Artistic Director – Graham Lustig
An internationally recognized choreographer and teacher, Mr. Lustig danced with the Dutch National Ballet and the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet before embarking on a freelance choreographic career that has encompassed more than sixty works over four continents. Sought after by companies as diverse as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, Northern Ballet Theatre, Hong Kong Ballet, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and the Sacramento Ballet, his repertoire ranges from the tongue-in-cheek sophistication of Paramour, to the wildly imaginative, dramatically costumed Pomp, created for North Carolina Dance Theatre. Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times shared these words about his work, Evening: “The choreography is never less than eye-riveting: a fine ballet resonating with life’s solitude.”
In 1999 he was appointed the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Ballet and it’s affiliated school, the Princeton Ballet School. He held that position for eleven years, making him the longest serving Artistic Director in the company’s thirty-one year history. During three different periods he also served as the acting Executive Director. At ARB he expanded the Education and Outreach programs, strengthening the previously established Dance Power program with a new syllabus. Mr. Lustig brought American Repertory Ballet to prestigious New York City venues such as the Joyce Theatre and Symphony Space and choreographed eleven new works for the company, including VISTA, Dialogues, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Beauty and the Beast, and The Nutcracker, which premiered in 2000. “Graham Lustig whips up a delicious Nutcracker” Robert Johnson, The Star Ledger. In addition, he lead choreographic workshops with both company dancers and school students.
Outside of ARB, Mr. Lustig created Six Pianos for Configuration Dance Theatre, Fanfare for Singapore Dance Theatre, Between Stillness for the Louisville Ballet, Yield as part of the National Choreographers Initiative in Irvine, California, and he has choreographed the operas Aida for Boheme Opera, Eugene Onegin for Cleveland Opera, and most recently Handel’s Ariodante for the Princeton Festival. The Washington Ballet chose him as its distinguished Choreographer-in-Residence, he has further created a modern retelling of Cinderella set to the Prokofiev music for the Singapore Dance Theatre, and Medrano, for the American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company. In 2007 he directed and choreographed West Side Story.
In 2003, Mr. Lustig was invited to become a charter member of the Artists Council for Americans for the Arts in Washington, DC. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of the Princeton Festival and the Terpsichore Theatre of Dance and has served as a panelist for the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and numerous times for the National Endowment for the Arts. In August of this year Mr. Lustig was named as part-time Artistic Director of the Oakland Ballet Company.
Artistic Associate – Bat Abbit
Bat Abbit’s professional dance career ranges from ballet to modern to musical theatre. He began his professional ballet career in the Music City with the Nashville Ballet. After several seasons, he moved to Charlotte, NC where he became a soloist with North Carolina Dance Theatre performing leading roles in works by Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Peter Pucci, and George Balanchine. After joining the American Repertory Ballet in 2000, his roles expanded from Soloist to Ballet Master to Company Manager and Rehearsal Director. He created the memorable role of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was the original creator of Fritz and the Nutcracker in Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker.
In 2003, he joined the Artistic Staff of ARB as a Ballet Master where he maintained the works of Twyla Tharp as well as assisted choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Amy Seiwert, and Graham Lustig in the creation of new works. As Rehearsal Director he restaged Graham Lustig’s Evening, and Cinderella for Singapore Dance Theatre, Cantata for the students of the University of Wyoming, and assisted in the staging of Salvatore Aiello’s Rite of Spring. Mr. Abbit’s performing career as taken him to the musical theatre stage where he performed in productions of Damn Yankees, South Pacific, and Music Man with featured roles in 42nd Street, as Billy Lawlor, and Fiddler on the Roof, as the Fiddler.
As a choreographer, Mr. Abbit has created works for American Repertory Ballet: Catch Me, Vertical Time (a site-specific work performed at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey) and co-choreographed Worlds End, Worlds Begin with Graham Lustig. The Carolina Ballet has produced and performed his original production/choreography of Coppelia, Bending Towards the Light and A Jazz Nativity. In Nashville, Tennessee, his pas de deux, Into the Light, won the Nashville Dance Project’s Choreographers’ Competition. Bat has created two ballets specifically for Education and Outreach young audiences based on the popular children’s stories: Jump, Frog, Jump! and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Bat is an accomplished dance instructor having served on faculty at the School of the Nashville Ballet, Vanderbilt University, Western Kentucky University, DancePlace-the official school of the North Carolina Dance Theatre, the Princeton Ballet School, and Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. He currently teaches the Boys and Men’s classes at lustigdancetheatre Dance and Wellness Studio.
Mr. Abbit holds a B.F.A. from Western Kentucky University and is a Board Member of Artists Now, a Highland Park based arts advocacy group.
Marketing & Development Associate – Alina Roy
Alina Roy joined Lustig Dance Theatre September 2014 as Marketing and Development Associate. As a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, Alina has applied and developed her marketing and public relations background to two successful start-ups in fitness and online media industries before her position at Lustig Dance Theatre. She remains excited to combine her love of the arts and creative interests through her role at LDT.
Director of Education – Rachel Abrams
Rachel Abrams earned her Master’s degree in Dance Education from New York University in 2013, following her magna cum laude graduation from Barnard College in 2008 as a dance major. She began training in ballet over 20 years ago. Rachel has assisted dance historian Jennifer Homans on research about New York City Ballet and its founder, George Balanchine. She also interned in the Education Department at New York City Ballet and even worked as a children’s librarian for three years. Rachel is dedicated to sharing with others her passion for dance and the performing arts through education and outreach programs.
School Principal – Peggy Petteway
Peggy Petteway is a magna cum laude graduate of Florida State University. Born in Orlando, she began her training at the School of Performing Arts and continued through the apprentice program of Southern Ballet Theatre under the direction of Barbara Riggins.
Ms. Petteway has danced principal roles in a wide range of classical and contemporary ballets with Bay Ballet Theatre, Southern Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Chautauqua Dance Company, and Pennsylvania Ballet.
From 1999-2010 Ms. Petteway danced for American Repertory Ballet under artistic director Graham Lustig. At ARB she appeared in The Eyes That Gently Touch, Opposites Distract, Lambarena, – a part between parts –, and Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite and Bakers Dozen. Her ravishing line and musicality were featured in Lustig’s Borderlines, Paramour, Silkscreens, and Uncertain Steps while her comic talents seen as Regina in Cinderella, Bianca in The Shrew, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She created roles in Amy Seiwert’s Monopoly, Kirk Peterson’s Fandango Furioso and Roses and Clover, and many of Mr. Lustig’s works, most recently she was honored with his creation of Caprice.
We are very excited to welcome Peggy into our administrative staff as our new School Principle!