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Ballet Austin Brings Out New Documentary Finding Light Highlighting The Holocaust and Humanity



Ballet Austin is pleased to announce that Finding Light, a documentary detailing the story behind choreographer Stephen Mills’ Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project (Light), received the “Best Documentary” award from both the Berlin Indie Film Festival and the Rome International Movie Awards. The film is also an official selection of notable festivals across the United States and the world, including a world premiere at the prestigious Miami Jewish Film Festival and a screening at the Cannes World Film Festival.

FINDING LIGHT [Official Trailer] from Ballet Austin on Vimeo.

Illuminated through the story of Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren, Finding Light takes the audience on a journey focused on Naomi’s life within three death camps while making relevant connections to current human rights issues through the lens of dance.

The production premiered on April 1, 2005 as a part of Ballet Austin’s 2004/05 season. Since then, Mills has licensed the production to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2009, Colorado Ballet in 2013, and Nashville Ballet in 2018. Ballet Austin toured the ballet nationally in Miami and West Palm Beach and internationally in three cities in Israel (Akko, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem).

The ballet returns to Austin March 31-April 2 at the Long Center for the Performing Arts as a part of Ballet Austin’s current season.

Stephen Mills, Ballet Austin’s Sarah & Ernest Butler Family Fund Artistic Director, developed and choreographed Light; it has been an ongoing project of his for the past 17 years. Mills toured seven concentration camps in Europe in preparation for the creation of Light. He also spoke extensively with Holocaust survivor Naomi Warren, whose story serves as the inspiration for Light. The final result is a full-length contemporary ballet and Holocaust education partnership that promotes the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate through arts, education, and public dialogue.

Mills said of the piece: “Light challenges communities to work collaboratively to consider the ‘difficult knowledge’ presented by the Holocaust. Citizens are asked to hold themselves and each other accountable for any act of disregard for human rights and to learn by studying the ethical, historical and representation issues of the Holocaust through public lectures, a production by Ballet Austin, screenings of Finding Light, as well as other public conversations. In closing, citizens are encouraged to consider how the study of the Holocaust might foster dialogue regarding contemporary issues of genocide, bigotry, and hate.”

The feature documentary shares a behind-the-scenes look at the creation process of the poignant production. The film’s director and producer, Lone Star Emmy®-winning filmmaker Paul Michael Bloodgood, is a former dancer with Ballet Austin and member of the original cast of the dance production. Having been an integral part of the creation and touring of the work, Bloodgood brings a unique first-person perspective to this documentary. “As a filmmaker, the story of the creation of Light was instantly something I wanted to share through the lens of film – but the right timing didn’t reveal itself until 2019. The catastrophic loss endured during the Holocaust can’t possibly be distilled down to a single book or film, but I truly believe in the worldwide effort to continue spreading awareness and keeping community dialogue open concerning social justice and human rights,” Paul Michael Bloodgood says of the project.

Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has dance works in the repertoires of companies across the United States and around the world. From his inaugural season as Artistic Director in 2000, Mills attracted attention from around the United States with his world-premiere production of Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as “…sleek and sophisticated.” The Washington Post recognized Ballet Austin as “one of the nation’s best-kept ballet secrets” in 2004 after Ballet Austin performed Mills’ world premiere of The Taming of the Shrew, commissioned by and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Company was first invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in January of 2002 with the Mills production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and at The Joyce Theater in New York City in 2004. In 2005 after two years of extensive research, Mills led a community- wide human rights collaboration that culminated in the world premiere work Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In 2006, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project was awarded the Audrey & Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award by the Anti-Defamation League. In September of 2013, the work made its international debut with a tour in three cities across Israel.

In 1998, Mills was the choreographer chosen to represent the United States through his work, Ashes, at Les Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris. Most recently, Mills was awarded the Steinberg Award, the top honor at Le Festival des Arts de Saint- Sauveur International Choreographic Competition for One / the body’s grace. Mills has created more than 40 works for companies in the United States and abroad. His ballets are in the repertoires of such companies as Hong Kong Ballet, Ballet Augsburg, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Washington Ballet, Cuballet in Havana, Cuba, BalletMet Columbus, Dayton Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, The Sacramento Ballet, and Dance Kaleidoscope. He has worked in collaboration with such luminaries as the eight-time Grammy Award-winning band, Asleep at the Wheel, Shawn Colvin, and internationally renowned flamenco artist José Greco II.

As a dancer Mills performed with a wide variety of companies such as the world-renowned Harkness Ballet and The American Dance Machine under the direction of Lee Theodore. He also performed with the Cincinnati Ballet and The Indianapolis Ballet Theatre before becoming a part of Ballet Austin. Mills has danced principal roles in the Balanchine repertoire, as well as works by Choo-San Goh, John Butler, Ohad Naharin, Vicente Nebrada, Domy Reiter-Soffer, and Mark Dendy.

In addition to his work as a choreographer, Mills is a master teacher committed to developing dancers. He has been invited as guest faculty at many pre-professional academies including Jacob’s Pillow, Goucher College, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas, The Virginia School of the Arts, The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, Stephens College and Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Mills is a member of the national dance service organization Dance / USA and has served both in leadership roles and on the Board of Trustees for the organization.

Lone Star Emmy®-winning filmmaker Paul Michael Bloodgood enjoyed a career spanning 20 years as a professional ballet dancer with Ballet Austin and Ballet Pacifica, performing in a myriad of principal roles in works such as Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Coppélia, Agon, Allegro Brillante, an original cast member of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, as well as originating “Beast” in Stephen Mills’ Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & The Beast.

Paul Michael has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and the Humanities from St. Edward’s University and is a union stunt performer with recent work in Martin Scorsese’s next film Killers of the Flower Moon starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming Hypnotic starring Ben Affleck, multiple episode appearances on seasons 5-8 of Fear the Walking Dead, and season 2 of Leverage: Redemption. Paul Michael has appeared in major feature films including Michael Bay’s Transformers, Forest Whitaker’s First Daughter starring Katie Holmes and Michael Keaton, Richard Linklater’s Bernie starring Jack Black, and alongside Mena Suvari and Jason Biggs in the Wheatus music video for the film Loser.

Executive produced by Academy Award®-winner, James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back and Forth), Paul Michael’s feature film Trenches of Rock premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival, garnering the attention of festivals worldwide, receiving 14 accolades including multiple “Best Feature Documentary” and “Best Director” awards (available on iTunes / Amazon / Google Play / DirecTV). Paul Michael collaborated with choreographer Stephen Mills on the Lone Star Emmy®-winning dance film, Preludes/Beginnings which premiered on Austin PBS. A member of SAG-AFTRA since 2003 and a 4-time Austin Critics Table Award recipient, Paul Michael credits his extensive background in film, music, and dance for his approach to creative storytelling.

Tickets for Ballet Austin’s upcoming live production of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project are on sale now. Visit to reserve seats online, or contact Ballet Austin’s Box Office at 512.476.2163, weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. CT for personalized assistance.

Finding Light New York Theatrical Screening: Feb. 18th @12:30pm. Q&A w/film director, Paul Michael Bloodgood and dance choreographer, Stephen Mills at Cinema Village (22 E 12th St.)

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


Rockefeller Center presents Ice Theatre of New York, Inc



Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY) is proud to hit the ice at The Rink at Rockefeller Center on March 23, 2023 at 12:30pm with ITNY Ensemble members Liz Yoshiko Schmidt and Danil Berdnikov performing Lorna Brown’s Timelessness. For more information, visit

Choreography by Lorna Brown
Performed by Liz Yoshiko Schmidt and Danil Berdnikov
Music: Nocturne in D Flat Major “Un Rêve” by Brooklyn composer/pianist Eric Christian
Commissioned by ITNY for the upcoming Home Season and Gala in May 2023
A duet by ITNY ice artists Liz Yoshiko Schmidt and Danil Berdnikov, the piece explores “Timelessness.” This piece will preview at Bryant Park before its performance at ITNY’s Home Season and Gala.
“Every shape that my body can make… flowing from one movement to another, being able to see yourself in yourself in your mind’s eye… connected with every creature that has lived or died,” said Lorna Brown.
Danil Berdnikov hails from the city of Samara, Russia, from which he competed as part of the junior national team as well as across his vast native land through high school. He then moved to Moscow both to continue his education and to join Stage Entertainment Russia to begin performing as a skater. Performing for an audience allowed Danil to fall in love with skating in a new way and his career has blossomed over eight years with Willy Bietak Productions and Wheeler Productions in the United States, Stageworks Worldwide Production in the UK and Holiday on Ice Productions and Dynamic Shows Entertainment in the EU. ITNY welcomes Danil as an artist, grateful to his parents, coaches, choreographers, and the fellow skaters who have supported him along the way.
Elizabeth (Liz) Yoshiko Schmidt has been skating with ITNY since 2017. Luscious edges, artistic dynamic movement, and traditional ice dancing and fundamentals in figures inform her skating and professional career which began in 2013, at the age of 18, performing internationally in Germany, France, Austria, Egypt and across the United States. A Japanese/German American skater who hails from Chicago, IL, she recently moved from San Francisco, CA, to New York City. A U.S. Figure Skating double gold medalist in Freestyle and Moves in the Field, and a silver medalist in Ice Dancing, Liz received her BFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2018, and has exhibited her paintings and art work across the Bay Area. Liz took Jazz Fusion dance class at the Alonzo King Lines Dance Center in San Francisco from Lynn Brilhante for 7 years. Her former skating coaches are: Lorna Brown, Beata Handra, Paul Spruell, Phillip DiGuglielmo, Louis Vachon, Audra Shindo-Chan, and most importantly Larry Holliday (African American 6x US Adult Nationals Campionship champion, former Ebony on Ice performer and her first coach).
Lorna Brown, a British and World Professional Champion and World and Olympic coach, has been a principal performer in numerous ice shows across the globe, including John Curry’s Ice Dancing on Broadway and Theatre of Skating at the London Palladium. She has appeared in TV specials, touring galas, and commercials worldwide and has studied contemporary dance, working with some of the world’s leading choreographers. She has coached and choreographed for over 50 national champions including two world professional champions. Lorna most recently choreographed for Emanuel Sandhu, (three-time Canadian Champion), Kevin Van Der Perren (Belgium Champion, two-time European medalist and 2011 silver medalist in Bratislava and Skate America) and Jenna McCorkell (10-time British Champion). Lorna has given workshops on all aspects of figure skating at National and International seminars for both skaters and coaches. She has produced and directed her own international skating school in the UK called Skate of the Art with the world-famous Rafael Arutunian. She specializes in the latest physics and aerodynamics in skating techniques, focuses a great deal on expression and style in her choreography, and has written several articles for skating magazines on these subjects. Lorna moved to the USA several years ago, has been awarded the PSA Level 7 ranking and holds a Bachelor’s in sports science. “Timelessness” is Lorna’s second commission for ITNY.
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Tiler Peck, Melissa Manchester, Melissa Errico, Lisa Fischer and More In Song, Dance, Spoken Word



In honor of Women’s History Month, The Cooper Union is organizing a series of talks, exhibitions, and programs, culminating on Saturday, March 18 with a star-studded evening featuring headliners from across the worlds of dance, music, and theatre.

Song, Dance, Spoken Word is an exhilarating celebration that includes powerful performances by New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck; singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester; Tony Award-nominated Broadway actress Melissa Errico; Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Lisa Fischer; comedian and The Cooper Union alumna Alice Wetterlund; groundbreaking performance ensemble Urban Bush Women; and American tap dancer and choreographer Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, among many others.

Tickets are $15 and you could get them here.

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Great Performances 50th Anniversary Concert Special With Sutton Foster, Chita Rivera and More



Great Performances will continue its 50th anniversary season on PBS with Great Performances at 50: Celebrating Broadway’s Best, a celebration of Broadway in the past 50 years hosted by two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster performed from Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.

The performance will be staged by Tony-winning director-choreographer Warren Carlyle, with Patrick Vaccariello (The Music Man) as music director and written b Tony Awards veteran Dave Boone.

The star-studded show will be taped live from Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater on March 23. The special will premier Friday, May 12 on PBS and include performances by André de Shields, Robyn Hurder, Jane Krakowski, Norm Lewis, Donna McKechnie, Betty Buckley, Jessie Mueller, Chita Rivera, Vanessa Williams and many more.

This special concert will be followed by the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III starring Danai Gurira on Friday, May 19th..

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