Women in the Arts 2019: Facing the music and dancing with Albena & Shelly

The new arts organization, From Scratch Performance Company, is more than just another theatrical company. it is a working body of art. It’s repertory holds many actors, singers, dancers, but also those that help them act, sing, and dance.

Their new artistic director is a playwright, for instance. Robert Liebowitz is a 40-year veteran of independent theater. He stand next to experienced designers, composers and Albena Kervanbashieva and Shelly Ellis Herrington. 

It’s possible to have a dancer or two in a rep but TWO PRIMA BALLERINAS? This company is showing all signs of being something special.

67395162_2495384977150171_1580520356878221312_n.jpgAlbena Kervanbashieva, a Bulgarian native, began in the hands of Ballet master, Pavel Stoitzev when she was seven. After making a name for herself in her native Bulgaria, she came to these shores and scored kudos as part of Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, Doris Humphrey Dance Company, La Ballade Ballet Company, Contemporary Ballet Theater, Jayne Persh and Dancers, Les Ballets du Monde and collaborating with numerous independent choreographers. She is currently a member of Dance Visions.


Shelly Ellis Herrington trained as a Classical Ballerina on Point at the legendary Brooklyn Academy of Music. As she grew, so did her skills, she is now adept in Jazz, Tap and Modern Dance as well. She then added “singer” to her resume as a Soprano and Mezzo. Now she just needed the actor part to be a triple-threat. She went to Kingsborough College to hone those skills.

We sat down (not easy with two such agile artists) to discuss the upcoming event.

City Center – that’s great … are you excited? 

Shelly Ellis Herrington I joined this exciting and very rewarding Company because of it’s introductory presentation:  My very first meeting with them was at “New York City Center in Rudolph Nureyev Ballet Arts Center.”  I immediately understood where this Company was headed, and I made an excellent choice to be a part of it. As an Artist, I would have to be truly mentally incapacitated if I was ‘Not’ excited about having a Scene from my personal production of “HOSEKI” performed at this iconic Hall.  It is indeed an honor and a joy to be presented at The New York City Center.

What made you form/join this company?

13995598_10208655356594377_9075648485383827943_oAlbena Kervanbashieva I was very intrigued when I stumbled upon the “Spectatorum” organization (later renamed “From Scratch Performance Company”) – I really jumped at the chance to meet and collaborate with artists from fields other than mine (dance).




What make you different from other indie arts companies?

Shelly Ellis Herrington What makes me different from other indie arts companies is a lot of my productions are based on ‘Real Life’ situations.  Creating them into art is a gift.

Albena Kervanbashieva I am immensely honored to be offered 4 original music pieces by 3 composers from the company, who trusted me with my choreography. It is frightening and deeply rewarding at the same time to dance my own choreography, up to this point I’ve always danced other peoples’ works, I truly started “from scratch”.

What are your plans/hopes/dreams for the future?

Albena Kervanbashieva I hardly can wait to discover how far I can go with this and what a gift to be surrounded by such talented artists who are on a similar journey in their fields! I am so looking forward to having more creatives joining us and collaborating. When one starts from scratch there’s so much freedom to create original works – All that we have is ourselves, without copying or recreating anyone else’s. I’d love to co-create  full length productions of Theater, Music and Dance!


Shelly Ellis Herrington My Plans, Hopes, and Dreams for the Future is to Produce 10 original productions of Plays, Movies, and Music.  I have every intention of being at the Tony Awards, Oscar’s, and Grammy Awards. What’s next for me is my Second Reading in the Fall of my original 2-Hour Theatrical Musical “HOSEKI/SHELLY” with Song and Dance.  WhooWhoo!


scratch invite






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