By Michaela Dwyer
Working at the intersection of dance theater and installation, Jerome Robbins award-winning choreographer/director Stefanie Batten Bland rebuilds the built environment: whether in the overlapping gestures of dinner guests, seated at a dinner table on a proscenium stage; wrapped and writhing within corded ropes along the parquet floors of a French parlor; or adjacent to the stone pillars of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, in moving memoriam of victims of police brutality.
As part of Duke Performances’ virtual fall season, Batten Bland’s intercontinental interdisciplinary vessel, Company SBB, explores a new work created for camera: a continuation of Batten Bland’s dance cinema practice, in alignment with the new daily choreographies of quarantine. Working from upstate New York, through river tributaries, Batten Bland marshals an intimate configuration of her company to underline historical and present-day directional up- and downstate tensions in the region during the pandemic. Those familiar with Batten Bland’s Duke Performances-commissioned work for the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company will see a thematic throughline in her ongoing investigation of monumentality: what’s upheld and what’s overturned in the material and geographical remaking of our relations.
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