Featured Guests 2009

Kim Abel

Presentation: Master Class with Teacher Discussion

Kim Abel was born in Gainesville, Florida where she began her early dance training.  After graduating from high school, she moved to New York City to study ballet on scholarship at the American Ballet Center (Joffrey School).  In 1972, she toured with Disney on Parade featured as Minnie Mouse.  After a brief stint with the Radio City Music Hall corps de ballet, Kim joined Eglevsky Ballet in 1975 where she was featured in such ballets as Tarantella, Donizetti Variations, Minkus Pas de Trois,  and Coppelia.  In 1980, she became a rehearsal assistant and ballet mistress for Eglevsky Ballet and Edward Villella and Dancers.  Throughout her career, Kim studied with renowned teacher, Maggie Black, for 20 years.  Upon retiring from the stage in 1984, Kim became a ballet mistress working for Ballet Oklahoma, North Carolina Dance Theater, and the Pennsylvania and MiIwaukee Ballet.  In 1989, she began teaching ballet in New York City, most notably at Steps on Broadway.  Kim has been a guest teacher for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Twyla Tharp Dance, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake on Broadway, Margo Dean’s Ballet Concerto, Chamberlain Ballet, Dallas Ballet Center, and TITAS International Ballet Gala.  At present, Kim teaches a private class for professional dancers in Fort Worth and is a part time faculty member at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas as well as continuing to guest teach at Steps in New York City

Raymond Lukens

Artistic Associate, ABT/ NYU Masters Program
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT Faculty

Presentation: Introductory Workshop in the ABT National Training Curriculum ®

Raymond Lukens studied art at the High School of Music and Art, acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, ballet with Richard Thomas and Barbara Fellis and was a scholarship student at the American Ballet Theatre School. He also studied jazz and acrobatics with Charles Kelley. His professional career started as a Trainee with Harkness Ballet, later joining the American Classical Ballet in Buffalo, New York, where he worked with Bronislava Nijinska, Alica Markova, and Hans Brenaa. As a dancer, Mr. Lukens toured extensively, and performed the works of choreographers such as Nijinska, Peter Van Dyk, Maurice Béjart, George Skibine, Serge Lifar, and the classics of Balanchine, Fokine, Petipa, and Bournonville. While dancing in Europe, he assisted Van Dyk in restaging his ballets.

Upon retiring from the stage, Mr. Lukens obtained the highest teaching qualifications as a pedagogue with the Cecchetti Society in the UK. Together with the JKO School Principal, Franco De Vita, he directed the Hamlyn School of Dance in Florence, Italy. Mr. Lukens returned to the United States upon Kirk Peterson’s invitation to be the ballet master for Hartford Ballet, where he was part of the task force that revised School of Hartford Ballet’s curriculum. Later he was ballet master for Cincinnati Ballet and Alberta Ballet. He has stage Peterson’s and Stanton Welch’s ballets for various companies in the United States.

Other credits include teaching at international seminars throughout the world and in New York for American Ballet Theatre, ABT II, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Ailey School, The Juilliard School, Peridance International, Marymount Manhattan College, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dance Educators of America, and Youth America Grand Prix. He choreographed several works for the JKO School, for students in Italy, for Cecchetti Summer Schools in England, and for two UNICEF galas telecast worldwide via Italian and Dutch television. He coached the Italian Olympic Skating team, translated into Italian Joan Lawson’s book, Ballet Class, and has written articles for several dance publications. Before joining ABT, Mr. Lukens was director of Boston Ballet II and ballet master for Boston Ballet.

Mr. Lukens created the ballet syllabi for the ABT/ NYU MA Program. Together with Franco De Vita, he authored the ABT National Training Curriculum and has been a faculty member of the JKO School at ABT since 2005.

Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.

Artistic Director, Texas Ballet Theater

Presentation: Master Class with Teacher Discussion

This is Ben Stevenson’s sixth year as artistic director of Texas Ballet Theater. For twenty-seven years, he nurtured Houston Ballet from a small provincial ensemble to one of the nation’s largest dance companies that has performed to critical acclaim throughout the world. For his contributions to the world of international dance, Mr. Stevenson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors List in December 1999. In April 2000, he was presented with the Dance Magazine Award, one of the most prestigious honors on the American dance scene. Certainly Mr. Stevenson is one of the most original figures in the development of regional ballet in America. Most recently, Mr. Stevenson became a recipient of the 2005 Texas Medal of Arts Award for dance. And though he is British, it is his achievement as teacher, choreographer, and company director that is rooted in American ballet.

Mr. Stevenson, a native of Portsmouth, England, received his dance training at the Arts Educational School in London. Upon his graduation, Mr. Stevenson was awarded the prestigious Adeline Genee Gold Medal, the highest award given to a dancer by the Royal Academy of Dancing. At the age of eighteen, Mr. Stevenson performed with Alicia Markova in Where the Rainbow Ends and soon after was invited to join the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet by Dame Ninette de Valois, where he worked with Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, and John Cranko. A few years later, Sir Anton Dolin invited him to dance with London Festival Ballet where, as a principal dancer, he performed leading roles in all the classics.

In 1976, Mr. Stevenson was appointed artistic director of Houston Ballet, and since that time, he has built Houston Ballet into one of America’s leading ballet companies. During his tenure, he developed Houston Ballet’s repertory by acquiring the works of the world’s most respected choreographers, commissioning new works, staging the classics and choreographing original works. Mr. Stevenson’s own choreography includes the full length works Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, an original production of Peer Gynt (which opened Norway’s Bergen Festival Gala in 1983), Coppelia, Don Quixote, and original productions of Dracula, The Snow Maiden, and Cleopatra. Mr. Stevenson has received numerous awards for his choreography, including three gold medals at the International Ballet Competitions of 1972, 1982, and 1986. In addition, he has staged his ballets for English National Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, La Scala in Milan, the Munich State Opera Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, London City Ballet, Ballet de Santiago, and for many companies in the United States.

In 1978, Mr. Stevenson traveled to China on behalf of the United States government as part of a cultural exchange program. At the invitation of the Chinese government, he has returned almost every year since to teach at the Beijing Dance Academy. To expose the Chinese students to Western dance forms, Mr. Stevenson has brought with him teachers of jazz and modern dance, including Gwen Verdon. In 1985, he was instrumental in the creation of the Choreographic Department at the Beijing Dance Academy. He is the only foreigner to have been made Honorary Faculty Member of the Beijing Dance Academy and the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. Mr. Stevenson has also taught for the American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet and English National Ballet. In July 2003, Mr. Stevenson became artistic director of Texas Ballet Theater.

 Jennifer Jackson

Presentation: En place: choreographic investigations of the dancer’s somatic knowledge of ballet principle and form – lectures/discussions/studio workshopping

Jennifer Jackson is a Lecturer at Surrey University (UK) where she teaches Ballet, Choreography, History, and Analysis. She also teaches Choreography for the upper division at the Royal Ballet School. Along with Susie Crow, she runs Ballet Independents Group (BIG), which designs activities that include choreographic courses, research and the BIG Discussion Forum. She danced with the Royal Ballet as Soloist, London City Ballet as Principal, Aterballetto (Italy) as Soloist, and with Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet as Senior Soloist and Commissioned Choreographer. Her choreography includes commissioned work for ballet companies, fringe theatre, and vocational students. Her research into new ballet choreography draws on her on-going practical study in Roger Tully’s studio. Recent performance as research includes choreography – The time taken (2008), In the Reveal (2007), Retrieving the Sylph (2005) and dancing – Raft of Reasons (2004/05) with From Here to Maturity Dance Company.