News: Preview of the Kennedy Center’s 2022-2023 ballet and dance season

National Ballet of China. “Chinese New Year (a ballet in two acts).” Photo courtesy of the Society.

The cultural vibrancy and exemplary artistry of world-class companies and artists will grace the stages of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts during its 2022-2023 ballet and dance season. A season showcasing a wide range of movement-based arts will intrigue audiences with literary and contemporary narratives, in-depth explorations of the intersection of dance and technology, and celebration of diverse backgrounds, historical figures well known and a range of cultural traditions. Subscriptions for the 2022-2023 season are now available here or by calling (202) 416-8500.

“Audiences will be immersed in the innate rhythms and cadences of movement thanks to the extraordinary reach of preeminent choreographers from around the world during this season.” mentioned Alicia Adams, vice president of dance and international programming. “As we look beyond the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary, the dance season continues to build on its legacy of showcasing a vibrant range of diverse companies and artists. We are also thrilled to co-curate a new work and, for the first time, to present one of Canada’s leading Indigenous contemporary dance companies.

“This season, we strive to go beyond the purely traditional and expand our understanding of ballet in three ways, said Jane Rabinovitz, director of dance programming. “We hope our audiences enjoy the variety of offerings presented this season and notice a wider range of ballet aesthetics, from contemporary to classical, as well as an expansion of our ballet canon through the presentation of new literary stories. As we aim to showcase the works of more companies from more parts of the United States and Europe, we look forward to sharing these innovative works with audiences at our opera house and the Eisenhower Theater. .

Cloud Gate Dance Theater in Taiwan. Dancers LEE Yin-ying and SU I-chieh. Photo by LEE Chia-yeh

Launch of the Contemporary Series (formerly known as Modern Dance), Taiwan Cloud Gate Dance Theater performs “13 Tongues,” based on a legendary street performer in Taipei’s Oldest Quarter. My first encounter with Cloud Gate was at a dance festival in Hong Kong in the late 80s. I was mesmerized by the mysticism of the work, choreographed by its founding director Lin Hoai-min with combined themes of mythology and folklore.

Cheng Tsung-lung now directs Cloud Gate, billed as “the premier contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking community.” Expect fantasy galore from this wonderful cast, whether you call it contemporary, modern or futuristic at the Center’s Eisenhower Theater, October 20-22, 2022.

The next step is Mark Morris, the marvelous master of musicality, a trait that few choreographers have managed to achieve, George Balanchine, the exception. Some may remember Morris at the Merriweather Post Pavilion during a Columbia summer festival when he performed a hillbilly ballet with his friend Mikhail Baryshnikov watching every move. The Mark Morris Dance Group performs a new work by composer/songwriter Burt Bacharach, still at the Eisenhower Theater, October 26-29, 2022. “The Look of Love” promises joy and gaiety from this dance master.

There is a certain fresh, uninhibited and politically inspired way of dancing that only Europeans manage to adopt. It originated in the 1960s and continues to crop up from time to time, especially in the dance performances of the Dutch, Germans and French. For his Kennedy Center debut, The Ballets de Monte Carlo presents “Cinderella” on the stage of the Opera, from November 17 to 20, 2022. Forget the children’s version of this version of “Cinderella”. This company is dynamic and sexy.

Meanwhile, France Kafig Company returns to fuse elements of hip hop with modern dance, circus and digital arts. With its precision, energy and speed, this company seduced us at Jacob’s Pillow a few years ago. If you’re a fan of laser and lights and futuristic movement, set to Brazilian music, “Pixel” is a worthy work of art, at the Center’s Eisenhower Theater from August 30 to September 1, 2023.

We were lucky enough to see Scotland’s national dance company during a mini rehearsal workshop at Jacob’s Pillow pre-Covid. The Scottish Ballet tackles Arthur Miller’s classic play about the Salem witch trials in a staged ballet. There is a vibrancy to the dance that you would expect from Celtic traditions. The East Coast premiere takes place at the Kennedy Center, May 24-28, 2023.

Curious about Red Sky Performance, and its danceable fusion of athletics, music and film on the theme of indigenous peoples and nature? Lots to celebrate here with its debut at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater March 2-4, 2023.

Performance of the red sky “Miigis: Underwater Panther”. Photo by Vaughn Ridley.

Fans of Eva “Evita” Peron will appreciate hispanic ballet in “Dona Peron” at the Kennedy Center from November 30, 2022 to December 3, 2023. Explosive dance and brilliant choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochos, Flamenco Ballet Sara Baras demonstrates that same verve and vitality in his solos, performing at the Kennedy Center on March 29 and 30, 2023.

Kansas City Ballet was chosen to perform the Kennedy Center’s annual “Nutcracker” during the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 23-27, 2022. All of America’s major ballet companies performed beautiful productions, each with a twist from their home country of origin. Who can resist the beauty of the dancing snowflakes, the Christmas tree growing in front of the wide-eyed children (chosen from local dance studios). Often these visiting dance companies need adults to fill the stage. Check the website to find out when and where the auditions take place.

Hooray! the National Ballet of China is back at the Kennedy Center, Feb. 1-5, 2023. Nothing compares to his memorable “Raise the Red Lantern,” seen twice at the Kennedy Center in the past two decades. With its blend of Western ballet and Chinese cultural dance, expect a fusion of traditions, this time with its adaptation of “The Nutcracker”. Hmmm!

The Joffrey Ballet from Chicago brought their Victorian version of “The Nutcracker” as a postcard to the Kennedy Center a few years ago, and it was a huge hit. Mainly because this popular dance company performed throughout the Baltimore-Washington corridor to adore fans. My favorite Joffrey work was the reconstruction of the “Rite of Spring”, under the watchful eye of founder Robert Joffrey – or perhaps it was “Astarte”, the first multimedia ballet.

We’ll have to wait until spring to see The Joffrey Ballet in a new version of “Anna Karenina”, based on Leo Tolstoy’s heroine, from April 5 to 9, 2023. Discover the master classes offered by the company’s dancers and the open rehearsals, on site here.

New York Ballet still reigns as high end and not to be missed. With a lineup of works ranging from George Balanchine (who founded the company) to Justin Peck (who choreographed the 2022 film version of “West Side Story), NYCB presents its roster of talented young choreographers along with familiar favorites from the master, M. B, June 6-11, 2023. If you can’t wait until next year, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be danced by NYCB June 9-12, 2022.

In the meantime, discover “Visionary voices” with works by exceptional choreographers of today, including Justin Peck, one of the hottest artists, in this same opera house on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. Or take a ballet class led by the dancers of the city. See you at the Palais des Nations on Monday June 6, 2022 at 7 p.m.

American Ballet Theater, that other star-studded New York dance company, once had its home at the Kennedy Center. Today, the company regularly tours DC, last performing “Don Quixote” on the Opera House stage to rave reviews. Expect the company to return with the romantic classic “Romeo and Juliet,” February 15-19, 2023.

If you have never known the joy of the “Revelations”, accomplished by the beloved Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, hurry to get tickets for the annual Festival of Love at the Kennedy Center Opera House from February 7-12, 2023. With its moving spirituals to guide the dancers, this work closes every program and audiences often ask for an encore.

national dance day takes place on the third Saturday in September, and this year the venue is the Reach on the Kennedy Center campus on Saturday, September 17, 2022. Put on your dancing shoes and join your fellow comedians for a fun-filled day of fun and participation. It’s a hoot for all ages.

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Corina C. Butler