“...As a dancer, Stephanie Saland inhabited each role bringing to it a glowing life with every step, every gesture. To watch her was to understand what artistry is. As a teacher she is as unparalleled as she was in her dancing. Dance becomes understandable when touched by Stephanie. It also becomes magic.”
Contributing Arts Editor, LA & NY Times
Stephanie Saland was born in Brooklyn, New York and entered The School of American Ballet at age 15. Three years later she was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet in time to participate in the historic Stravinsky Festival in 1972. She sustained 21-year career with the company, dancing a major portion of the Balanchine repertoire as well as principal roles in the works of Jerome Robbins.
Stephanie has appeared on television in the PBS program “Choreography by Balanchine” (part of the Dance in America series), followed by “Apollo” with Baryshnikov and ABT, as well as a telecast of Peter Martin’s collaboration with “Ray Charles in Concert with the New York City Ballet”. Her last televised performance was in the “Vienna Waltzes” section of the “Balanchine Celebration” on PBS in 1993. Stephanie’s frequent association with Jerome Robbins led to a showcase of her work in “Fancy Free” and “Antique Epigraphs” in another “Live from Lincoln Center” production.
As a guest performer, Ms.Saland danced with Rudolph Nureyev at the Gershwin Theater in New York and performed “Giselle” with Alexander Gudonov in Miami. At Playwrights’ Horizons in New York she taught movement for student actors. In addition she co-taught and helped develop a body-awareness class for actors with theater teacher Caymichael Patten, before moving to Seattle in the fall of 1993.
Since finishing her performance career, Stephanie moved on to teaching ballet for varying levels of students and professionals. The programs and companies she has taught for include The New York State program in Saratoga, The Kansas City Ballet, The San Diego Ballet and Ballet Argentino in Buenos Aires (the company of Julio Bocca). She also guest teaches at “Steps” in NYC and for the American Academy of Ballet, and for Princeton Dance Theater…the school of American Ballet Theater’s ballerina, Susan Jaffe. In Denmark, Stephanie has taught numerous times for the Bartholin International Summer Program and at Dansens Hus. In the fall of 1999 Ms.Saland guest taught for her former company, The New York City Ballet. In 2003 she had the pleasure to teach at Alonzo Kings’ San Francisco Dance Center. Stephanie taught for three weeks in Madrid for La Compania Nacional de Danza of Nacho Duato and for two other Conservatories and traveled to various schools in Mexico to offer classes. She has joined a wonderful roster of teachers each summer for the American Academy of Ballet, run by Mignon Furman.
In 1998 Ms.Saland initiated a movement class for opera singers for the season of the “Young Artists” program at the Seattle Opera. She also taught for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, in the open program and for variations in the upper levels. Currently Ms.Saland offers ongoing ballet classes at “Velocity” on Capitol Hill in Seattle, as well as the International Ballet Theater in Kirkland, WA.
Additionally, she has taken part teaching for the Dutch Dance Festival in Sittard, in the south of Holland. Since1997 to the present Ms.Saland has maintained an ongoing connection between Seattle and Los Angeles teaching for the “City of Angels Ballet”, an academy located in L.A. targeting an immigrant community in one of the most densely populated areas of the city. In the fall of 2007 Stephanie taught Master Classes at the Marlborough School for Girls in Los Angeles, and for an Intensive in Long Beach, CA.
Ms.Saland has also been active as a judge and teacher with the Youth America Grand Prix and as a presenter for two International Dance Medicine Conferences.
Recently, she was interviewed for an upcoming documentary for Dance in America on the life of Jerome Robbins and will also be on a panel in San Francisco for “Words on Dance” along with Edward Villella, Helgi Tomassen and Robert LaFosee. In November of 2007, Ms.Saland taught company class and assisted in rehearsals in Vancouver with Ballet BC.
Stephanie’s classes are a distillation of a long performance career and the integration of information derived from having worked one-on-one with Balanchine, Robbins and her colleagues. Some of her strongest influences were from teachers such as Stanley Williams, Maggie Black and Tina Bernal. She was equally inspired and informed through other non-ballet sources: White Cloud Yoga (Gyrotonics), Pilates, Zeena Romett floor barre and years of a variety of modalities including cranial-sacral, physical therapy, network chiropractic, soma and Aston Patterning.
Her philosophy about movement and its’ applications has been most eloquently stated by one of her students…
“Over the years in Ms.Saland’s teaching, she has shared the depths of her dedication to her craft and I have been grateful to be in her classes. It is obvious to me that she has spent her life studying the nuances and the quality of movement, as well as the science of how the body can communicate tragedy, comedy, joy and bewilderment. I have often felt that she could have stopped pushing herself to find more and better ways to understand the body, but she doesn’t. She is on a constant quest for information that will crystallize the life within us and help us communicate it on stage and off.”