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March 22, 2021

2021 ABT Incubator to Stream Free Each Monday, March 29 Through May 3, 12:00 Noon ET On YouTube

ABT Artists Create Six New Works Over Zoom and in Ballet Bubbles

Fangqi Li and Andrii Ishchuk in Zhong-Jing Fang’s The Unforeseen. Photo: Pierce Jackson.

For six weeks beginning Monday, March 29, American Ballet Theatre will present the works of the 2021 ABT Incubator with weekly premieres of new choreography created within the past year by ABT artists.  Each online presentation, scheduled to premiere at 12:00 Noon ET/9:00 AM PT on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube Channel, will showcase short ballets by this year’s cohort of choreographers.  Creators for the 2021 ABT Incubator are Zhong-Jing Fang, Joseph Markey, Sung Woo Han, Luciana Paris, Luigi Crispino, Sung Woo Han, and Melvin Lawovi. See trailer for ABT Incubator here.

Under the directorship of ABT dancer Jose Sebastian, with mentorship by choreographer Jessica Lang, ABT Incubator provides a focused lab to inspire new choreographic voices and generate ideas for the creation of new work.  Sebastian was appointed director of ABT Incubator in October 2020, succeeding ABT Principal Dancer David Hallberg, who led the program since its inception in 2010.

Work on this year’s ABT Incubator began in Spring 2020, as Lang provided composition workshops for ABT dancers wanting to explore choreography.  Due to the studio shutdown forced by the pandemic, ABT Incubator participants adapted to unprecedented circumstances to create new work on their colleagues over Zoom and in isolated “ballet bubbles,” while following strict health and safety protocols.  Each final work was filmed for presentation.

“I expected that stepping into David Hallberg’s shoes would not be an easy feat,” said Sebastian.  “David left some pretty big shoes to fill, and then, the pandemic was thrown into the mix.  I did not expect how rewarding it would all be.  The success of this year’s ABT Incubator season is owed to the fantastic team that stood by patiently teaching me the ropes, and the awesome choreographers and dancers selected for this year’s program.  Watching the artists develop their creations, always rising to the challenges with an ‘I can do this’ enthusiasm, was a privilege.  I look forward to sharing these beautiful films with everyone.”

The schedule for the 2021 ABT Incubator presentations, shown each Monday on YouTube, is as follows:

Monday, March 29
The Unforeseen
Choreography by Zhong-Jing Fang
Music by Camille Saint-Saëns (Danse Macabre)
Costumes by Sylvie Rood
Cast: Andrii Ishchuk, Fangqi Li

Created at Long Island City School of Ballet
Filmed at ABT Studios in New York City

Monday, April 5
She didn’t
Choreography by Joseph Markey
Music by John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (My One and Only Love) and Taylor Deupree (Seep)
Lighting by Oleg Balitskiy
Cast: Kanon Kimura, Javier Rivet

Created and filmed at PS21, Chatham, New York

Monday, April 12
Death and Life
Choreography by Sung Woo Han
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Adagio from Concerto No. 3 in D Minor performed by Alessandro Marcello)
Cast:  Joo Won Ahn, SunMi Park

Created in Seoul, South Korea.
Filmed in Lakai Sandpine Resort in South Korea

Monday, April 19
Choreography by Luciana Paris
Music by Future Natives Project (Erial featuring Rodrigo Aranjuelo & Federico Diaz)
Lighting by Oleg Balitskiy
Cast:  Isadora Loyola, Michael de la Nuez

Created and filmed at PS21, Chatham, New York

Monday, April 26
Thread of Memories
Choreography by Luigi Crispino
Music by Joe Hisaishi (Howl’s Moving Castle Theme, Etude, A Wish to the Moon, One Summer’s Day).  Performed by Michael Scales
Costumes by Paola Salvi
Cast:  Virginia Lensi, Rachel Richardson and Nathan Vendt

Created and filmed at ABT Studios in New York City, and in Milan, Italy

Monday, May 3
Soirée Nocturne
Choreography by Melvin Lawovi
Music by Frédéric Chopin (Nocturne No. 20 in C# Minor, Op. Posth.)
Lighting by Oleg Balitskiy
Cast: Leah Baylin, Cameron McCune

Created in Silver Bay, New York
Filmed at PS21, Chatham, New York

ABT Incubator works were filmed by Pierce Jackson.  Death and Life was filmed by Doodoorino. Virginia Lensi’s solo in Thread of Memories was filmed by Giovanni Saviano with lighting by Roberto Bertali.

For more information on ABT Incubator and ABT’s digital offerings, please visit

ABT Incubator presented by Celebrity Cruises

Special thanks to ABT Trustees Karen C. Phillips and Yongsoo Huh for helping to make possible this first-ever virtual ABT Incubator.

Commissions and presentations of new work by women choreographers are supported by the

ABT Women’s Movement. Champion support for the ABT Women’s Movement is provided by Jenna Segal. Additional leadership support is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

ABT’s Choreographic Innovation and Inspiration and Inclusion programs are generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation. Additional major support of ABT’s Innovation and Inclusion programs is provided by Mark Casey and Carrie Gaiser Casey, the Ford Foundation, The Ted and Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund and through an endowed gift from the Toni and Martin Sosnoff New Works Fund.

Special thanks to Denise Littlefield Sobel for her leadership gifts to: ABT’s Media Fund, advancing the Company’s digital endeavors; and ABT RISE, fueling the Company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bank of America, Lead Corporate Partner of ABT Studio Company

LG Signature, The Global Electronics Partner of American Ballet Theatre

American Airlines is the Official Airline of American Ballet Theatre

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