The 2014.15 Season will be an Artistic Surge of Excellence and Innovation

Swan Lake - Aurora Dickie -  photo by Dean Alexander

Swan Lake – Aurora Dickie – photo by Dean Alexander

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet (TWB) and Artistic Director Septime Webre are pleased to announce the 2014.15 Performance Season, a bold season which includes the world premiere of Sleepy Hollow, MASTERWORKS, ALICE (in wonderland), Tour-de-Force: Serenade, The Nutcracker, and for the first time in The Washington Ballet’s history, Swan Lake.

The challenging depth and spirit of the 2014.15 season create this season’s theme: Taking Flight. The Washington Ballet’s (TWB) Artistic Director Septime Webre explains, “This is one of the biggest years for The Washington Ballet. TWB is actively growing the professional company of artists, and we’re taking on one of the pinnacles of classic ballet, a brand new production of Swan Lake. Also, The Washington Ballet is introducing works of some of the greatest contemporary choreographers, Jiří Kylián, Hans van Manen and Christopher Wheeldon, into the company repertoire. All of the performances this year are highly technical, artistically challenging and showcase the technique and artistry of dancers and choreographers alike.” Of note, each of the five programs in the main stage subscription series contain live music. In hisanniversary of being Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet, Webre aims to “throw down the gauntlet” and push the boundaries of The Washington Ballet artistically, and audiences can expect the highest level of classical ballet and the best in adventuresome, contemporary works. This year, The Washington Ballet is taking flight.

Background on MASTERWORKS, Sidney Harman Hall (October 22 – 26, 2014):

The 2014.15 season opens in October at Sidney Harman Hall with MASTERWORKS, an exploration of three iconic European choreographers’ best works. The mixed repertory program includes Hans van Manen’s 5 Tangos, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia. These three choreographers are generally acknowledged as true working masters, choreographing these ballets at the top of their artistic game. The level of these choreographers’ genius lifts the mettle of TWB’s artists. This production plays into TWB’s strong, youthful and dramatic style. In keeping with the theme of Taking Flight, this program features TWB artists at their most theatrical, humanized and individualized.

Hans van Manen’s 5 Tangos, which first premiered in the Het Nationale Ballet (Amsterdam) in 1977, will be a TWB premiere. With lighting design by Jan Hofstra, costume and scenic design by Jean Paul Vroom and music by Astor Piazzolla, 5 Tangos conveys the power and sensuality of tango dance and the cool abstraction of contemporary ballet. Van Manen, a father of the Dutch movement, tears down the walls between ballet and contemporary dance.

Also premiering at TWB for the first time is Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort (Nederlands Dans Theater, 1991), a piece both atmospherically haunting and joyfully witty. With music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, chosen by Kylián in honor of Mozart on the second centenary of Mozart’s death, this piece includes six men, six women and six fencing foils. The swords seem to function as actual dance partners, helping to convey the themes of aggression, sexuality, energy, silence, cultivated senselessness and vulnerability. Petite Mort, literally translates into “small death” serves as a euphemism for orgasm in both Arabic and French.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, first created for New York City Ballet in 2001, is also a TWB premiere. With music by György Ligeti, costume design by Holly Hynes and lighting by Mark Stanley, Polyphonia encompasses the spirit of Balanchine and Stravinsky’s “black-and-white,” pure artistic collaborations. Wheeldon’s strikingly beautiful and precise choreography parallels Ligeti’s intense music, as dynamic and emotional choreography builds off of the virtuoso piano score.

Background on The Nutcracker, THEARC (November 29 – 30, 2014) and The Warner Theatre (December 3 – 28, 2014):

Septime Webre’s critically acclaimed production of The Nutcracker transports audiences back in time to historic Washington, DC and stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker. The curtain rises and the stage bursts with intricate and imaginative sets, waltzing cherry blossoms, dancing sugar plums and other enchanting adaptations that have made Webre’s The Nutcracker a Washington holiday tradition with raves from critics and sold-out crowds.

This year, The Washington Ballet celebrates its 10 th year of Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker (first premiered December 2004) . On this anniversary, Webre plans on “significant, special surprises” for his celebrated Nutcracker. With imagery of swirling snowflakes and sugar plums backed by Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, this DC staple event celebrates the coming together of families and friends of multiple generations.

Background on Sleepy Hollow, Eisenhower Theater, The Kennedy Center (February 18 – 22, 2015):

This year, audiences will experience the third installation of The Washington Ballet’s ongoing “The American Experience” series. Through this series, TWB premieres and develops original full-length ballets based on great works of American literature. First, The Washington Ballet’s production of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in 2011 was a visually striking and tragically romantic ballet. Next, TWB turned Ernest Hemingway’s modernist and masculine The Sun Also Rises into a ballet in 2013. In keeping with TWB’s explorations of the “American Experience” based on iconic American literature, TWB is excited to announce the world premiere of Septime Webre’s Sleepy Hollow based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820), America’s first great ghost story.

American author Washington Irving’s classic tale takes place in a town addicted to superstition, at the edge of a mysterious countryside glen encapsulated in a dream state. The action builds to a climactic moment where a love triangle crosses the infamous specter of the Headless Horseman. The resulting translation into the ballet Sleepy Hollow creates themes of lush magnificence, American birth set in post-Revolutionary America at the infancy of our country and Shakespearean death.

Artistic director Septime Webre is compiling a “dream team” of collaborating artists, including New York-based composer Matthew Pierce, whose musical score for ALICE (in wonderland) was an instant classic. Pierce will create an original and haunting score to be performed by a live chamber orchestra.

Designer Liz Vandal (ALICE (in wonderland), 2012 and Cirque du Soleil) will create visually aggressive and captivating costumes. “Even after working with Liz on numerous projects, I am continuously amazed by her imagination and wit, and the jaw-dropping beauty of her costumes,” stated Webre. “Her aesthetic combined with her original point of view produce costumes which pack a wallop for this production. It is Liz’s inventive 1-2 punch (wit and fashion aesthetic) that allows our combined creativity to nourish and inspire each other.”

Set designer Hugh Landwehr (Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises, 2013), projectionist Aaron Rhyne (Hemmingway: The Sun Also Rises, 2013) and lighting designer Clifton Taylor (ALICE (in wonderland), 2012 and Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises, 2013) will create an impactful set, video and atmosphere inspired by the grand-scale and aesthetic, romantic landscapes of the Hudson River School.

Background on Swan Lake, Eisenhower Theater, The Kennedy Center (April 8 – 12 , 2015):

History is being made this year at The Washington Ballet, where for the first time in the organization’s history, TWB will be staging a new production of Swan Lake. “Swan Lake is one of the great barometers for a ballet company and a dancer,” says Artistic Director Septime Webre. “Successfully executing this production is the most sensational example of Taking Flight. The Washington Ballet is ready for Swan Lake.”

With original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, the dramatic Swan Lake captures the core foundations of love, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption. Swan Lake was the first artistic collaboration of Petipa and Tchaikovsky, who later gave the world both The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.

In many ways, Swan Lake defines classical ballet, emphasizing clarity, harmony and insight into the human spirit. The Washington Ballet is excited to add its stamp of freshness and presentation to this masterwork.

The Washington Ballet is also announcing a new creative ongoing collaboration with the Evermay Chamber Orchestra. The collaboration commences with the orchestra performing the musical score for Swan Lake. Evermay Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble of solo caliber artists from five continents, assembled by S&R Foundation Washington Award Grand Prize Winner Tamaki Kawakubo. This diverse group is comprised of talented performers from around the globe, including multiple award-winners, who assemble in distinct configurations for different seasons and concerts. Evermay Chamber Orchestra is presented by the S&R Foundation under the patronage of Dr. Ryuji Ueno.

Background on ALICE (in wonderland), Eisenhower Theater, The Kennedy Center (May 6 –17, 2015):

Audiences will be taken on a magical journey with the return of Septime Webre’s mega-hit ALICE (in wonderland)It is a tour-de-force for Webre, who choreographed dances in all manner of styles for a spree of personages and scenes that fill nearly four pages in the printed program.”

From the revolutionary vision of choreographer Septime Webre, designer Liz Vandal (Cirque du Soleil’s OVO) and composer Matthew Pierce comes a spectacularly re-imagined take on Lewis Carroll’s classic that had audiences and critics cheering and sold-out houses at the 2012 premiere.

ALICE (in wonderland) also features imaginative sets by James Kronzer, lighting by Clifton Taylor and oversized puppets, including a Jabberwocky, by Eric J. Van Wyk.

Background on Tour-de-Force: Serenade, Eisenhower Theater, The Kennedy Center (May 13 – 14, 2015):

In celebrating the public’s appreciation for The Washington Ballet’s Tour-de-Force series, TWB is eager to announce the third installment, entitled Tour-de-Force: Serenade.

This production features an iconic ballet by George Balanchine and a gala-style program of classical and contemporary pieces and excerpts. Tour-de-Force: Serenade will include audience favorites, exciting contemporary works and masterpieces from the canon. Expect star-turns by TWB’s international dancers and athletic displays of virtuosity. Audiences may also expect a world premiere as part of this production as well. Serenade, choreographed in 1936 by ballet icon George Balanchine and with a score by the legendary Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was Balanchine’s first ballet choreographed in the United States. Rich with lyricism and poetry, this piece pays homage to Russian classical ballet tradition, while stripping away the ornamentation and narrative to display the root structure of this art form. Serenade seamlessly formed a transcendent partnership between classical ballet and classical music. The ballet is rich with sublime imagery. The Washington Ballet and audiences alike take flight with Serenade.


The Washington Ballet offers season subscriptions to add artistry-in-motion and excitement to its patrons’ lives. Five-Series (MASTERWORKS, Sleepy Hollow, Swan Lake, ALICE (in wonderland), Tour-de-Force:Serenade) and Family Series (The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, ALICE (in wonderland), The Sleeping Beauty) subscriptions range in price from $137.75 to $500, depending on seat location and date of performance.

To subscribe, visit the website or call 202.362.3606 x605.

The 2014.15 performance season rousingly opens with MASTERWORKS and ends with a “best of the best” production, Tour-de-Force: Serenade. The Washington Ballet season schedule of performances is listed below.

MASTERWORKS , Sidney Harman Hall, The Harman Center for the Arts :

Wednesday, OCT 22, 7:30PM (Preview)

Thursday, OCT 23, 7:30PM (Opening Night)

Friday, OCT 24, 7:30PM

Saturday, OCT 25, 1:30PM

Saturday, OCT 25, 7:30PM

Sunday, OCT 26, 1:30PM

Sunday, OCT 26, 6:30PM

Music: 5 Tangos/Astor Piazzolla, Petite Mort/Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Polyphonia/György Ligeti

Choreography: 5 Tangos/Hans van Manen, Petite Mort/Jiří Kylián and Polyphonia/Christopher Wheeldon

The Nutcracker , THEARC Theater :

Saturday, NOV 29 at 1PM & 5:30PM

Sunday, NOV 30 at 1PM & 5:30PM

The Nutcracker, The Warner Theatre:

Wednesday, DEC 3 at 7PM (Preview)

Thursday, DEC 4 at 7PM (Opening Night)

Friday, DEC 5 at 7PM

Saturday, DEC 6 at 2PM & 7PM

Sunday, DEC 7 at 1PM & 5:30PM

Wednesday, DEC 10 at 7PM

Thursday, DEC 11 at 7PM

Friday, DEC 12 at 7PM

Saturday, DEC 13 at 2PM & 7PM

Sunday, DEC 14 at 1PM & 5:30PM

Wednesday, DEC 17 at 7PM

Thursday, DEC 18 at 7PM

Friday, DEC 19 at 7PM

Saturday, DEC 20 at 2PM & 7PM

Sunday, DEC 21 at 1PM & 5:30PM

Tuesday, DEC 23 at 1PM & 5:30PM

Wednesday, DEC 24 at 7PM

Friday, DEC 26 at 2PM & 7PM

Saturday, DEC 27 at 2PM & 7PM

Sunday, DEC 28 at 1PM

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Choreography: Septime Webre

Sleepy Hollow , Eisenhower Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts :

Wednesday, FEB 18, 7:30PM (Preview)

Thursday, FEB 19, 7:30PM (Opening Night)

Friday, FEB 20, 7:30PM

Saturday, FEB 21, 1:30PM

Saturday, FEB 21, 7:30PM

Sunday, FEB 22, 1:30PM

Sunday, FEB 22, 6:30PM

Music: Matthew Pierce, Choreography: Septime Webre

Swan Lake , Eisenhower Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:

Wednesday, APR 8, 7:30PM (Preview)

Thursday, APR 9, 7:30PM (Opening Night)

Friday, APR 10, 7:30PM

Saturday, APR 11, 1:30PM

Saturday, APR 11, 7:30PM

Sunday, APR 12, 1:30PM

Sunday, APR 12, 6:30PM

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Choreography: Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov

ALICE (in wonderland) , Eisenhower Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:

Wednesday, MAY 6, 7:30PM (Preview)

Thursday, MAY 7, 7:30PM (Opening Night)

Friday, MAY 8, 7:30PM

Saturday, MAY 9, 1:30PM

Saturday, MAY 9, 7:30PM

Sunday, MAY 10, 1:30PM

Sunday, MAY 10, 6:30PM

Saturday, MAY 16, 1:30PM

Saturday, MAY 16, 7:30PM

Sunday, MAY 17, 1:30PM

Sunday, MAY 17, 6:30PM

Music: Matthew Pierce, Choreography: Septime Webre

Tour-de-Force: Serenade, Eisenhower Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts :

Wed, MAY 13, 7:30PM (Preview)

Thu, MAY 14, 7:30PM (Opening Night)

Fri, MAY 15, 7:30PM

Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Various, Choreography: Serenade/George Balanchine; Various

The Sleeping Beauty, THEARC Theater :

In a production geared toward family audiences, join The Washington Ballet Studio Company for a timeless fairy-tale of a beautiful princess, an evil sorceress and 100 years of sleep broken by the kiss of a handsome prince.

Sat, MAY 30, 1PM

Sat, MAY 30, 5:30PM

Sun, MAY 31, 1PM

Sun, MAY 31, 5:30PM

Choreography: Marius Petipa, Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Inthewings , an exclusive “behind the scenes” discussion with Artistic Director Septime Webre Join TWB’s Artistic Director, Septime Webre and artists throughout the season for illuminating demonstrations and discussions in TWB’s intimate England Studio at the TWB Northwest Washington DC location.

OCT 6, 6:30PM – Dutch Masters, an exploration of what makes these geniuses genius

FEB 9, 6:30PM – Sleepy Hollow: American Classic/Modern Ballet

MAR 23, 6:30PM – Black & White, why flashy isn’t always a necessary approach

APR 27, 6:30PM – Go Ask Alice, a unique perspective from the Artistic Director and an artist who get to explore Lewis Carroll’s fantastic world

Patrons can enjoy the events for $25 each or experience all four for only $75.

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