Amber Gabrielle Stephens
The path to Barre Warrior has been largely influenced by a career of dancing and painting. Both a portrait and abstract Painter and a Contemporary Dancer, the Barre Warrior "Spirit", being qualities of inner strength, purpose and freedom derived from forging a dually artistic livelihood that required sustainable physical training as well as mental discipline. Barre Warrior is not just about the exercises, it is about finding your own way to breathe in your own skin and be true to yourself.
Read on to learn more about Amber's background and journey.
Amber Gabrielle Stephens is a creative artist and director crossing several visual and kinetic genres from dance and choreography, film, music (violin), painting and photography.
The two points of concentration in her life have been dance and painting. Dance began at age 4 with Ballet, and continued with Modern and Contemporary Dance. Oil painting began in her teens and became a full-time occupation at age 22 when she was awarded a NZ government business development scholarship to open her portraiture business, ‘Depiction’.
Although self-taught, a burning desire to study the old masters techniques in Europe took Amber to Vienna, Austria where she was awarded a rare placement to study under the renown Austrian artist, Erwin Bohatch, at the famed Academy Of Fine Arts (Academie Der Bildende Kunste, Wien). Vienna, this city of music, fuelled Amber’s history with the Violin and constructing numerical arrangements, unlocking an early ability to see patterns and colours with sound, otherwise known as Synesthesia. The first ‘Visual Kinetic’ paintings were created in the districts where Vivaldi, Beethoven and Mozart had lived and worked. These paintings began a journey that continues today. Amber’s first visual music collection was given an exhibition at the Wolframs Gallery opposite The Albertina Museum in Vienna’s first district.
Alongside the master’s degree program at The Academy Of Fine Arts, Amber began her dance works, merging live stage painting with dance, collaborating with Rupert Huber, musical composer of Tosca and Kruder & Dorfmeister. Further choreographic works were then staged at Stadtfest alongside The Vienna boys Choir, and The Vienna Symphony orchestra and later at Cityfestwochen and The Vienna Art Fair. Amber choreographed and performed her first full scale dance theatre production with opera singer and composer Natalie Jean Marain at the Odeon Theatre entitled, "The Beggar and The Bird” from a modern fable that Amber wrote.
Since returning to New Zealand, Amber has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Dance at Auckland’s Unitec Performing Arts School, choreographed works with The British Council and Fashion Week and opened her own Barre Fitness Studio, Barre Yoga, now known as the Barre Warrior Program.
Portraiture has continued with such paintings of Kiwis such as chef Josh Emett, Kayak Gold Medalist Eric Murray, BMX Gold Medalist Sarah Walker and most recently, Amber dedicated over a year to paint 12 of New Zealand’s top Medalist Paralympians to assist in promoting and raising money for the 2016 Paralympic Games. The exhibition was entitled ‘Spirit Of Gold’ and was opened by Prime Minister John Key. Her portraits visited over 80 locations around New Zealand and were the feature exhibition at the 2017 Royal Easter Show.
Amber's Barre Warrior continues to develop as a licensed program which is available NZ Wide for gyms and studios as a REPS qualified Teacher Training Program. Exciting creative developments are underway as Barre Warrior expands. Stay tuned.