Program: Boston Dance Theater

The Carol Kaye Project

November 11 & 12, 2022  
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston 

Note from Jessie Jeanne Stinnett, Boston Dance Theater Founder and Co–Artistic Director 

The Carol Kaye Project is Boston Dance Theater’s (BDT) newest program that celebrates seminal bassist Carol Kaye. Since the early 1960s Kaye recorded an estimated 10,000 sessions, with everyone from The Beach Boys to Marvin Gaye, yet she remains relatively unknown. Boston Dance Theater chose choreographers Karole Armitage, Rena Butler, and Rosie Herrera to honor Kaye’s extensive musical repertoire. I’m humbled to contribute a fourth work to this program, set to a commissioned music score featuring the electric bass, by my brother and collaborator, Grant Stinnett. As a diverse cohort of powerhouse American women choreographers, the creators of our works embody Kaye’s genius through sweaty, whimsical, and thoughtful choreography. 

Kaye’s work as an educator and author has shaped and developed generations of bass players. BDT extends our appreciation to the following bassists who participated in interviews about Kaye’s legacy. During the show, you will hear the following voices: Steve Bailey (Berklee College Bass Department Chair), Dave Buda (Berklee College Bass Faculty, Boston Pops), Annie Clements (Amos Lee, Sugarland), Mike Gordon (Phish), Grant Stinnett (No Treble magazine Fast-Rising Star), and Victor Wooten (Béla Fleck and the Flecktones). 

Dance Magazine recently acknowledged the project’s innovation, adding BDT to its Top 25 to Watch in 2021. Chief Editor Jennifer Stahl writes, “By consistently making these kinds of savvy curatorial choices—and pulling them off with finesse—BDT's quickly grown into a company with appeal far beyond Boston's city limits.” 

After spending over a year creatively navigating the pandemic arts lockdown, BDT returned to the ICA stage in October 2021 with the first iteration of The Carol Kaye Project, premiering For the Record by Rena Butler and Ofrenda by Rosie Herrera. In March 2022 the Seattle International Dance Festival invited BDT to perform Butler’s and Herrera’s pieces. Ofrenda was performed again at Jacob’s Pillow’s iconic outdoor Henry J. Leir Stage in August of 2022, and this weekend Global Arts Live is presenting the first evening-length show of The Carol Kaye Project, including the premieres of Carol/Karole by Karole Armitage and Legacy by Jessie Jeanne Stinnett. 

The project has been built in close collaboration with BDT’s all-star team of core dance artists. Numerous press critics have acknowledged their artistic excellence, including WBUR: “Some of the best contemporary dance the nation has to offer,” Boston Magazine: “moves you don’t want to miss,” and the Boston Globe: “the dancers continue to impress with committed, technically skilled performances.” 

BDT is grateful to our partners at Movement Arts Creation Studio, Brookline Ballet School, the Dance Complex, Movement Arts Gloucester MA, and Vineyard Arts Project for facilitating residencies dedicated to the creation of these pieces. We’re also thankful to Live Arts Boston at The Boston Foundation + The MAP Fund for grants awarded to this project. I’m incredibly proud of the work that we’ve done together and cannot wait to share this distinctive program with you tonight. I hope you enjoy the performance! —Jessie Jeanne Stinnett 


Choreography: Karole Armitage 
Costume design and realization: Zane Kealey, Grace Saathoff 
Music: Carol Kaye, Sonny and Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Lalo Schifrin, Michael Barracato
Duration: 12:42 minutes, 5 dancers 
Commissioned by Boston Dance Theater November 2022 

“My dance is an homage to Carol Kaye. I discovered her genius thanks to Jessie Stinnett, who dreamed up Boston Dance Theater's Carol Kaye Project. Carol possesses that rare artistic ability to combine the highest level of innovation and sophistication with something so natural and fundamental that it almost goes unnoticed. Her music attracts you like a magnet and so that you don't even know what is happening to you. It is, in the deepest sense, truly populist and accessible while operating at a rarified level. I sought to create a lively, fun, and serious work through four of her iconic songs. Carol/Karole addresses the cultural context of the worlds of Motown, pop, TV series, and movies while exploring a new dance vocabulary and diving deeply into the way dance relates to music. It is set in motion by a situation—a performance art–like collage of amps, chairs, instruments, and bits of costume. Dance is a force of pleasure, a force of life, and carries with it the nuances of culture. The way that dancers move, the way that a dancer's inner life is registered as they feel movement and hear the music, the way dancers relate to each other—these differences and subtleties create a world onstage that mirrors the world of the audience. I hope the audience finds enjoyment in listening, looking, and feeling.” —Karole Armitage 

For the Record 
Choreography: Rena Butler 
Costume design and realization: Zane Kealey 
Music: Carol Kaye, Kendrick Lamar, Frank and Nancy Sinatra  
Duration: 14 minutes, 6 dancers 
Commissioned by Boston Dance Theater July 2020 
Premiered October 21, 2022, at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, presented by Global Arts Live 

For the Record, created by African-American choreographer Rena Butler, is a work that examines the discography of bass musician Carol Kaye and the scale of her contributions and influence from the past until now. The work references repeated patterns and the various ways a patriarchal society often overlooks substantial voices by othering them. This work was the first piece commissioned for Boston Dance Theater’s Carol Kaye Project and was created during the global pandemic. 

Choreography: Rosie Herrera in collaboration with the dancers
Costume realization: Zane Kealey 
Sound/audio advisor: Ross LaBrie 
Lighting design and realization: Christopher Annas-Lee 
Music: Carole Kaye, Arca, David Axelrod, Vikki Carr, Mel Carter, Barbra Streisand
Duration: 23 mins, 6 dancers 
Commissioned by Boston Dance Theater May 2021 
Premiered October 21, 2022, at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, presented by Global Arts Live 

Ofrenda is the second work commissioned for Boston Dance Theater's Carol Kaye Project. While Cuban-American choreographer Rosie Herrera has intentionally left her work with no official description, hallmarks of her playful yet spiritually resonant choreographic practice seep through via images of motherhood, desire, sacrifice, and "just getting on with it." The longest section of the work is a solo in which the performer wears layers and layers of clothing that seem to take forever to remove, to reveal what lies beneath. 

Choreography: Jessie Jeanne Stinnett 
Costume design and realization: Zane Kealey, Sophia Barmidze
Dramaturgy: Sarah Anne Stinnett 
Music: Grant Stinnett 
Duration: 15:49 minutes, 6 dancers 
Commissioned by Boston Dance Theater August 2022 

My piece is an exploration of the ways in which Carol Kaye's musical legacy has touched me growing up in a family of bass players, and how the bass lives on through my dancing with the artists of Boston Dance Theater. The work is made in collaboration with my brother, Grant Stinnett, who is a producer, composer, and virtuoso solo bassist. Together, our work honors the memory of our father, Jim Stinnett, who was a distinguished bassist, author of more than 96 music education books, and mentor to thousands of players around the world. Like Carol Kaye, Dad knew that the rhythm section’s groove is powerful. The drums and bass bring buoyancy and joy—as they have done for millennia—into a world that is heavy and at times filled with grief. The bass has the magic to inspire us, to make us want to bop our heads, or just to get up and dance. That spirit is the bedrock of this piece. 

Choreographers and Artistic Directors

Karole Armitage (Choreographer) is Artistic Director of New York–based Armitage Gone! Dance, was rigorously trained in classical ballet, and is renowned for pushing boundaries to create contemporary works that blend dance, music, science, and the visual arts. She worked at major European institutions throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, including directing the 45-member MaggioDanza ballet company of Florence, Italy; directing the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Dance; serving as resident choreographer for the Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy, France; and more. She has directed operas and created new dance productions for major houses in the United States and Europe, from the Paris Opera Ballet to Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, the Boston Ballet, the Boston Opera, and others. She chose to return to NYC in 2004 to focus on her company, Armitage Gone! Dance. The company has performed in traditional theaters as well as in nontraditional spaces including the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She has collaborated extensively with visual artists including Brice Marden, Jeff Koons, David Salle, Karen Kilimnik, and Philip Taaffe.

Armitage’s work is at once both esoteric and popular. She has choreographed Broadway productions, videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, several films for Merchant Ivory Productions, a show for Cirque du Soleil, and the fall-winter 2020–2021 Marc Jacobs fashion show. She was honored with an honorary doctorate of arts from Kansas University in 2013 and a Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard University in 2016 to study Native American plains culture. Armitage is currently an MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow.

Christopher Annas-Lee (BDT Lighting Designer/Production Manager) is a lighting designer. He also works as an associate/assistant lighting designer, projections and scenic designer, draftsperson, and ETC programmer. He is the recipient of two Helen Hayes Awards (In the Heights and Yerma), two Helen Hayes nominations (Don Juan Tenorio and Cervantes), two BroadwayWorld Regional Awards (En El Tiempo de las Mariposas and In the Heights), and a BAFTA Rising Star Award (Cinderella). He holds a BFA in lighting design from North Carolina School of the Arts and was the 2014–2015 Lighting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the 2017 Princess Grace Design Fellow, Fabergé Theater Award.

Rena Butler (Choreographer) trained at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, studied overseas at Taipei National University of the Arts, and received her BFA from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Butler currently dances for Gibney Company and previously danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Manuel Vignoulle, and the Merce Cunningham Trust Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event in Los Angeles. Her choreographic work includes a collaboration with Academy Award–winning composer Terrence Blanchard, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and more.

Itzik Galili (BDT Co–Artistic Director) is an Israeli choreographer and Artistic Director of Curtain Up, Israel's “most prestigious and sought-after platform for independent Israeli choreographers,” founded and supported by the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport (Jerusalem Post). Galili is the only choreographer in the world to have worked with all the major contemporary dance companies based in Israel as a dancer, choreographer, and mentor. After having been a member of the Batsheva Dance Company and Bat-Dor Dance Company, he has worked with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Vertigo Dance Company, Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollack Dance Company, and Yasmeen Godder Company.

Galili also holds a knighthood for his contributions to Dutch arts and culture. During his time in the Netherlands, Galili initiated five highly successful organizations, each with a unique approach to dance making, education, and performance, including Project Sally, Club Guy & Roni, NND/Galili Dance, and Dansgroep Amsterdam with Hungarian choreographer Krisztina de Châtel.

Galili was awarded the originality prize at the Gvanim choreographic competition in 1991 for Old Cartoon. In 1992, he won the Public Prize at the International Competition for Choreographers in Groningen with his creation The Butterfly Effect and was honored in 1994 with the final Selection Culture Award (Philip Morris) for exceptional talent. He has built an oeuvre of more than 60 works and has created for and worked with international companies such as O Balé da Cidade de São Paulo, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Batsheva Dance Company, Bayerisches Staatsoper, Cisne Negro Dance Company, Diversions Dance Company, Dutch National Ballet, Gulbenkian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Norrdans, Finnish National Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, and the Stuttgart Ballet.

Rosie Herrera (Choreographer) is a Cuban-American dancer and choreographer and Artistic Director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre (RHDT). She is a graduate of New World School of the Arts with a BFA in dance performance. She has been commissioned by Miami Light Project, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Hispánico, José Limón Dance Company, Moving Ground Dance Theater, Houston Met Dance, New World Symphony, and American Dance Festival (ADF) in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, and 2018. RHDT has been presented at venues throughout the United States such as The Yard; ADF; and Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, among others.

Zane Kealey (BDT Costume Designer) is a Boston-based costume designer currently pursuing an MFA at Boston University. Her thesis work involves structuring the vocabulary used to describe fabric in motion. She has interned with Jacob’s Pillow and has upcoming work at Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston and the Theater Lab in DC.

Jessie Jeanne Stinnett (BDT Founder, Co–Artistic Director) is a dance teacher, choreographer, and Co–Artistic Director of Boston Dance Theater with veteran Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili. She received a BFA in dance performance from the Boston Conservatory and an MFA in the Creative Practice: Dance Professional pathway program from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in conjunction with Independent Dance, Siobhan Davies Studios.

Most notably, Stinnett has performed for Metropolitan Opera, Tate Britain, Prometheus Dance, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (Austria), Boston Baroque, and Bard College’s SummerScape Festival.

Her choreographic work has been described by Hannah Chanatry of WBUR as “conceptually driven performance that unpacks the complexities of being female, and pushes the academic boundaries of choreography” and has been sustained in part by grants from the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Mellon Foundation; New Hampshire State Council on the Arts; Combined Jewish Philanthropies; The Boston Foundation with support from the Barr Foundation; New England Foundation for the Arts; MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists; and Fidelity Charitable.

Some of Stinnett’s recent teaching and choreography credits include Seattle International Dance Festival, Trustees of Reservations, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, TEDxCambridge, Boston Ballet School, Dean College, Keene State College, Providence College, Endicott College, Goethe-Institut Boston, Museum of Fine Arts with Jewish Arts Collaborative, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Emmanuel Music. She is the recipient of the 2020 Boston Dancemakers Residency grant award and was the 2020 Choreographer in Residence at Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance.


BDT Core Members

OLIVIA COOMBS (she/her) began her training in ballet under the direction of Jessica Wilson at Ballet Workshop of New England. Coombs then studied at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program for two years, where she performed in works by Alonzo King, Maurya Kerr, Sidra Bell, Iratxe Ansa, Gregory Dawson, Kara Davis, and Erik Wagner. Coombs apprenticed with Dawson/Wallace Dance Project in Denver for one season. She has also performed work by Ismael Ivo as part of a special research project at ImPulsTanz in Vienna, Austria, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is a founding Core Member of BDT and also serves in the roles of Rehearsal Director and Trainee Program Coach.

KHRIS HENRY (he/him) is a native of Boston and is a BFA graduate of the University of Hartford at the Hartt School. He began his training at the OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center and Boston Arts Academy. While a student, Henry had experience with choreographers Nathan Trice, Catherine Young, Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden, Norbert De La Cruz III, Brain Arias, and Yoshito Sakuraba. After guesting with BDT in 2019 and 2020, Henry joined as a Core Member in 2021. He is also a BDT Trainee Program Coaching Assistant.

HENOCH SPINOLA (he/him), a native of Cabo Verde Islands, began his classical training with José Mateo Ballet Theatre (JMBT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, graduating from the Young Dancers Program in 2006 to become a full company member in 2007. After leaving JMBT, Spinola began working with Prometheus Dance from 2011 to 2012 along with other dance companies local to Boston. He then moved to New York City to dance in a work by Itzik Galili at the Metropolitan Opera from 2013 to 2014. He recently completed the Master of Fine Arts program within the Creative Practice: Dance Professional pathway at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Spinola has been a Core Member since 2019 and also serves as the BDT Trainee Program Manager and Coach.

JESSIE JEANNE STINNETT (see Choreographers and Artistic Directors)


CARLEY LUND (she/her), a native of Vermont, began her classical training at the Vermont Center for Dance Education under Stefania Nardi. She graduated from Adelphi University, where she received her BFA in dance with a minor in biology. She has performed in works by Marco Goeke, Maleek Washington, Manuel Vignoulle, Paul Taylor, Rasta Thomas, Winston Dynamite Brown, Adelheid B. Strelick, Orion Duckstein, and more. After joining BDT’s Trainee Program in January 2021, Lund was promoted to Apprentice in January 2022.

WESLEY URBANCZYK (they/them) graduated with a BFA in dance performance from Jacksonville University with a double major in English literature. They have worked with choreographers such as Roya Carreras, Maleek Washington, Jennifer Archibald, Cleo Parker Robinson, Amy Miller, and Antonio Brown. After moving to Boston from Florida to join BDT’s Trainee Program in 2021, Urvbanczyk was promoted to Apprentice in September 2022.

BDT Trainee

SEAN PFEIFFER (he/him), is a dance and performance artist from Ann Arbor, Michigan. In May of 2022, Pfeiffer graduated from New York University with a BFA in dance from Tisch School of the Arts with a minor in business. He has performed in works by Yin Yue, Stephen Petronio, Camille A. Brown, Marco Goecke, and more. Upon graduation earlier this year, Pfeiffer moved to Boston to join Boston Dance Theater’s Trainee Program. He also serves as BDT’s Administrative Assistant.

BDT 2022 Friends Circle
Bill Nigreen
David Parker
Eoin O’Toole
Eric Klotch
Jayne Raphael
Jim & Jamie Stinnett
Jessica Wilson
Dr. Lawrence J. Pratt
Malene Aguilar
Nancy Gray
Rebecca Moffett
Sarah Rubin
Trinidad Vives & Parren Ballard / The Brookline Ballet School
Valentine Talland & Nagesh Mahanthappa

BDT 2022 Sponsors
Aliad Fund and Live Arts Boston at The Boston Foundation Boston Cultural Council
Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Goethe-Institut Boston
Howard Gilman Foundation
MAP Fund
Mellon Foundation
New Hampshire State Council on the Arts
Tyler Family Foundation

BDT Board Members
Jessie Jeanne Stinnett (President)
Sarah Anne Stinnett (Vice President)
 Julia Novina (Clerk)
Cecily Tyler (Advisor to the Board)
Ilisa Hurowitz
Karen Klein

BDT Artistic Advisors
David Henry, Former Curator of Performing Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art
Brigitte Lefevre, Artistic Director, Paris Opera Ballet
Reid Anderson, Artistic Director, Stuttgart Ballet
Samuel Wuersten, Artistic Director, Holland Dance Festival
Marc Baldwin, Artistic Director, Rambert Dance Company
Andrew Hurst, former Company Manager, Royal Ballet
Igal Perry, Founder and Artistic Director, Peridance Company
Mikko Nissinen, Artistic Director, Boston Ballet


Under the co–artistic direction of Jessie Jeanne Stinnett and award-winning Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili, Boston Dance Theater (BDT) is Boston’s first contemporary dance repertory company with international ties at the leadership level. With a commitment to presenting sociopolitically relevant works that raise challenges in the context of world issues, BDT matches the talents of Boston-based dancers with those of acclaimed global choreographers, broadening the scope of contemporary dance practice and performance in our city. BDT is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity as of 2019.

MISSION: BDT's mission is to build and sustain a professional contemporary dance company dedicated to providing high-quality dance performances, dance education, and community outreach, to strengthen the dance community in Boston and create new dance audiences. BDT will accomplish this through partnerships with international and world-renowned artists to create high-quality work performed by local dancers, mentoring local choreographers and dancers, and performing dance in nontraditional performance locations such as libraries, senior centers, art galleries, and schools.

VISION: BDT’s vision is to become a springboard for exchange between communities in Boston and abroad—an incubator for cutting-edge work that transcends interpersonal and cultural barriers. BDT aims to build a wide-ranging international repertoire. The backbone of BDT is a strong belief in peaceful global cooperation and the power of the arts to unite people toward the goal of overcoming pressing global issues. These values are reflected in the artistic directors' choice of programming, themes within the works, and artistic collaborators.

DONATE: As a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, BDT is accepting tax-deductible contributions via the company’s website.

BDT exists in Boston as part of a widespread movement to bring high-quality contemporary dance to our city. Our international repertory puts us in a unique position to diversify contributions to this effort among our peers. Together we have the potential to elevate Boston as a robust city for dance.

In the words of Boston Magazine, these are “moves you won’t want to miss.”

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