The Eglevsky Ballet board of directors recently announced that Maurice Brandon Curry has been appointed the company’s executive artistic director. He is the seventh artistic director in the history of this organization and comes to Eglevsky Ballet with a wealth of experience as a performing artist, educator and administrator. Curry’s new position will encompass roles in management and development, as well as establishing and executing curriculum, policy and procedure for Eglevsky Ballet and its expanding programs. Prior to joining the Eglevsky Ballet, he was the chairperson of the dance department at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. In addition, he was director of educational programs at the Joffrey Ballet School. He has served on the faculties of New York University, University of South Carolina, The Ailey School and at various institutions around the country as a guest instructor. He has also taught, adjudicated and coached internationally at festivals and many prestigious academies, including Virginia School of the Arts, Alabama School of Fine Arts, West Virginia Dance Festival, BC Annual Dance Festival, Tri-State Youth Invitational, Pebblebrook High School, Columbia Ballet School, Regional Dance America Northeast Region Festival, and the Prix de Lausanne.
Curry began his training with Ned Williams and continued at the School of American Ballet. He also trained with Ann Brodie, then artistic director of Columbia City Ballet in South Carolina. As a dancer, he performed with Columbia City Ballet, New York City Ballet and as a guest artist with many companies around the world. Curry later became the artistic director of Kentucky Repertory Dance Theatre in Lexington, KY, and in 1988, he was named the South Carolina Artist of the Year by the Columbia Arts Council.
Curry has earned a noted reputation as a dance educator. This is supported by the number of his students who have been accepted into prestigious academies, apprenticeships, universities, and companies. His former students have or are currently dancing with The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Columbia City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Dutch National Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Smuin Ballet, MOMIX, numerous regional ballet and modern companies, on Broadway, in film and television and international and national tours.
Also recognized for his contributions to musical theater as a director and/or choreographer he has helmed regional productions of West Side Story, 42nd Street, Oliver, and Sweet Charity as director/choreographer. He also opened the $4.5 million renovation of Queens Theater in the Park with Too Marvelous for Words, a revue conceived, directed and choreographed by Curry and cited by critics for its show-stopping choreography. For his company, Jazz Dance America, and in collaboration with Gene Kelly, he also had the pleasure of staging Kelly’s version of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.
“I am thrilled to become a part of the Eglevsky Ballet,” Curry said. “The history of this organization is rooted firmly in Andre Eglevsky’s vision of a professional ballet academy and company in Long Island. With a 21st century approach and the assistance of numerous colleagues in the dance world, I happily accept this challenge and look forward to the opportunities I will be able to provide these young artists.”
One of those colleagues Curry has reached out to is former American Ballet Theatre principal and Tony Award nominee (Movin’ Out), Ashley Tuttle. Tuttle will serve as Eglevsky’s first artist-in-residence for the 2015-16 season. Ashley Tuttle was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre at the age of 16. As a prima ballerina with ABT, Tuttle‘s career spanned 17 years. She is known for her pure classicism and vivid characterizations. Her performances prove memorable and enriching. Ms. Tuttle’s repertoire at ABT included such roles as Juliet in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the title role in Giselle, Nikiya in Natalia Makarova’s staging of La Bayadere, and the technically demanding role of Odette/Odile in Kevin McKenzie’s Swan Lake. Her repertoire ranged from works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Agnes de Mille, Antony Tudor and William Forsythe to name a few.
“Having someone of Ashley Tuttle’s pedigree as a part of our faculty at Eglevsky Ballet is a phenomenal opportunity for our students,” Curry explained. “I have known Ms. Tuttle since she was a child and had the pleasure of watching her artistry develop. Professionally, I have worked with her as a choreographer and she has served as a ballet mistress for me on numerous works. Dancers love working with her because she is so giving with her knowledge. I cannot imagine venturing into this new territory without her invaluable assistance and dance acumen.”
Curry has also enlisted the resources of Janice Barringer. As a performer for 20 years, she was principal dancer with Baltimore Ballet, the Maryland Ballet, and the Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, and performed with The New York Dance Theater. Later, she and her partner, Edward Stewart, appeared as guest artists in companies around the country and at Kennedy Center. During her career, Barringer was spotlighted in a Public Television special, Dance in America, was in performances honoring two U.S. Presidents, and a dancer in The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in educational concerts.
Barringer is also a highly sought published author. In 1990, the first edition of The Pointe Book (about pointe shoes and pointe training, written by Barringer) was published by Princeton Book Company. Since then she has written the second and third editions, as well as coauthored a book, En Pointe, with Thalia Mara about pointe shoes and the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. She has also written approximately 50 articles and nine cover stories for Dancer, Dance, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit and Pointe magazines. In 2013 the third edition of The Pointe Book was printed in Japanese.
Creator of many musical CDs for use in ballet classes with accompanying instructional DVD’s, Barringer is also the author of a ninth-grade Ballet Syllabus for MusicWorks, headquartered in Los Angeles.
As a teacher, Barringers has taught for Harkness House, Ballet Hispanico, Steps on Broadway and The Ailey School, as well as been guest master teacher in many schools in the U.S., Canada, China and the Towson State University summer program. She is presently part of the faculty at Pace University’s Commercial Dance Department in New York City.