The Washington Ballet Will Continue Their Season With BALANCHINE + ASHTON

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The Washington Ballet Will Continue Their Season With BALANCHINE + ASHTON

The Washington Ballet will continue their bold 2019.20 season with BALANCHINE + ASHTON February 19-23 at The Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. The program features a suite of contrasting masterworks by two of the most influential choreographers of the 20th century: George Balanchine and Sir Frederick Ashton. Marcelo Gomes, an international ballet star, will make a special guest appearance.

Ashton's Birthday Offering shares billing with Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (© The George Balanchine Trust) - both company premieres. Balanchine's exuberant and athletic Allegro Brillante (© The George Balanchine Trust) and the somber Méditation for Thaïs, one of Ashton's more sublime and legato creations, round out the program.

Tickets start at $25.

About the Program:

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (© The George Balanchine Trust)

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (© The George Balanchine Trust) takes audiences to a story within a story that includes a tap dancer, a striptease girl, mobsters, and two 'gangsters' watching the action from box seats in the theater who are staged and part of the ballet; all in the lively, campy, setting of a burlesque club. Balanchine originally choreographed this work in 1936 for the musical On Your Toes, with music by Richard Rogers. Slaughter on Tenth Avenue was the first full-scale ballet in a musical, and the first dance number on Broadway that contributed to advancing a show's plot. The piece was later re-worked and became part of New York City Ballet's repertoire in 1968.

Allegro Brilliante (© The George Balanchine Trust)

George Balanchine described Allegro Brilliante (© The George Balanchine Trust) as "everything I know about classical ballet in thirteen minutes." Ten dancers in and out of constant motion, convey the pure joy of dance through the beauty of ballet. It is a classic that reflects Balanchine's artistry and range as one of our most enduring choreographers. Set to Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 75 this vigorous, dynamic ballet is like a flash of quick brilliance.

Birthday Offering

Sir Frederick Ashton choreographed Birthday Offering in 1956 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Royal Ballet. This one scene, 13-movement piece was designed to showcase the technical virtuosity of seven soloist females, and seven male dancers and is set to music by Alexander Glazunov, arranged by Robert Irving. From bravura to elegance, climaxing with the full cast in a grand finale, this technically challenging ballet with sumptuous sets and charming costumes is a powerful testament to Ashton's creativity as a choreographer.

Méditation for Thaïs

Méditation for Thaïs premiered in London on March 21, 1971. The melancholy of the music composed by Jules Massenet as an entr'acte for the Opera Thaïs, is reflected in the choreography of the sensuous pas de deux. Grant Coyle, a répétiteur with The Royal Ballet in London for over 30, years staged the piece for The Washington Ballet. "It's a bit of a fantasy pas de deux," said Coyle, "a romantic otherworldliness you don't get a lot of these days. Audiences will see something of beauty and they'll feel they've been transported somewhere else...even for just five minutes."

Each ballet will be accompanied by The Washington Ballet Orchestra under the director Charles Barker.

Marcelo Gomes, former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, will join The Washington Ballet as a guest artist performing in Allegro Brillante and Méditation for Thaïs; both roles he has danced previously with ABT.

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