents World Premiere of "Embarqued: Stories of Soil" this Spring


Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland


Duke Performances
2010 Campus Dr, Durham, North Carolina 27708


Friday, April 15, 2022 - 12:00am daily through April 16, 2022



Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland

Company SBB // Stefanie Batten Bland will present the world premiere of Embarqued: Stories of Soil, an installation-based dance-theatre work that interrogates existing relationships to memorials, at Duke Performances in Durham, NC, April 15–16, 2022. The multifaceted work is being created for theatres, site-specific outdoor spaces, and exhibition spaces and is being developed in conjunction with local community organizations in various cities. The full tour schedule for Embarqued will be announced in May 2022.

Embarqued continues Batten Bland’s recent investigations into our cultural, political, and spiritual relationships with memorials. The multilayered work centers around a performative shipmast that invites reflection and reveals post-colonial foundations and mythology. Interrogating existing relationships to memorials, Embarqued 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, David Lee Parker, Jennifer Payán, Rachel Watson-Jih, and Latra A. Wilson, all of whom have collaborated closely with Batten Bland on this project.

In addition to the performances, archival and research materials for Embarqued will be on display in the Duke Art Corridor/Nasher Museum. 

Leading up to the premiere, the company will have a three-week creative/technical residency at ArtYard, a new interdisciplinary contemporary art center in Frenchtown, NJ, dedicated to presenting transformative artwork, fostering unexpected collaborations, and incubating original new work. Company SBB’s residency is supported through a partnership between ArtYard and the Baryshnikov Arts Center and marks ArtYard’s first dance residency. While there, the company will collaborate in art-making experiences with community members and schools, specifically the making of individual flags and how that cloth relates to their identity. The flags will be on display in ArtYard’s courtyard, which fronts the Delaware River. 

Embarqued will take many forms over the next two years from live performance to art 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. 

Embarqued was commissioned by ArtYard and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Embarqued has been created through critical research and creative residencies provided by ArtYard, Duke Performances at Duke University, and The Yard in Chilmark, MA, in partnership with Martha’s Vineyard Museum and Martha’s Vineyard African American Heritage Trail. Embarqued was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project has received additional support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation. 


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. 

Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, Batten Bland served as movement director for Eve’s Song at the Public Theater (Forbes 2018 Best Theatre), European Union at the United Nations, and is currently casting and movement director for Emursive Productions (producers of Sleep No More). She has created for fashion and lifestyle partners Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermès, and Guerlain. Her choreography is currently in active repertory at American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey II, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Transitions Dance Company in Greenwich, UK, and Frontier Danceland in Singapore. Her work has been seen internationally at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Danse à Lille in France, and Tanztendenzen in Germany.  

Company SBB’s 2021 dance film Kolonial, produced by Baryshnikov Arts Center, has won eight awards internationally and was nominated for three Bessie Awards, including outstanding production, visual design, and costumes. Batten Bland has created 14 other dance cinema films that have been shown in international festivals in such places as South Africa, Buenos Aires, Greece, and Germany.

Batten Bland has been featured in The New York Times, T Magazine, Dance Europe, Marie Claire, The Brooklyn Rail, TV 5 Monde, and Dance Teacher Magazine.

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. 

Batten Bland 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.

Yemen Brown, Jennifer Payán, Latra A. Wilson rehearsing "Embarqued"; photo by Emmanuel Bastien


WATCH TRAILER: https://www.companysbb.org/embarqued



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