Billy Blanken founded Sheep Meadow Dance Theatre in 2016 as a medium for exploring movement through a socially engaged dance practice. The project creates repertoire ranging from site-specific performance art to classical ballet. With exposure to a wide range of movement in his career, Mr. Blanken creates choreography that is theatrical, polished, and classically informed with a distinctly contemporary aesthetic. SMDT addresses the ways we relate to our bodies, selves, and the rituals of performance. Our mission is to provide the highest quality in dance theatre performance for all, regardless of economic background. Dance is a human right and it is our joy to share it widely as possible.
SMDT has performed at the Dumbo Dance Festival, the Plaxall Gallery, Dixon Place, the Peridance Capezio Center, Pennington Day, The Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, No One Can Survive Alone Benefit, The Brooklyn School of Music, the LUNGS Dance Festival, The Moving Beauty Series, The Dance Festival Lower East Side, The Hudson Guild Theatre, The White Wave Solo/Duo Festival, NACHMO, The Plaxall Gallery, The Actors Fund Art's Center, Triskellion Arts, The Queensboro Dance Festival, Greenspace Studio and others. In August of 2019, Mr Blanken presented his first full evening at the Queens Theatre in the Park.
SMDT has had more than 75 performances in three years- 80% of them free to the public.
Unlike a project based dance company, SMDT operates on an on-going basis. With weekly classes and rehearsals, the dancers have consistency only afforded to large budget companies. Our model of a hybrid Project/ Ongoing base is unique and allows us to provide performances on a small budget. Mr Blanken hopes to confine to grow his company and provide more opportunities for his artists.
All New Yorkers, regardless of economic background, deserve access to high-quality dance.
Our work is eclectic and it requires a very special artist. Our dancers are highly skilled technicians with strong pointe work, and contemporary movement, and able to work with multimedia elements and unusual spaces. Billy's training in theatre, in particular performance studies, inspires him to take dance out of the traditional settings and expectations of what dance should "look" like.