Pic of the Week: En Pointe

Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Sue Knapp-Steen takes in the new Library of Congress exhibition about the professional dance company. 20104. Photo by Ashley Jones.

Former American Ballet Theatre dancer Sue Knapp-Steen takes in the new Library of Congress exhibition about the professional dance company. 20104. Photo by Ashley Jones.

Last week, the Library of Congress opened the exhibition “American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years,” which highlights the dance company’s distinguished history and its collection here at the Library. Shortly after the opening, ABT alum Sue Knapp-Steen (1969-1974) stopped by to view the exhibition and reminisce on her time as a professional dancer with the company during the 1970s.

While with the ballet company, Knapp-Steen toured throughout the United States and Europe, performing the works of choreographers Agnes De Mille, George Balanchine,  Michel Fokine, Leonide Massine, Antony Tudor and Kenneth MacMillan in ballets such as “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Giselle” and “Rodeo.”

Knapp-Steen is actually “featured” in the exhibition itself, in a photograph for a 1960 production of De Mille’s “Rodeo.”

Sue Knapp-Steen. October 1971. Photograph by Ken Duncan. Photo courtesy of Sue Knapp-Steen.

Sue Knapp-Steen. October 1971. Photograph by Ken Duncan. Photo courtesy of Sue Knapp-Steen.

“With time’s passage since dancing with ABT, I now realize that the 1960-70s in the world of dance included memorable dancers and ballet companies that flourished, given the burgeoning interest and support for dance in the U.S.,” Knapp-Steen said. “ABT’s international largess of repertoire, choreographers and dancers was a primal force at this time of cross-cultural sharing on all levels. The mix of ABT’s very American-spirited, theatrical works combined with its presentation of timeless story ballets such as ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Sleeping Beauty’ afforded dancers with ABT its most unique artistic allure.

“Now with ABT’s 75th anniversary, the company continues its dedication to this same spirit of communication and understanding amongst its peers and audiences.”

One Comment

  1. Sue Knapp-Steen
    August 20, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Special thanks to Donna Urschel and Erin Allen in the Public Affairs Office Library of Congress for their hospitality during my visit to ABT’s Exhibit. Congratulations also to Rachel Moore, ABT’s Chief Executive Officer, for her collaboration in the donation of ABT items to the Library’s collection.
    I kindly also wish to offer a photo credit for the Rodeo photo referenced in this blog entry. Pictured in the photo’s foreground: Terry Orr, in the role of The Champion Roper and Christine Sarry, as The Cowgirl. Additional ABT members performing behind the lead dancers: ( from L. to R.) Jan Fisher, Gaudio Vacacio, Sue Knapp (-Steen), William Carter, Susan Jones, Frank Smith, Amy Blaisdell, and Jonas Kage

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