Coup d’Espace

Child of a jazz composer/producer father and writer mother, and raised in Soho, Stefanie Batten Bland exhibits a unique blend of African American flamboyance and European sensibility.

Artist Bio

Housed under the big top, Coup d’Espace continues Stefanie Batten Bland’s work and research in historical human exhibition and spatial separation. A large-scale multidisciplinary work, Coup d’Espace will expand upon Company SBB’s immersive physical-theater practice and is based in observation, with audience as both onlookers and participants, nestled under the soft, penetrable walls of a tent. In our park, which can exist in both indoor and outdoor settings, choice and behavior center our shared stories of identity and the many journeys we make in a lifetime. This work examines human behaviors and the way different people navigate within changing spaces to reveal structural systems in which our individual identity biases are explored, struggled with, or maintained. The ordinary is the extraordinary as each soft, flowing material sectional is created to explore sociopolitical issues. Participants, grounded in free will, visit a series of scenes where physical, sonic, full worlds unfold—leading us to explore our own kinetic empathy toward self and our contemporary color narratives.

Award Year

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Creative Capital Carnival 2023

Stefanie Batten Bland headshot

Stefanie Batten Bland

New York, NY

The child of a jazz composer/producer father and writer mother, and raised in SoHo when it was still led by artists, Stefanie Batten Bland was clearly destined for a future in the arts. A global artist, Batten Bland interrogates contemporary and historical cultural symbolism– their categories of cultural identifiers, and how these identities influence human relationships. Her work is at the intersection of dance-theatre, film, and immersive experience. Undeterred by convention, the emotional content of Batten Bland’s choreography is directly accessible, and its social and philosophical message is visceral.

Batten Bland established her company, Company SBB, in France in 2008 while positioned as head choreographer at the Paris Opéra Comique. Upon returning to New York City, she received the support of Mikhail Baryshnikov as a part of the esteemed residency program at Baryshnikov Arts Center, where she continues to present work. Before establishing her own company, Batten Bland danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Tanztheater Wüppertal Pina Bausch, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, Hungarian choreographer Pal Frenák, and creator Georges Momboye of the Côte d’Ivoire. Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, Batten Bland served as movement director for Eve’s Song at The Public Theater, and is currently casting and movement director for Emursive Productions, as well as their performance and identity consultant for Sleep No More. Her choreography is currently in active repertory at American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey II, Transitions Dance Company in the UK, and Frontier Danceland in Singapore. Company SBB has been presented at BAM Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center Restart Stages, Bates Dance Festival, Celebrity Series (Boston), Modlin Center for the Arts (Richmond, VA), Mason Gross Dance Center at Rutgers University, The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, Duke Performances, PEAK Performances, La MaMa Experimental Theater and internationally at the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Danse à Lille in France, and Tanztendenzen in Germany.

Batten Bland has created for fashion and lifestyle partners Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermès, and Guerlain. She has created 14 dance cinema films that have been shown in international festivals in South Africa, Buenos Aires, Greece, and Germany. Her latest dance film, Kolonial, has received seven U.S. and international film awards, and was nominated for three Bessie Awards. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Dance Magazine, Marie Claire, and Dance Europe. She is the September 2023 Dance Magazine cover artist.

In 2021, Batten Bland was awarded a New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Production Grant for her work Embarqued: Stories of Soil. She is the recipient of grants and awards from NYSCA and Harkness Foundation for her new work Coup d’Espace. Other awards include a Jerome Robbins Award, a Bessie Schönberg Fellowship at The Yard, and a Toulmin Creator Fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU.

Batten Bland is the artistic director and founder of CONCRETE. This three-week intensive explores the hyphenated dance genre of physical theatre and how these techniques function inside kinesthetic awareness in immersive theatre settings at Montclair State University. She received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College and is currently an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance.