Richmond Ballet
 Richmond Ballet dancers in Echoing Past by Stoner Winslett. Richmond Ballet. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Sarah Ferguson.

Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Virginia, has announced programming for its upcoming 2024/2025 season, including two world premieres, five Virginia premieres, and a move to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Leslie Cheek Theater. It also marks Ma Cong’s first season at the helm of Richmond Ballet as he takes over for Stoner Winslett as Artistic Director on July 1st.

The season opens in September with Studio Finale, a farewell to and celebration of the Ballet’s in-house 250-seat Studio Theatre. The company began performing in this space in 2001, after renovating the Reynolds Metals building at 407 E. Canal Street in 2000. These final Studio Series performances will feature the revival of audience-favorite What’s Going On, a ballet by Val Caniparoli that premiered in the Studio Theatre in May 2022 and examines many of today’s most provocative societal issues, and a world premiere by Ma Cong.

“Over the past 23 years, the Studio Theatre has been a space of creativity and innovation where we have presented 60 world premieres as well as legacy works, ensuring that the power of dance continued to speak through the generations,” said Artistic Director Stoner Winslett. “We are grateful to our audiences who have joined us in our Canal Street home, and we are excited to take them along with us to the VMFA as we continue to grow in this next chapter of Richmond Ballet.”

In December, Richmond Ballet will return to Dominion Energy Center for Virginia’s beloved holiday classic, Stoner Winslett’s The Nutcracker. Winslett’s magical choreography, Alain Vaës’ brilliant scenery, David Heuvel’s dazzling costumes, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score played by the Richmond Symphony will once again delight audiences of all ages for 17 performances.

Back at Dominion Energy Center on Valentine’s Day weekend, Richmond Ballet will present the Virginia premiere of the enchanting Cinderella by Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. The acclaimed choreographer is best known to Richmond audiences for his Dracula, which was a smash hit for the company this past February.

Following a multi-million-dollar theater renovation by the VMFA, Richmond Ballet will relocate its repertory productions to the 472-seat Leslie Cheek Theater in the spring. “This will be a homecoming of sorts, as we last performed in the Cheek Theater in the 1990s,” explains Winslett. “The partnership between Richmond Ballet and the VMFA will connect two premier, statewide and nationally-recognized arts institutions in the Commonwealth, and we look forward to the countless opportunities for our audiences and artists that it will present. This move will also allow us to reach new and broadening audiences as the theater capacity will be nearly double that of our Studio Theatre.”

Re-envisioning the Studio Series, the newly-created Moving Art Series will be triple-bills, with three distinct ballets selected to complement and challenge each other. “I see these programs as the perfect dinner menu – with a starter, main course, and dessert,” says incoming Artistic Director Ma Cong. “I think it is so important for our community to experience the full breadth of the artform and to understand the variety within ballet with these three-work repertory shows.”

The Moving Art Series will officially launch in March with the company’s inaugural performances at the VMFA, Moving Art 1. This program will include Lambarena, Val Caniparoli’s groundbreaking work featuring the juxtaposition of ballet and Bach with African dance and music, and After the Rain, a masterful duet by the world-renowned choreographer Christopher Wheeldon that has been performed by the top ballet companies internationally. Paired with these signature works will be Ma Cong’s Pentaptych, a ballet that incorporates a live painter on stage who will create a unique piece of art during each performance. This will be the first time that any of these ballets have been performed in Virginia.

Richmond Ballet will end the season in May with Moving Art 2, featuring Stoner Winslett’s introspective Echoing Past and the Virginia premiere of Joshua L. Peugh’s quirky Slump. To close the program, Yury Yanowsky will return to Richmond to complete and present the world premiere of Fading Creatures, the popular piece that he began at the 2023 New Works Festival.

“The future that I envision for Richmond Ballet is bold, elegant, and diverse, and I have carefully selected a season to articulate this vision as I take over as Artistic Director for the 24/25 season,” states Ma. “I hope that Richmond audiences will be as excited about the Ballet’s bright future as I am.”

RICHMOND BALLET 2024-2025 SEASON

STUDIO FINALE

September 17-22, 2024

at Richmond Ballet Studio Theatre

What’s Going On (Val Caniparoli/Various Artists)

A World Premiere by Ma Cong

THE NUTCRACKER

December 7-23, 2024

with Richmond Symphony at Dominion Energy Center

The Nutcracker (Stoner Winslett/Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

CINDERELLA

February 14-16, 2025

with Richmond Symphony at Dominion Energy Center

Cinderella (Ben Stevenson, O.B.E./Sergei Prokofiev)

MOVING ART 1

March 20-30, 2025

at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Pentaptych (Ma Cong/Ryan Lott)
After the Rain (Christopher Wheeldon/Arvo Pärt)

Lambarena (Val Caniparoli/Johann Sebastian Bach and traditional African, as arranged by Pierre Askendengue and Hughes de Coursin)

MOVING ART 2

May 8-18, 2025

at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Slump (Joshua L. Peugh/Klezmer Juice, Yma Sumac, and Ella Fitzgerald)

Echoing Past (Stoner Winslett/Fannie Mendelssohn-Hensel)

Fading Creatures, a World Premiere by Yury Yanowsky

Season subscriptions are now available by calling the Richmond Ballet Box Office at 804.344.0906 ext. 224. Single tickets will go on sale in August. Visit richmondballet.com/24-25 for more information.