SWAN LAKE Comes to The Kennedy Center

Article Pixel
SWAN LAKE Comes to The Kennedy Center

The Washington Ballet will return to The Kennedy Center for a two week run of the full-length classic Swan Lake April 9-19.

Exquisite costumes, set design, and the iconic musical score by Tchaikovsky, frame the mise-en-scène for the timeless choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. With meticulous research and direct reference to the original choreography based on the Stepanov notation, The Washington Ballet will present this rich masterpiece with similar detail and curation as their acclaimed, sold-out production of The Sleeping Beauty last season. Additional staging and choreography by Artistic Director Julie Kent and Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee keep the production relevant for today's audiences.

"The 2020 production of Swan Lake by Julie Kent and Victor Barbee draws on the rich history of the Russian imperial ballet," said The Washington Ballet's Scholar In Residence, Dr. Natalie Rouland. "In addition to the Stepanov choreographic notation held in the Harvard Theatre Collection, and the original Russian librettos held in the St. Petersburg State Theatre Library, The Washington Ballet's Swan Lake synthesizes elements of staging and story from the international repertoire to craft a custom-made experience for the contemporary American audience."

"We go back to the original steps to look for inspiration while keeping the ballet authentic and truly classical," remarked Kent."This patina of authenticity gives us a history we can use to build the foundation for audiences to experience something unique and genuine. We respect the historical significance of this world-famous work and custom tailor it to fit our company and the incomparable Kennedy Center," said Kent.

The work demands extraordinary technical skill, and compelling dramatic theatricality from the dancers who bring the world of magic, intrigue, deceit, and tragedy to the stage. The soaring sounds of The Washington Ballet Orchestra will accompany every performance.


Swan Lake, universally considered the ballet that defines the art form, tells the tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and an enchanted Swan Princess. The plot, as described by George Balanchine and Francis Mason in "101 Stories of the Great Ballets": "The heroine of Swan Lake is a princess of the night; she is all magic, a creature of the imagination. She is the queen of the swans, a beautiful bird, except between midnight and dawn, when the mysterious sorcerer Von Rothbart allows her to become a beautiful woman. In the world of sky and water she is at home, but in the real world, where romance is possible, she seems to be irretrievably lost. The great love she comes to have for a worldly prince is doomed at its start; she has no control over her destiny."

The ballet had its world premiere in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia to mixed reviews. The ballet was revived - and the libretto changed - with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and premiered in St. Petersburg in 1895 with The Imperial Ballet. It has become a beloved classic.




Related Articles View More Washington, DC Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You