The Washington Ballet
|The Washington Ballet|
|Name||The Washington Ballet|
|Executive Director||Michael Pastreich|
|Artistic Director||Julie Kent|
|Official school||The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB)|
The Washington Ballet (TWB) is an ensemble of professional ballet dancers based in Washington DC. It was founded in 1976 by Mary Day, and has been under the artistic directorship of Julie Kent since 2016. Septime Webre stepped down as artistic director at the conclusion of the 2015/2016 season.
The Mary Day years (1976–99)
Mary Day (née Mary Henry Day; 25 January 1910 – 11 July 2006), a native of Washington, and her mentor, Lisa Gardiner (né Elizabeth C. Gardiner; 1894–1958), established The Washington School of Ballet in 1944. In the 1950s, a pre-professional group of dancers trained at the school joined together to perform at the National Cathedral and the D.C. Department of Recreation with the National Symphony Orchestra. This group also toured New York, West Virginia, and the Dominican Republic, where the troupe performed with Alicia Alonso.
In 1961, the Washington Ballet School premiered Day's The Nutcracker with the National Symphony Orchestra in Constitution Hall. In 1976, Day started The Washington Ballet, a company providing a professional showcase for the students of The Washington School of Ballet. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Day hired Peter Grigsby as the first administrative director who took advantage of the Department of Labor's Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to hire dancers. He was followed by Alton Miller as director who expanded the touring of the company. The Washington Ballet founding company members included Madelyn Berdes, Patricia Berrend, James Canfield, Sharon Caplan, Robin Conrad, Lynn Cote, Laurie Dameron, John Goding, Robin Hardy, Jon Jackson, Brian Jameson, Terry Lacy, Christine Matthews, Ricardo Mercado, Julie Miles, Patricia Miller, Philip Rosemond, Helen Sumerwell and Allison Zusi.
Resident choreographer Goh
The company's first season consisted of three works by an up-and-coming choreographer/dancer from the Dutch National Ballet, Choo San Goh, who was resident choreographer at the founding of the company and later became associate artistic director. Goh's teaching and choreographic demands in his first two years in Washington DC moved the company from being described as "pre-professional" to solidly professional level, with Mikhail Baryshnikov showing interest in, and eventually dancing with, the company and Goh's choreography in 1979. During his time at The Washington Ballet until his death in November 1987, Goh choreographed 19 ballets for the company.
In 1980, 17-year-old company member Amanda McKerrow was chosen as one of nine dancers to compete on the official U.S. dance team at the Fourth International Ballet Competition in Moscow. She partnered with Simon Dow and won the gold medal, becoming the first United States citizen to win the competition. During the 1980s and 1990s, The Washington Ballet performed full seasons in Washington, D.C. and toured internationally to China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Spain, and South America.
Mary Day stepped down as artistic director of the company in 1999 and retired as school director in 2003. She died in 2006.
The Septime Webre years (1999-2016)
In 1999, Septime Webre, a Cuban-American, joined The Washington Ballet as the artistic director. Works created for the Washington Ballet by Webre include Juanita y Alicia (2000), Carmen (2001), Journey Home (2002), Cinderella (2003), Oui/Non (2006), and State of Wonder (2006), as well as Carmina Burana, Fluctuating Hemlines, Where the Wild Things Are, and Peter Pan. The company has staged the works of such contemporary choreographers as George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Trey McIntyre, Edwaard Liang, and Nacho Duato, in addition to the more classical ballets, like Giselle, Coppélia, and La Sylphide. In October 2000, Webre led The Washington Ballet on an historic tour of Havana, making it the first American ballet company to perform in Cuba since 1960. In 2004, the Washington Ballet premiered Webre's The Nutcracker. Webre created his takes on The Great Gatsby in 2010 and The Sun Also Rises in 2013.
Webre also initiated DanceDC, the Washington Ballet's outreach and education program that combines creative movement with an integrated language arts curriculum for D.C. public school children. Classical pre-ballet technique is taught to interested DanceDC students through a unique scholarship program called EXCEL! Nine boys and nine girls from the DanceDC schools are selected annually to receive on-site professional ballet technique training for an hour once a week at The Washington School of Ballet. In 2005, the company began The Washington Ballet at the Town Hall Education, Arts and Recreation Campus (TWB@THEARC), a home to community programs by the company as well as a branch of the Washington School of Ballet east of the Anacostia River.
Julie Kent (2016-)
In February 2016, Webre announced he'd be stepping down at the end of June. A month later, the company announced Julie Kent, recently retired after dancing with the American Ballet Theatre for 29 years, would take the company's reins starting July 1. Now under the artistic directorship of Julie Kent https://www.washingtonballet.org/artist-team/julie-kent, her long-term focus and vision for The Washington Ballet is using its solid foundation to further develop and build the institution by broadening Company repertoire, expanding community engagement efforts throughout the DC metropolitan area and leading TWB to a more prominent place both within and beyond the Nation’s capital. In addition to being an iconic ballerina, Kent has the distinction as the longest-serving dancer at American Ballet Theatre, having danced with the company for 29 years. Her extensive roles encompass the breadth of the ballet repertoire and as a muse to choreographers who created works on her. Her continued devotion to serving the art form, to promoting arts education and to using her experience to nurture, train and develop the next generation of dancers are the tenets by which she will further elevate TWB and its Company, school and community engagement programs and initiatives.
|Title||Choreographer||Music||Date performed (* refers to premiere)|
|Agon||George Balanchine||Igor Stravinsky, Agon||September 17, 1999|
|Allegro Brillante||George Balanchine||Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's unfinished "Third Piano Concerto"||February 23, 1983|
|Always, No Sometimes||Trey McIntyre||The Beatles||May 10, 2006*|
|Antonio||Nils Christe||Antonio Vivaldi||May 19, 1999*|
|Apollo||George Balanchine||Igor Stravinsky||February 23, 1989|
|Aubade||Christian Holder||JS Bach, "Suite No. 1 in G major for Unaccompanied Cello"||May 17, 1995*|
|Before Nightfall||Nils Christe||Bohuslav Martinu, "Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani"||February 15, 1991|
|Birds of Paradise||Choo San Goh||Alberto Ginastera, "Concierto para Arpa y Orquesta"||October 26, 1979*|
|Blue Until June||Trey McIntyre||Songs made famous by Etta James||October 11, 2000|
|Bolero||Nicolo Fonte||Maurice Ravel||April 15, 2010|
|Brahms on Edge||Karole Armitage||Johannes Brahms||April 15, 2010|
|Brief Fling||Twyla Tharp||Michel Colombier and Percy Grainger||February 20, 2002|
|Brouillards||John Cranko||Claude Debussy, "Preludes"||May 15, 1990|
|Brother, Brother||Ntsikelelo Cekwana||Antonio Vivaldi, "Gloria Magnificat"||September 27, 1995|
|Carmen||Septime Webre||Georges Bizet||November 1, 2001*|
|Carmina Burana||Septime Webre||Carl Orff||February 10, 2000|
|Cinderella||Septime Webre||Sergei Prokofiev||May 28, 2003*|
|Concerto Barocco||George Balanchine||Johann Sebastian Bach, "Concerto in D minor for Two Violins"||May 1, 1977|
|Coppélia||Arthur Saint-Leon||Léo Delibes||March 31, 2004|
|Danses Concertantes||Nils Christe||Igor Stravinsky, "Danses Concertantes"||October 28, 1993|
|Danzon||John Goding||Alberto Ginastera, "Piano Sonatas No. 1 and 2"||May 16, 1995|
|Dark Elegies||Antony Tudor||Gustav Mahler||February 21, 2002|
|Don Quixote||Anna-Marie Holmes after Marius Petipa||Ludwig Minkus||October 15, 2009*|
|Double Contrasts||Choo San Goh||Francis Poulenc, "Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra"||April 23, 1978*|
|Dumky Variations||Ray Barra||Antonín Dvořák, "Piano Trio in E minor (Dumky), Op. 90"||February 13, 1991*|
|Esplanade||Paul Taylor||Johann Sebastian Bach||October 15, 1987|
|Evening||Graham Lustig||Benjamin Britten, "Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings Op 31"||November 2, 1994|
|The Eyes That Gently Touch||Kirk Peterson||Philip Glass, "Mad Rush"||February 22, 2000|
|La Fille Mal Gardée||Fernand Nault||Wilhelm Hertel||October 16, 1986|
|The Firebird||Robert Weiss||Igor Stravinsky||October 1, 2003|
|Fives||Choo San Goh||Ernest Bloch, "Concerto Grosso No. 1 for String Orchestra," Movements I, II, IV||February 12, 1978*|
|Fluctuating Hemlines||Septime Webre||Tigger Benford, commissioned||April 26, 2000|
|The Four Temperaments||George Balanchine||Paul Hindemith||May 10, 1989|
|Giselle||Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa||Adolphe Adam||October 20, 2004|
|The Great Gatsby||Septime Webre||Compiled, composed and arranged by Billy Novick||February 25, 2010|
|A Handel Celebration||Vicente Nebrada||George Frederick Handel, 12 selections from "Water Music" and "The Royal Fireworks"||November 10, 1982|
|Hansel and Gretel||Rick McCullough||Engelbert Humperdinck, "Hänsel und Gretel"||February 23, 1995*|
|Holberg Suite||John Cranko||Edvard Grieg, "Holberg Suite"||October 10, 1990|
|Icare||Lynn Cote||Rene Dupere, "Icare"||June 1996*|
|In the Glow of the Night||Choo San Goh||Bohuslav Martinu, "Symphony No. 1," Movements I, II, III||March 10, 1982*|
|In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated||William Forsythe||Thom Willems||October 1, 2003|
|In the Night||Jerome Robbins||Frédéric Chopin||October 25, 2006|
|In the Upper Room||Twyla Tharp||Philip Glass||October 25, 2006|
|Interlaced||Lynn Cote||Thomas Wilbrandt, "The Electric V — A New Perspective on Vivaldi's Four Seasons"||May 8, 1996*|
|Jeux||Toer van Schayk||Claude Debussy, "Jeux," (Poeme Danse 1913)||May 10, 1989|
|Juanita y Alicia||Septime Webre||Cuban, performed by Sin Miedo ("Chan Chan" by Francisco Repilado; "El Carretero" by Guillermo Portables; "Solamente Percusión" by Alfredo Mojica, Jr., Joseito Lopez, and Ralph Eskanazi;"Orguellecida" by Eliseo Silveira; "Dos Gardenias" by Isolina Carillo; "El Cuarto de Tula" by Sergio Siabo)||September 17, 2000*|
|Journey Home||Septime Webre||Sweet Honey In The Rock||April 4, 2002*|
|The Leaves Are Fading||Antony Tudor||Antonín Dvořák, Cypresses for string quartet, with additional music for strings||February 10, 2000|
|Men of Kooraloona||Lynn Cote||Frank Martin, "Second Concerto pour Piano et Orchestra, Con Moto"||May 16, 1996*|
|A Midsummer Night's Dream||Peter Anastos||Felix Mendelssohn||March 20, 1997|
|A Midsummer Night's Dream||George Balanchine||Felix Mendelssohn||January 21, 2004|
|Momentum||Choo San Goh||Sergei Prokofiev, "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat, Op. 10"||October 21, 1983|
|Morphoses||Christopher Wheeldon||György Ligeti||March 28, 2007|
|Mysteries||John Goding||Music and words by Ysaye M. Barnwell, "Would You Harbor Me" and "Breaths" with words by Birago Diop, and Aisha Kahlil, "Mystic Oceans" and "Listen to the Rhythm"; Bernice Johnson Reagon, "I Remember, I Believe" and "Sometime"||May 8, 1996*|
|Na Floresta||Nacho Duato||Heitor Villa-Lobos, Wagner Tiso||September 17, 2000|
|Nexus||Lynn Cote||Maritri Garrett and Shana Tucker, commissioned||September 27, 1995*|
|A Night at the Ballet||Matthew Diamond||Emmanuel Chabrier: "Danse Slave", "Habanera", "España"||October 24, 1984*|
|Nine Sinatra Songs||Twyla Tharp||Frank Sinatra||November 2, 2005|
|Nuages||Jiří Kylián||Claude Debussy, Nuages||February 22, 2000|
|The Nutcracker||Mary Day/Martin Buckner after Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov||Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky||December 1961|
|The Nutcracker||Septime Webre||Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky||December 10, 2004*|
|Oui/Non||Septime Webre||Various artists. Vocalist: Karen Akers||October 25, 2006*|
|Our Town||Philip Jerry||Aaron Copland, "Our Town," "The Red Pony," "Fanfare for the Common Man"||February 16, 1996|
|Overstepping||Monica Levy||Eve Beglarian, commissioned||May 15, 1991*|
|Pas de Quatre||Anton Dolin after Jules Perrot's original work||Cesare Pugni||May 12, 1982|
|Passing By||Krzysztof Pastor||Johann Sebastian Bach||May 13, 1998*|
|Peter Pan||Septime Webre||Carmen DeLeone||January 31, 2003|
|Piazzolla Caldera||Paul Taylor||Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky||January 31, 2007|
|The Poet Acts||Septime Webre||Philip Glass, from the motion picture soundtrack of The Hours||October 1, 2003*|
|Pomp||Dwight Rhoden||Antonio Carlos Scott||April 26, 2000|
|Quartet 2||Nils Christe||Dmitri Shostakovich, "String Quartet No. 11"||May 15, 1990|
|Rhapsody in Swing||John Goding||Glenn Miller, "Moonlight Serenade" with lyrics by Mitchell Parish;" Ferd "Jelly Roll" Morton, "King Porter Stomp"; Jerry Gray, "String of Pearls"; Irving Berlin, "Always"; Duke Ellington, Emanuel Kurtz and Irving Mills, "In A Sentimental Mood"; and Louis Prima, "Sing, Sing, Sing"||February 19, 1997*|
|Rite of Spring||Trey McIntyre||Igor Stravinsky||February 23, 2005*|
|Rubies||George Balanchine||Igor Stravinsky||April 2, 2003|
|Savannah||Ntsikelelo Cekwana||Maritri Garrett, Marshall Johnson, Shana Tucker, and Ntsikelelo Cekwana||May 14, 1997*|
|Scenic Invitations||Choo San Goh||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Adagio and Fugue in C minor for Strings"; Ludwig van Beethoven, "Grosse Fugue in B flat, Op. 133"||February 23, 1983*|
|Schubert Symphony||Choo San Goh||Franz Schubert, "Symphony No. 2 in B flat"||February 20, 1985*|
|Scotch Symphony||George Balanchine||Felix Mendelssohn, "Symphony in A minor"||May 16, 1979|
|Serenade||George Balanchine||Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, "Serenade for Strings"||February 20, 1977|
|Shikar||Lynn Cote||Haskell Small, "Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano"||November 2, 1994*|
|The Sleeping Beauty (Grand Pas de Deux)||Marius Pepita||Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, "The Sleeping Beauty"||April 24, 1981|
|Sonata||Krzysztof Pastor||Johannes Brahms, Violin Sonata, No. 3 in D minor, Op 108||May 19, 1999*|
|Sonatine||George Balanchine||Maurice Ravel||January 21, 2004|
|Square Dance||George Balanchine||Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi||October 2, 1987|
|State of Wonder||Septime Webre||Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations||May 10, 2006*|
|Stravinsky Violin Concerto||George Balanchine||Igor Stravinsky||February 23, 2005|
|La Sylphide||August Bournonville||Herman Severin Løvenskiold||February 11, 2009|
|Sync||Nils Christe||Ludovico Einaudi, Selections from Salgari. Lyrics by Rabindranath Tagore from The Gardener||May 12, 1996*|
|Synonyms||Choo San Goh||Benjamin Britten, "String Quartet No. 1 in D," Movements I, II, III||May 12, 1978*|
|Tarantella||George Balanchine||Louis Gottschalk, "Grand Tarantelle," reconstructed and orchestrated by Hershy Kay||February 1984|
|Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux||George Balanchine||Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, ‘lost’ music for "Swan Lake"||October 9, 1981|
|The Reassuring Effects of Line and Poetry||Trey McIntyre||Antonín Dvořák||April 2, 2003*|
|The Time Before the Time After (The Time Before)||Lar Lubovitch||Igor Stravinsky, "Concertino for String Quartet"||October 16, 1986|
|There Where She Loved||Christopher Wheeldon||Kurt Weill and Frédéric Chopin||February 23, 2005|
|Time Out||Judith Jamison||Ken Hatfield||April 10, 1986*|
|Transcendental Etudes||Kevin McKenzie||Franz Liszt, "Transcendental Etudes" for Piano||February 12, 1992|
|Transit||Graham Lustig||Conlan Nancarrow: "Toccata," "Tango," and "Studies for Player Piano 2b, 3b, 3c, 3d, and 6"||February 17, 2004|
|Unknown Territory||Choo San Goh||Jim Jacobsen, commissioned||February 6, 1986*|
|Variation Serieuses||Choo San Goh||Felix Mendelssohn, "Variations Serieuses, Op. 54"||May 1, 1977*|
|Where the Wild Things Are||Septime Webre||Randy Woolf, commissioned||March 10, 2000|
|Witches of Salem||Lynn Cote, based on a libretto by Millicent Monks (the original scenario for "Grohg" was not used)||Aaron Copland, "Grohg"||May 13, 1998*|
|Wunderland||Edwaard Liang||Philip Glass||May 13, 2009|
The dancers for the company are:
As of April 2017, the company had four apprentices: Adelaide Clauss, Olivia Lipnick, Stephanie Sorota, and Sarah Steele.
- Kaufman, Sarah L. (5 February 2016). "Washington Ballet's Septime Webre to step down in June". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- Kaufman, Sarah L. (7 March 2016). "ABT star Julie Kent is Washington Ballet's new artistic director". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
- Kisselgoff, Anna (23 July 2006). "Mary Day, Teacher of Ballet, Dies at 96". New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Khadarina, Oksanna (6 May 2014). "Washington Ballet – Tour-de-Force: Balanchine! bill – Washington". Dancetabs.
- Welsh, Anne Marie (16 April 1979). "Choo San Goh puts Washington on the ballet map". Washington Star. Washington, D.C., United States. pp. C-1.
- "Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive Instructor Spotlight: Amanda McKerrow". Atlanta Ballet. July 28, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
- Kaufman, Sarah (3 May 2013). "Washington Ballet's 'Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises'". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- Kaufman, Sarah L. (2016-02-05). "Washington Ballet's Septime Webre to step down in June". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
- Kaufman, Sarah L. (2016-03-07). "ABT star Julie Kent is Washington Ballet's new artistic director". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
- "About TWB: Meet Our Dancers". The Washington Ballet. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
- "Company Dancers". The Washington Ballet. 2013-11-24. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
- Official website
- The Washington Ballet's Facebook page
- Archival footage of The Washington Ballet performing Choo-San Goh's Double Contrasts in 1980 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.