April 19, 2011

Ballet, Ballet News, Press Releases

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dancer in red dress on pointe

Sona Kharatian in Carmen


Program also features company premieres by David Palmer and Edwaard Liang

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet (TWB) closes the 2010.2011 season with Carmen at Sidney Harman Hall, May 18 through 22. Headlining the program is TWB Artistic Director Septime Webre’s smoldering adaptation of Carmen, set to Georges Bizet’s score. Also on the program are two company premieres: TWB Associate Artistic Director David Palmer’s Passing Through, and ballet wunderkind Edwaard Liang’s As Above, So Below.

“I see Carmen as the first modern woman of the theatre,” said Mr. Webre. “She is independent and strong and lives life on her own terms, refusing to be tamed by any man.  I’ve been influenced by this view of the title character, by some pretty amazing music, and by Picasso’s drawings of bulls, matadors and bullfights from the 1920s and 30s.”

Mr. Webre’s choreography, which premiered in 2001, is based on Georges Bizet’s opera. Originally crafted as a novella in 1845 and later interpreted into an opera, Carmen tells the story of a feisty gypsy – a strong woman who values her freedom more than her love for any man. Don José, a dutiful soldier, gives up everything for his love of this woman, but Carmen is enamored with the glamorous toreador Escamillo.  In a rage of explosive jealousy, Don José murders Carmen. Picasso-inspired designs, with sets by Holly Highfall, costumes by Liz Vandal and Septime Webre, and lighting by Kevin Meek, complement Mr. Webre’s dynamic choreography and the physical and dramatic talents of The Washington Ballet artists.

Passing Through, a company premiere by TWB Associate Artistic Director David Palmer, premiered in 2001 by Maxim Dance Company. TWB’s production features accompaniment by four artists from the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA) performing excerpts from Michael Nyman’s String Quartet No. 4. Under the direction of Artistic Advisor Plácido Domingo and Principal Conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, the YOA is a world-class symphony orchestra of gifted young musicians, ages 18 to 30, representing more than 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Following adjudication by YOA’s esteemed faculty, all musicians in the orchestra participate on full scholarship, to achieve the greatest equality and diversity possible. Passing Through features costumes by Christine Darch and lighting by Eric Fliss, recreated and adapted by JAX Messenger.

Edwaard Liang’s As Above, So Below (TWB premiere) was first performed by Singapore Dance Theatre in 2010, and is loosely based on the Buddhist notion of “bardo” – the world between Heaven and Earth. As Above, So Below expands on an idea Mr. Liang first explored in Distant Cries, a pas de deux created for New York City Ballet in 2005. This work goes further in creating a larger universe of wayward spirits and souls, and seeks to capture the essence of “bardo” and develop an emotional expression of dance language. As Above, So Below features music by Tomaso Albinoni, Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi; costumes by Edwaard Liang; and lighting by Andy Lim.

All performances will be at Sidney Harman Hall, located at 610 F St. NW. Tickets for Carmen, priced from $29 to $87, are available at the Washington Ballet website, 202.547.1122 or through the Sidney Harman Hall Box Office. 



Septime Webre closes the 2010.2011 season with a mixed repertory program that includes his smoldering Carmen. This passion-filled portrayal of the feisty title character, set to Georges Bizet’s spirited score, is complemented by Pablo Picasso-inspired sets. This program also features the riveting Company premieres of TWB Associate Artistic Director David Palmer’s Passing Through and Edwaard Liang’s As Above, So Below, whose Wunderland captivated DC audiences!

ballet pointe shoes

Sona Kharatian in Carmen

Wednesday, May 18, 8 PM (Preview)

Thursday, May 19, 8 PM (Opening)

Friday, May 20, 8 PM              

Saturday, May 21, 2:30 PM & 8 PM       

Sunday, May 22, 1 PM & 6 PM

Performed at the Harman Center for the Arts Sidney Harman Hall

Carmen (2001)

Music by Georges Bizet, arranged by Rodion Schedrin

Choreography by Septime Webre

Costume Design and Narrative Concepts by Vandal and Septime Webre
Scenic Design by Holly Highfill
Lighting Design by Kevin Meek

Passing Through (2001)

Company Premiere

Excerpts from String Quartet No. 4 by Michael Nyman, performed by artists of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas

Choreography by David Palmer

Costume Design and Construction by Christine Darch

Lighting Design by Eric Fliss

Lighting recreated and adapted by JAX Messenger

As Above, So Below (2010)

Company Premiere

Music by Tomaso Albinoni, Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi

Choreography by Edwaard Liang

Costume Design by Edwaard Liang

Lighting Design by Andy Lim

Single tickets, priced from $29 to $87, are available at the Washington Ballet website, 202.547.1122 or through the Sidney Harman Hall Box Office. Sidney Harman Hall is located at 610 F St. NW.


Originally founded as The Washington School of Ballet in 1944 by legendary ballet pioneer Mary Day and incorporated as a professional company in 1976, The Washington Ballet (TWB) is one of the pre-eminent ballet organizations in the United States.  TWB built an international reputation presenting bold works by choreographers from around the world, including Choo-San Goh, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Nacho Duato, as well as Neoclassical masterworks and fresh stagings of 19th century classics. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Septime Webre and Executive Director Russell P. Allen, TWB has embraced a three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its Washington School of Ballet; and serving the community in which it resides through robust community engagement programs.  For more information, visit the Washington Ballet website.

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