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.”
“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.”