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Michelle Tabnick
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New York Theatre Ballet at New York Live Arts, Feb. 24-27

by Michelle Tabnick
February 15, 2016
New York Live Arts
219 W 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 691-6500

Featured Dance Company:

New York Theatre Ballet
New York Theatre Ballet/Ballet School NY (office)
30 East 31st Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016

New York Theatre Ballet will perform at New York Live Arts from February 24-27, 2016. New York Live Arts is located at 219 W. 19th Street, NYC. Performances: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm; and Saturday at 2pm and 7:30pm. Tickets start at $15, and are available online at http://newyorklivearts.org/event/nytb_2016, by calling the Live Arts box office at 212.691.6500, or by visiting the box office, Monday-Saturday 1pm - 9pm and Sunday 1pm – 8pm.

New York Theatre Ballet will present three ballets in an unforgettable evening. The program includes an untitled World Premiere set to Philip Glass' Piano Etudes choreographed by Steven Melendez and Zhong-Jing Fang, featuring the NYU Steel Drum Ensemble led by Jonathan Haas, Director of NYU Percussion Program, as well as Jerome Robbins' "Antique Epigraphs" and Richard Alston's "Such Longing."

Melendez and Fang’s untitled World Premiere piece centers around the Individual, exploring one’s unique experiences and feelings. Each audience member will find a reflection of them self and walk away with something different. The company will also revive Jerome Robbins' "Antique Epigraphs," staged by Kyra Nichols to Debussy’s “6 Épigraphes antiques”, and Richard Alston's "Such Longing" to “Mazurkas” by Frédéric Chopin.

Steven Melendez was born in New York City in 1986 and started his ballet training as part of the LIFT Scholarship Program at Ballet School New York at the age of 7. As a teenager he attended summer intensive programs with the San Francisco Ballet Academy, Houston Ballet Academy and Kaatsbaan International School. In 2001 Steven joined New York Theatre Ballet as an apprentice and in 2006 was promoted to Principal. While there he performed leading roles in choreographies by Fredrick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Butler, Agnes DeMille, Donald Mahler, Antony Tudor and others. In 2004, while dancing with New York Theatre Ballet, he graduated from the American Ballet Theater Studio Company Associate Program, the program culminated in a performance of Oblivion by Jessica Lang and Continuo by Antony Tudor.

Steven returned to New York City in March 2010 for New York Theatre Ballet’s Signature 10 series as a Principal Guest Artist performing José Limon’s Mazurkas and rejoined the company full-time for the following season. In 2011 Steven worked with British choreographer Richard Alston to create his new work "A Rugged Flourish" and performed Limon’s "Moor’s Pavane" for NYTB’s Signatures 12.

In 2015 Steven celebrated his 15th season with New York Theatre Ballet performing world premieres in works by Pam Tanowitz and Nicolo Fonte and a U.S. premiere of Richard Alston’s "Such Longing." He is a frequent guest artist at the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica and Ballet Palm Beach.

Steven is a faculty member of Ballet School New York and also holds an annual summer workshop in Nagoya, Japan.

In 2008 Steven received a Diploma from the 5th Rudolf Nureyev International Ballet Competition in Budapest, Hungary. He also received special recognition from head jurist Maya Plisetskya for his second round performance of Onegin. Afterwards, he was invited to perform in the gala entitled Celebrating the Classical Male Dancer and later represented Estonia at the 13th International Baltic Ballet Festival in Riga, Latvia. In 2009 he performed in the Johvi International Ballet Gala for Agnes Oaks’ farewell tour and in 2012 performed at the Jacob’s Pillow International Dance Festival Gala The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth. Steven is a Van-Lier Fellowship recipient and was a 2012 Clive Barnes Foundation Award Nominee.

For the 2006 season Steven was invited to Buenos Aires as a Guest Soloist to perform with Ballet Concierto, directed by Inaki Urlezaga. His repertory there included "Carmen"(Alonso), "Don Quixote" (Baryshnikov), "Symphonic Variations" (Ashton) and "Borodin"(Ariaz). While performing with Ballet Concierto Steven traveled extensively performing in international ballet galas and festivals in Argentina, New Zealand, Thailand, Venezuela, Ecuador, Estonia, Spain and Italy.

In 2007 Steven joined the Vanemuine Theater Ballet Company in Tartu, Estonia, as a Principal dancer. With the Vanemuine Theater he has performed Principal roles in "Onegin" (Medvedjev), "The Nutcracker" (Isberg), "Giselle" (Feco) and "Peter Pan" (Titova). The leading male role in Par Isberg’s "Uinuv Kaunitar" (Sleeping Beauty) as well as the title role in Ruslan Stepanov’s "Kevade" were both choreographed on him.

Zhong-Jing Fang was born in Shanghai, China, and received her early training at the Shanghai Ballet School where she trained for seven years. Before joining ABT's Studio Company in 2002, Fang graduated with a major in ballet from the Performing Arts College of Shanghai Drama University.

In 2000, Fang was the winner of the famed Prix de Lausanne, and winner of the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Prize at the Ninth International Ballet Competition in Paris. In June 2001, Fang won First Prize in the Junior Division of the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. Most recently, she won first place in the Junior Division of the Shanghai International Ballet Competition.

In April 2003, Fang joined the main Company of the American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice and, in January 2004, became a member of the corps de ballet. Her roles with the Company include Aya in "La Bayadère," Twig in "Cinderella," Prayer in "Coppélia," Zulma in "Giselle," the Old Mother in "The Green Table," Nanny and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Alexei Ratmansky's "The Nutcracker," a Harlot and Rosaline's Friend in "Romeo and Juliet," the Fairy Canari qui chante (Canary) in "The Sleeping Beauty," the Hungarian Princess and Lead Czardas in "Swan Lake," the Prelude in "Les Sylphides," Ceres in "Sylvia" and roles in "AfterEffect," "Black Tuesday," "Continuo," "Kaleidoscope," "Sinfonietta" and "Symphonic Variations." She created a leading role in "Pretty Good Year."

Ms. Fang’s performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Fred and Irene Shen.

Virtuoso timpanist Jonathan Haas has raised the status of the timpani to that of a solo instrument throughout his unique career that has spanned more than twenty years. From classical concertos to jazz and rock & roll, from symphonic masterpieces to the most experimental compositions of living composers, Haas has championed, commissioned, unearthed and celebrated music for his instrument, becoming, as Ovation magazine hailed him, "The Paganini of the timpani."

His concerts on the world's most prestigious musical stages and his ground-breaking recordings have delighted critics and listeners on both sides of the ocean. The New York Times wrote, "Wherever one finds a percussion instrument waiting to be rubbed, shook, struck or strummed, [Haas] is probably nearby, ready to fulfill his duties with consummate expertise… he is a masterful young percussionist."

Most recently, Haas has garnered widespread praise and attention for his performances of Philip Glass' Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, a piece conceived by Haas and completed because of his quest to spotlight the timpani. The Concerto Fantasy features not only two timpanists, but also 14 timpani, all placed downstage in front of the orchestra. In 2000, Haas performed the world premiere of the piece with the American Symphony, and he has subsequently performed it at Carnegie Hall and in Phoenix, New Jersey, Baltimore, Pasadena, Long Beach (California), St. Louis and Mexico City. Haas also performed the European premiere with the BBC Symphony in London, the world premiere of a chamber orchestra version with the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis, the Czechoslovakian premiere with the Prague Symphony Orchestra at the International Music Prague Spring Festival, the Norwegian premiere with the Bergen Philharmonic, and he will perform the Australian premiere with the Sydney Symphony and the Turkish premiere with the Istanbul Philharmonic.

Haas' successful efforts to expand the timpani repertoire have led him to commission and premiere more than 25 works by composers in addition to Philip Glass such as Stephen Albert, Marius Constant, Irwin Bazelon, Eric Ewazen, Thomas Hamilton, Robert Hall Lewis, Jean Piche, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Andrew Thomas, and many others.

NYU Steel is a significant performance ensemble within the NYU Steinhardt Percussion Program, where Professor Jonathan Haas serves as Director. Under the direction of Joshua Quillen, NYU Steel is dedicated to exploring the art of steel pans to the fullest, performing rare compositions and arrangements ranging in scope from Philip Glass and Jason Trueting, to David Rudder and Lord Kitchener from Trinidad and Tobago, where the art form was invented. The ensemble presents several unique performances each year, collaborating with composers globally, while enriching the steel drum repertoire. Recent noteworthy accomplishments include the exclusive recording of Philip Glass’ Piano Etudes, arranged by Joshua Quillen, which was released by Orange Mountain Music in May 2011, as well as promotional and tribute performances for Glass’ 75th birthday.

NYU Steel emphasizes an artistically and culturally diverse array of performance styles that break with traditional boundaries surrounding the esoteric genre of steel pan music. NYU Steel seeks to create a bond between artist and audience that warrants an environment of creativity and community. With a hunger for innovation and desire to explore all the possibilities of steel pan music, NYU Steel has created the most unique ensemble of its kind, drawing from the rich cultural sounds of the Caribbean while incorporating the works of prominent composers such as Philip Glass in order to gain the instrument prominence on the world stage. As part of a global initiative instituted in collaboration with New York University, NYU Steel is constantly pursuing ways to reach audiences in an international scope, driving to cultivate a niche in the world stage. At the same time, NYU Steel continues to nurture relationships with the local community, intent on becoming leaders in education, performance, and creativity.

Whether engaging audiences with upbeat island tunes or dazzling them with the mellifluous sounds of Philip Glass, NYU Steel is becoming one of the premier university steel pan ensembles on the East coast. Enriching both the community and the city, NYU Steel is discovering all the possibilities when you combine glass and steel.


New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB), founded in 1978 by artistic director Diana Byer, has been hailed by The New York Times as “an invaluable company.” NYTB is dedicated to inspiring a love of dance in diverse audiences through performances of chamber ballet masterpieces and bold new works, as well as innovative one-hour ballets for children, all at affordable prices.

By pairing the ballets of legendary creators with those of contemporary visionaries, NYTB brings a new understanding and appreciation of dance. The approach to live performance for children is groundbreaking and unique. New York Theatre Ballet offers an annual series of hour-long ballets tailored to the attention span of young audience members, while offering high production values and clever choreography sophisticated enough for discerning parents.

NYTB is committed to reaching underserved audiences by performing in small cities throughout the U.S. Its professional school provides ballet training based on the Cecchetti syllabus. Classes are offered at affordable prices. Scholarships are awarded to talented homeless and underserved children along with support for well-rounded learning.

New York Theatre Ballet’s performances are part of New York Live Arts' Community Rental program, which is designed for dance and theater companies, as well as producing and non-profit organizations. www.newyorklivearts.org
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