World Premieres & More Set for 2024-25 Kennedy Center Dance Season

The season kicks off with the award-winning Korean ensemble, Laboratory Dance Project (October 31–November 2).

By: Apr. 23, 2024
World Premieres & More Set for 2024-25 Kennedy Center Dance Season
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The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has revealed programming for its 2024–2025 dance season, that begins in October. Celebrating artistic innovation from world-class artists and companies continuing to expand the horizon of dance, this season includes a rich tapestry of ballet and dance offerings with reimagined classics, forward-facing work from new and master voices, and unexpected collaborations on the Center’s stages. Subscriptions for the 2024–2025 season are now available here or by calling (202) 416-8500.

Remarking on the season, Alicia Adams, Vice President of Dance and International Programming, and Jane Raleigh, Director of Dance Programming stated:

“To experience the best and newest within dance in the world, audiences must come to the Kennedy Center, the Nation’s Cultural Center. As curators, we look to the field and take the pulse of what artists and choreographers are telling us. This year, that pulse is loud and clear: companies are pushing the edges of where they have been creatively, while retaining their values and artistry. American Ballet Theatre stays true to its mission of presenting dramatic tales with Crime & Punishment—but it brings us a story with a slightly different style, featuring daring choreography and a predominantly female creative team. Akram Khan unites stars of classical Indian dance from across the globe, drawing on his kathak training to create a contemporary dance work. Every engagement teaches us more about each company’s identity, and there are many exciting worlds to explore.”

New Perspectives and Unexpected Collaborations

The season kicks off with the award-winning Korean ensemble, Laboratory Dance Project (October 31–November 2). Known for its highly physical, acrobatic choreography, the ensemble brings two works—MOB and Ash—for their Kennedy Center debut showcasing the ensemble’s signature energy. Acosta Danza, founded by legendary dancer Carlos Acosta as a platform for the next generation of Cuban dancers, makes its first appearance at the Center with a collection of five works highlighting the depth of Cuban artistry (May 1–3).

Philadelphia-based BalletX returns to the Center with a repertory program from renowned choreographers including Takehiro Ueyama, Justin Peck, and Mattew Neenan (December 4–7); and American Ballet Theatre returns for its annual engagement with its newest full-length production, Helen Pickett’s Crime and Punishment (February 12–16). Bringing Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s modern psychological thriller to life with a predominately female creative team, the ballet will receive its world premiere in the fall of 2024.

Rock music and ballet unite in two engagements this season—returning to the Center, Complexions Contemporary Ballet performs to an acoustic U2 album as part of its mixed repertory program (March 20–22) and Birmingham Royal Ballet marks its Kennedy Center debut with Black Sabbath – The Ballet, which honors Birmingham-born band Black Sabbath and its musical legacy as the originators of heavy metal (June 4–8).

Master Choreographers, Lauded Companies
The Paul Taylor Dance Company commemorates 70 years of dance this season with a program including a world premiere by Hope Boykin—a Kennedy Center commission developed with support from the Center’s Social Impact Office Hours residency program—and two awe- inspiring Paul Taylor classics (February 27–March 1).

Master choreographers Twyla Tharp and Akram Khan continue to innovate in their artistic journeys and return to the Kennedy Center with new work. Tharp, a 2008 Kennedy Center Honoree, celebrates 60 years of dance-making with a Diamond Jubilee repertory program (March 26–29); and Khan, last seen at the Center in 2021, brings his newest work, GIGENIS, The generation of the Earth, which centers his classical kathak Indian dance roots (April 17–19). Continuing the Center’s decades-long commitment to present artists of Japanese heritage, the Center will present the National Bunraku Theatre in collaboration with Japan Society highlighting a traditional form of puppet theater (October 8–9).

Audiences will have the chance to experience two different versions of The Nutcracker this season with Philadelphia Ballet (formally Pennsylvania Ballet) in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (November 27 & 29–December 1) and in celebration of Lunar New Year, National Ballet of China returns with its adaptation of the ballet, Chinese New Year (A Ballet in Two Acts) (January 29–February 2).

Additionally, annual Kennedy Center favorites Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (February 4–9) and New York City Ballet (March 25–30), return to the Opera House stage. The majority of the ballet offerings on the season will include live music by the Center’s own Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

Elevating the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area Dance Community

The annual Local Dance Commissioning Project (LDCP), which supports and fosters new dance works by Washington, D.C.-metropolitan-area artists, continues its season-long support, providing significant monetary provision to the commission awardee. The REACH acts as a platform for discovery and opportunity throughout the residency months, with a finished product culminating in a presentation on one of the Center’s stages. This year’s awardee is the team of Jamison Curcio and Shanice Mason who continue to develop their work, I have a secret to tell you...which is an invitation to discover, reframe, and practice being in community with Black women and femmes (August 22–23, 2025).

In addition, National Dance Day, the annual free event celebrating the art form, will take place on September 21, 2024.

The Kennedy Center, in association with American Dance Movement and in conjunction with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, will partner for the 14th year.

The Kennedy Center Dance Council continues its work advising on the content of the Center’s ballet series offerings. Championing dance expertise and knowledge in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, the Council includes six community members and ballet practitioners. The Council’s first season has also included recognizing the power and importance of showing up for each other, this year’s event explores how dance builds and strengthens community wellness.

integrating supplemental programming for audiences such as voicing commentary for open rehearsals and establishing Club Haus at the KC, Dance Council member Robert “Bambi” Woofter’s social club that uses post-performance events to start conversation and build community.

Throughout the season, the Center’s Education Division offers numerous events connected to the work happening on stage including master classes, conversations, artist talks, family dance workshops, Dance for Parkinson’s Disease classes, and more.

Artists and performances are subject to change.

The 2024–2025 Kennedy Center Dance Season


September 21, 2024
In Partnership with American Dance Movement and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

National Dance Day, a free event celebrating the art form, will take place throughout the REACH and Kennedy Center campus for the 14th year.

the day will include lively, participatory activations from local D.C. organizations with activities for all ages and abilities. Additional details about programming and access will be made available in the coming months. For more information about National Dance Day, see here.


Terrace Theater In collaboration with Japan Society
October 8–9, 2024
Repertory Program to include:

Sonezaki Shinju (The Love Suicide at Sonezaki) Yaoya no Oshichi (Greengrocer Oshichi)

The Center has had a decades long commitment to presenting Japanese arts and culture and annually partners with Japan Society, New York, to feature a touring production. This year’s presentation highlights traditional Japanese puppet theater through The National Theatre, which for the first time in nearly two decades returns to the U.S. in a five-city tour organized by the Society.

Known for its unique puppetry technique developed in the mid-18th century involving three- person manipulation, The National Theatre offers two quintessential masterpiece scenes from their repertoire. The Forest by the Tenjin Shrine scene from The Love Suicides at Sonezaki (Sonezaki Shinju) is a tragic tale written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon, who is often referred to as of showing up for each other, this year’s event explores how dance builds and strengthens

Recognizing the power and importance community wellness. Coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the REACH opening, Japan’s Shakespeare. The Fire Watchtower scene from Oshichi, the Greengrocer’s Daughter (Date Musume Koi no Higanoko) depicts a woman’s desperate act to save her lover. Three puppeteers make each half-life-size doll act out a dramatic narrative in delicate, uncannily realistic movements alongside live chanting and music from a shamisen (a three-stringed instrument resembling a lute or banjo). It’s a distinctive configuration designated by UNESCO as “the Intangible Cultural Heritage” aligned with noh and kabuki. The National Theatre’s U.S. tour is supported, in part, by ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO., LTD., Kikkoman Corporation, and Suntory Holdings Limited.


Eisenhower Theater October 31–November 2, 2024
MOB (Jang/D. Kim) and Ash (Jang/D. Kim)
Kennedy Center Debut

Founded in 2001 by graduates from the Korean National University of Arts, the globally recognized Laboratory Dance Project (LDP) draws from breaking and other hip hop forms, martial arts, and contact improvisation, resulting in works that are acrobatic and highly energized. For its Kennedy Center debut, the award-winning Seoul-based group brings two works—MOB and Ash. With choreography by Dongkyu Kim, MOB examines two aspects of humanity—the individual and the group mentality—as eight dancers visualize how an individual is reborn as part of a mob. In Ash, a mixture of percussive, orchestral, and natural sounds are featured with moments of dramatic intensity that build to swirling group movement.


Opera House
November 27 & 29–December 1, 2024
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Tchaikovsky/Balanchine) with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Last seen at the Kennedy Center in 2014, Philadelphia Ballet (formerly Pennsylvania Ballet) returns with George Balanchine’s treasured classic, The Nutcracker. With prize-fighting mice, gallant toy soldiers, dancing candy canes, and waltzing flowers, Peter IIyich Tchaikovsky’s timeless score guides young Marie and her Prince through a fantastical dreamworld in this beloved holiday tradition.


Eisenhower Theater December 4–7, 2024 Repertory Program to include:

Become a Mountain (Deacon/Peck) Mapping Out A Sky (Sondheim/Neenan) Heroes (Hideki, Adams/Ueyama) Additional Repertory to be Announced with members of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Known for expanding the vocabulary of contemporary ballet for all audiences, Philadelphia- based BalletX, last seen as part of DEMO in the fall of 2019, marks its return to the Center with a diverse program. Under the direction of Christine Cox, BalletX has produced nearly 130 world premiere ballets by over 70 choreographers in its 19-year history, a record “few companies can match” (The New York Times). The program features Takehiro Ueyama’s Heroes, which honors the dedication and perseverance of citizens who played a crucial role in Japan’s recovery after World War II. Created by Justin Peck for Juilliard’s senior class of 2022, Become a

Mountain simulates the arc of a mountain climb, unfolding in three parts: a climb to a summit, the emboldened feeling of reaching the peak, and finally, the adrenaline rush of sliding down the other side. Matthew Neenan's Mapping Out a Sky is an homage to the unique rhythms and rich storytelling legacy of Stephen Sondheim. Additional repertory to be announced.


Opera House
January 29–February 2, 2025
Chinese New Year (A Ballet in Two Acts) (Tchaikovsky/Zhao, Wang, Feng) with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Last seen at the Center in 2019 with Raise the Red Lantern, the renowned National Ballet of China returns to the Center with a full-length ballet Chinese New Year, its adaptation of The Nutcracker. As a young Chinese girl celebrates the New Year, she embarks on a mystical journey through a world of festive Chinese customs including a scroll of Chinese folklore showcasing the legendary monster Nian, the elegant and graceful Fans, the extravagant dances of Silk and Spinning Top, and more wonders in the Porcelain Kingdom.


Opera House February 4–9, 2025
Repertory Programs to include Revelations

The world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Kennedy Center for an annual engagement of seven performances in the Opera House. In addition to premieres and new productions brought to life by Ailey’s extraordinary dancers, the inspiring finale of each program is Ailey’s signature masterpiece Revelations, which is lauded by the Washington Post as “one of the simplest and most perfect dances ever made.” Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has earned a reputation as one of the finest international ambassadors of American culture, promoting the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of American modern dance. The company has made frequent appearances at the Kennedy Center, dating back to the opening performance in 1971 in the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS choreographed by Alvin Ailey, who also received the Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Full programming will be announced at a later date.


Opera House February 12–16, 2025
Crime and Punishment (Waller-Bridge/Pickett)

with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Returning for its annual engagement, American Ballet Theatre brings its newest production, Helen Pickett’s Crime and Punishment, to the Opera House stage. Written in 1866 by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment is a devastatingly modern psychological thriller of a young man’s journey toward redemption that has captured readers for over 150 years. It is this captivating source that has provided Pickett, whose work was last seen at the Center in May 2023, and director James Bonas, a foundation to bring this story to life on stage.

In the character of Raskolnikov, Dostoyevsky writes a protagonist who is, at once, a brilliant student forced to stop his studies due to brutal poverty, a person capable of great warmth and generosity who will give away his last coins to help a stranger, a loyal family member and friend, and an appalling murderer.

The powerful physicality of Raskolnikov’s life, the web of relationships and drama that surround him, and the profound humanity that Dostoyevsky discovers, all speak to the current state of the world. In this striking new ballet, which will receive its world premiere in fall 2024, the production features music by Isobel Waller-Bridge, sets and costumes by Soutra Gilmour, lighting design by Jennifer Tipton, and video design by Tal Yarden.


Eisenhower Theater February 27–March 1, 2025
Repertory Program to include:

Airs (Handel/Taylor)
New Work by Hope Boykin (TBA/Boykin)* Esplanade (Bach/Taylor)

*World Premiere

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the illustrious Paul Taylor Dance Company, last seen at the Center in 2021, returns to the Eisenhower Theater with a repertory program filled with a world premiere and Taylor favorites. Using the music of George Friedrich Handel’s Concerti grossi in G. major, Op. 3, Taylor’s Airs embodies images of air and water currents with dancers’ movements and spatial patterns suggesting gusts, eddies, and a flow of energy from shape to shape and from dancer to dancer. A new work by Hope Boykin (Artistic Advisor for Kennedy Center Dance Education) will receive its world premiere as part of the engagement. Commissioned by Kennedy Center, and with residency support from the Kennedy Center’s Social Impact Office Hours residency program in July 2023, the premiere will mark Boykin’s first work on the Taylor Company. Closing out the program is one of Taylor’s masterworks, Esplanade, which marks its 50th anniversary this next year. Inspired by the sight of a woman catching a bus, Esplanade is based on pedestrian movement and danced to music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

One of the seminal artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, Paul Taylor helped shape an entire generation of dancers and American modern dance. With a history of multidisciplinary collaborations, the renowned company that bears his name continues his legacy under the leadership of Michael Novak.


Opera House March 20–22, 2025
Repertory Program to include:

For Crying Out Loud (U2/Rhoden) Other works to be announced

Last seen as part of 2017’s Ballet Across America, internationally-recognized Complexions Contemporary Ballet marks its first Kennedy Center dance engagement during its 30th anniversary season. Rhoden’s latest work, For Crying Out Loud, is a full company piece danced en pointe to 10 tracks from U2’s acoustic album Songs of Surrender. Under the artistic direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, the company is known for its highly physical, athletic style blending a groundbreaking mix of methods, styles, and cultures within its work. Additional repertory to be announced at a later date.


Opera House
March 25–30, 2025
Coppélia (Delibes/Balanchine & Danilova, after Petipa) with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra

Returning for its annual engagement, the acclaimed New York City Ballet (NYCB) brings one of the greatest comic ballets of the 19th century to the Opera House stage. Based on the book by Charles Nuitter after E.T.A Hoffmann’s Der Sandmann, Coppélia is a delightful tale of a mad inventor and the life-like doll he creates. Originally choreographed by Arthur St. Léon in 1870, restaged by Petipa in 1884, and revised by Cecchetti in 1894, this staging by Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova—who was considered a definitive Swanilda—also contains the most authentic of the character dances. In Act III, which is solely Balanchine’s, the story becomes secondary, as the village festivities are presented as a series of dances, culminating in an all- encompassing grand finale. With its colorful costumes and grand sets, this lighthearted romantic romp of mistaken identity has remained one of the best-loved classical works in the ballet repertory.

Twyla Tharp DANCE

Eisenhower Theater March 26–29, 2025
Twyla Tharp Dance’s Diamond Jubilee Featuring Third Coast Percussion

Diabelli Variations (Beethoven/Tharp) New Work - Title TBA (Glass/Tharp)

Kennedy Center co-commission

One of the most esteemed choreographers of the 21st century with a range from experimental masterpieces to Broadway hits and works for film and television, Twyla Tharp celebrates her 60th anniversary featuring her Olivier-nominated Diabelli Variations, set to Beethoven masterpiece of the same name, and a new dance, a Kennedy Center co-commission, to a reimagining of Philip Glass’ iconic Aguas da Amazonia. The first and only choreographer to take on the intensely demanding and complex Diabelli Variations, Tharp makes visible the elegant humor and depth of the composer’s layered genius. With each section of the music, unique in mood and texture, Tharp’s response—tender, teasing, transcendent, cheeky—commands all of its performers’ technical prowess—and energy—as they change effortlessly from ballet, to jazz, to modern, with unexpected bits of social and street dance. Almost two centuries later in years and spirit is Philip Glass’ Aguas da Amazonia, arranged and performed live by seven-time Grammy®-nominated percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion in close collaboration with Tharp, and performed on a unique collection of custom-designed instruments.

Akram Khan

Eisenhower Theater
April 17–19, 2025
GIGENIS, The generation of the Earth (To Be Announced/Khan)

A choreographer and dancer rooted in the tradition of his practice, and a creative interpreter of stories that need to be “felt”, Akram Khan has revolutionized the world of dance. His deeply moving style is simultaneously poetic, innovative, and experiential underpinned by crafted narrative structures. With his bilingual mastery of kathak and contemporary dance, he has developed a uniquely individual voice as a protagonist of cross-cultural encounters. Khan, last seen at the Center in 2021 in his final performances as a dancer in a full-length piece, brings his newest work: GIGENIS, The generation of the Earth. A work that focuses on the creation of the Earth and the Indian tradition, GIGENIS is in Khan’s own words, “a coming together of memories of a memory for our collective love and devotion towards classical Indian dance forms that have been with us since our childhood.” GIGENIS gathers the best Indian dancers in the world (Renjith Babu, Mavin Khoo, Mythili Prakash, Kapila Venu, Vijna Vasudevan), alongside seven classical musicians performing onstage, and Khan himself. The Kennedy Center engagement offers one of the first performances of this new work.


Eisenhower Theater
May 1–3, 2025
Cuban Ecléctico repertory program to include:

Satori (Gavilondo/Reinoso)
Faun (Debussy and Sawhney/Cherkaoui)
Paysage, Soudain, la nuit (Brouwer and Levin/Lidberg)
Impronta (Gavilondo/Rovira)
De Punta a Cabo (Kumar, Wolf, White, Alfonso, and Sosa, Ponce/Fernández (Maca))

Kennedy Center Debut

Renowned dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta’s critically-acclaimed company Acosta Danza has garnered an unparalleled reputation for creating work that combines both classical and contemporary genres, infused with Cuba’s rich musical and dance forms. For its Kennedy Center debut, the company brings five wide-ranging and diverse works from its repertoire including: Raúl Reinoso’s Satori, with a score by Pepe Gavilondo, examines an inner journey in search of spiritual awakening based on the Buddhist word of the same name

Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg’s Paysage, soudain, la nuit uses a score by Leo Brouwer, one of Cuba’s most renowned composers, as a starting point to create a celebration of youth between twilights and dawns; created specifically for the company by Spanish choreographer Maria Rovira, Impronta is a solo work in which contemporary dance merges with Afro-Cuban folk dances; and rounding out the program is De Punta a Cabo, a work by Alexis Fernández set against the backdrop of the Havana coast with costume design by prominent Cuban designer Celia Ledón, who recently designed for 2023– 2024’s Reach to Forest festival.


Opera House
June 4–8, 2025
Black Sabbath – The Ballet (Black Sabbath and Austin, Keting, and Nyberg/Lidberg, Abranches, and Reinoso)
with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra
Kennedy Center Debut

The famed Birmingham Royal Ballet, under the leadership of Carlos Acosta, makes its long- awaited Kennedy Center debut with its newest, critically-acclaimed, full-length ballet, Black Sabbath — The Ballet.

Drawn to both the band’s work and its musical legacy as the Birmingham’s originators of Heavy Metal, Acosta brings together three composers and three choreographers, led by renowned Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg and Tony Award®-winning composer Christopher Austin to create a metal symphony over three acts.

Having forged their distinctive sound in Birmingham, the band’s music melds with dance side by side with full orchestrations of legendary Black Sabbath tracks such as “Paranoid” and “Iron Man” as well as new orchestral works inspired by their music—all performed live by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.

Cuban designer Alexandre Arrechea, lighting designer K.J., choreographers Raúl Reinoso and Cassi Abranches and composers Marko Nyberg and Sun Keting round out the creative team. Black Sabbath themselves have been closely involved in developing this unique collaboration, which received its world premiere in the fall of 2023 and played to sold-out houses.

Suggested ages 10+. Contains archival voice over that includes bleeped out swearing and conversation around the taking and using of drugs.

Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Faun is set to Debussy’s original score with additional music from Nitin Sawhney; inspired by Vaslav


Theater Lab August 22–23, 2025
Jamison Curcio and Shanice Mason
I have a secret to tell you....

World Premiere

LDCP centers the artistic and professional advancement of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area dance community by providing resources and support to a local artist with the goal of serving as a stepping-stone for artists to reach the next step in their artistic trajectory. This year’s awardee is the team of Jamison Curcio and Shanice Mason to continue to develop their work, I have a secret to tell you...As co-conspirators, they are in community and solidarity with other architects, local Black women and Black femmes, where they will explore how occupying space invites discovery, reframing, and practice to be in community with one another.

Through LDCP, the Kennedy Center supports the production of the artist’s work in its venues and works closely with each awardee to further advance that individual’s professional and artistic goals throughout the duration of the award year. Awardees additionally participate in the Center’s “Office Hours” Social Impact residency program, as well as other Center programming in the 2024–2025 season.


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