Stella Abrera, a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theater, has been named performing inventive director of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, the firm introduced on Thursday. Abrera will oversee all inventive elements of the faculty’s kids’s division, pre-professional division and nationwide coaching curriculum.
Ballet Theater, Abrera stated in a cellphone interview, “is like a big gorgeous redwood or oak tree. I now have the opportunity to be part of the team that will nourish the roots, and help it grow larger and more beautiful. I have such deep respect for the company’s lineage and I’m so excited to share that with young artists.”
The Onassis School, based in 2004, has been directed by Cynthia Harvey, one other Ballet Theater alumna, since 2016. Abrera stated that she was ready till she began the place to formulate particular plans, however that she hoped to comply with Harvey’s instance. “She has tiny feet but those are huge shoes to fill,” Abrera stated.
Abrera, 44, who was born in Manila, grew up in South Pasadena, Calif. She joined Ballet Theater as a member of the corps de ballet in 1996 and was promoted to soloist in 2001. In 2015, Abrera was promoted to principal on the identical day that Misty Copeland was, changing into the firm’s first Filipino American principal. She retired from performing in 2020. Since June of that yr, she has been the inventive director of Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in Tivoli, N.Y., establishing an annual out of doors dance competition there.
A Ballet Theater spokeswoman stated Abrera was employed for a one-year performing place due to the changeover in Ballet Theater’s inventive administrators — from Kevin McKenzie, who provided Abrera the place, to Susan Jaffe, who will take over at the finish of this yr. (The firm has additionally lately appointed a new chief govt, Janet Rollé.)
At Kaatsbaan, Sonja Kostich, who grew to become chief govt and inventive officer in 2018, will keep on in that position. No substitute for Abrera has but been introduced.
Speaking from exterior a studio on Kaatsbaan’s idyllic grounds, watching a rehearsal of a undertaking she helped put collectively, Abrera stated that her feelings have been “mixed” and that it felt a little bittersweet to go away. After the Kaatsbaan competition closes on June 19, she’ll be educating in a two-month intensive ballet program. Then she could have in the future off, Aug. 21, earlier than she begins her new job.