Statement of Responsibility:
Interviewer, Rose Anne Thom.
Interview with Ethan Stiefel conducted by Rose Anne Thom on July 9, 2012 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in New York City, as part of the Speaking of Dancing Oral History Project.
Creation/production credits :
Video production and post-production, François Bernadi.
Interviewee, Ethan Stiefel.
Videotaped at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, July 9, 2012.
The recording of this interview was made possible by a gift from Anne H. Bass.
Ethan Stiefel, who retired as a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) July 7, 2012, is interviewed by Rose Anne Thom. Stiefel begins by speaking about his farewell performance and his thoughts on leaving ABT. He then discusses how he began dancing, his early training, when he realized that he wanted to have a career in dance; the influence of teacher Stanley Williams at the School of American Ballet; his time as a member of New York City Ballet, and why he left the company; his interest in dancing full-length story ballets; his method of developing roles; his working relationship with Kevin McKenzie, artistic director of ABT; his favorite roles; how he approaches dancing non-narrative ballets; his thoughts on having choreography made on him; his experiences working with choreographers William Forsythe and Twyla Tharp. Stiefel speaks next about how he began teaching dance, first at a summer program on Martha's Vineyard and then as Dean of the North Carolina School of the Arts; his new role as artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet; his acting role in the motion picture Center stage; why he chose not to pursue more roles in movies; critical observations on his quality of "boyish charm"; his hobby of motorcycle riding; his relationship with Gillian Murphy; his experiences dancing with various partners. Finally, Stiefel returns to the subject of his farewell performance.