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The Washington Ballet Announces Its 2014-2015 Performance Season, Which Includes SLEEPY HOLLOW, SWAN LAKE, and More

The Washington Ballet Announces Its 2014-2015 Performance Season, Which Includes SLEEPY HOLLOW, SWAN LAKE, and More
Aurora Dickie and Tamas Krizsa – Photo by Dean Alexander

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, Ji?í 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 his 15th anniversary 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, Ji?í 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 Ji?í 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 thevirtuoso 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 10th 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 "AmericanExperience" 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.

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