The studios are crackling with anticipation for the beginning of the 2014.15 Performance Season. This upcoming Monday marks the first rehearsals with the Company and Studio Company. The Washington School of Ballet starts its classes, bringing youthful excitement to the studios. Monday will be both a reunion for some and a welcome for many.
I couldn’t be more excited about the 2014.15 Performance Season, quite possibly our biggest season yet. We’re performing Swan Lake for the first time in our organization’s history. We’re writing Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow into a full length ballet called Sleepy Hollow. (which includes original costume design, set design and original live music, I might add…) We’re bringing back our mega-hit ALICE (in wonderland). In October, we open the season with works by three of my favorite choreographers, Hans van Manen, Christopher Wheeldon and Jiří Kylián. We celebrate 10 years of my DC-centric The Nutcracker.
And the list goes on! Did I mention that every production in our mainstage series, “The Five Series,” contains live music?
And this year, we welcome some serious new talent into the organization. First, we welcome two new dancers from Cuba to the Company, which will see a total of five new dancers. One Cuban dancer, Miguel Rodriguez Ayana, was a part of the group of dancers that defected to the United States earlier this year during a performance tour to Puerto Rico. He has given up so much to be here, but knows that he’ll also gain so many opportunities and experiences here in the nation’s capital. We also look forward to having Gian Carlo Perez join the Company, another extremely talented and accomplished Cuban dancer.
The Studio Company will also see nine new dancers. This “Generation Next” talent will be working hard to become masters of their craft throughout the year. We’ll also be announcing some exciting news regarding the Studio Company in the next month or so.
Oh, and this is huge…TWB veteran Company dancer Luis R. Torres joins the administrative side of the organization as the Studio Company and Trainee Ballet Master. And because he loves to tackle and achieve everything under the sun, he will also be dancing top-notch star turns on the stage for many performances.
As many of you know, Luis has danced with the organization for 11 memorable seasons, set Peter Pan in both Washington, DC and Hawai’i, and even received his MFA at George Mason University this year. Some of my favorite memories with Luis as a TWB Company dancer are Oberon in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, Lord Capulet in Romeo + Juliet, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and the Cheshire Cat in the world premiere of ALICE (in wonderland). Torres is a king at inventive new pas de deux, showcasing this in pieces by Edwaard Liang and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, among others. So with Luis on board, expect big things out of the Studio Company this year.
I hope you all enjoyed your summers as much as I did, but as you can see, we are extremely motivated to create, champion and perform great ballet this year. Join us and stay tuned as we TAKE FLIGHT!
Until next time, friends~
inspired by The Rolling Stones’ music I grew up with, and is a celebration of
those days. It casts an ironic eye on the sixties and the attitudes of the
times including, I have to say, the rather chauvinistic mentality of most young
men during my teenage years. This is why I have created the analogy between the
strutting cockerel with his fine feathers and the man dressed up to go out on
the town. I should add that the women do hold their own against the male
posturing, occasionally taking pleasure in bringing them down to earth.
Brrrr! It’s cold outside but a little snow hasn’t stopped us from an incredibly successful run of The Jazz/Blues Project at the Harman Center or from celebrating a HOT Noche de Pasión at the Colombian Ambassador’s Residence. In addition to some rave reviews (here, here and here), check out these GORGEOUS photos:
Hey Y’all! Hope everyone is enjoying the New Year so far. December went by like a whirlwind full of sugar plums, mushrooms, snow angels, clowns, nutcrackers and Shirley MacLaine. Wait, what? Yes, the incredible, wonderful, amazing Shirley MacLaine paid her ballet alma mater a visit. As a youth Ms. MacLaine studied at The Washington School of Ballet under legendary founder Mary Day. Ms. MacLaine, who was in town for the Kennedy Center Honors, took a walk down memory lane and toured the studios, answered questions and talked about about how the dedication to excellence, discipline and hard work she learned while studying under Ms. Day contributed to her later success as an actress, dancer, writer and more.
Is it Christmas yet?
TWB's halls are filled with parading toy soldiers, scurrying mice, and frolicking clowns, mushrooms, butterflies and woodland creatures. My heartbeat rises and falls to the cadence of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker music and the thumping of pointe shoes on the Harlequin Studio floors.
It’s been a whirlwind since before we even opened Giselle at the Kennedy Center! Our annual soirée with Jeté Society and Women’s Committee was dazzling and mysterious—our guests dressed for the occasion with AMAZING masks. Giselle was a beautiful success with graceful, ethereal, moving and emotional performances from ALL our amazing dancers. The opening night party hosted at District Commons was a remarkable evening where donors and special guests could mingle with our elated and hardworking dancers.
Ah! Giselle is opening in less than one week! It’s been a crazy, fantastic, dizzying time prepping for Giselle with the wonderful Charla Genn (psst… have you got your tickets yet?). I get the “Wilis” just thinking about opening my all-time favorite classical ballets (pun intended). I want to give you a glimpse of just how hard our dancers have been working to perfect the technical movements in Giselle. Charla and I have been putting them through their paces and the results are exciting to see.
Open House was... AMAZING! If you missed out on all the fun, catch up by checking out our Facebook album here: Open House or join us at The Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater when we officially kick the season off with Giselle (October 20-November 3). In the meantime, here are a few highlights:
It's been a busy month and we’re already approaching October (that much closer to Giselle!). Just a week ago TWB was hosting the amazing and alluring choreographer, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. During her brief stay with us, she worked intensely with our Company dancers on her new piece, PRISM. Enjoy this insight below into Annabelle’s soon-to-be world premiere which will be featured in our production of The Jazz/Blues Project, January 29--February 2, 2014 at the Harman Center.
With rehearsals for the season in full gear, the studios are full with dancers and students stretching, spinning and leaping (is that Nutcracker music I hear in the background?).
What are the dancers working on now? We’ve been in rehearsals working on Trey McIntyre’s ballet set to the music of the Beatles for British Invasion (March 5—9, 2014) and the world premiere of PRISM by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, which will be one of the centerpieces of The Jazz/Blues Project running January 29—February 2, 2014.