The New Year provides a memorable opportunity to witness an extraordinary array of superb ballet in the Kennedy Center Opera House‹as only the best in the world can perform.
St. Petersburg's Kirov Ballet is often the company against which other ensembles are measured. An artistic dynasty for more than 200 years, the Kirov is "a most precious gift" (according toThe Times, London) that has produced such stars as Vaslav Nijinsky, Anna Pavlova, Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
January 22-27, journey to India's legendary past, where a dashing young warrior romances a beautiful temple dancer, lush gardens hide dangerous secrets, and shadows from the netherworld cast their spell. Kirov Ballet performs the 1941 three-act Soviet version of Marius Petipa's classic La Bayadère originally created in 1877. A tale of forbidden love, murder, and a spectral voyage to the afterlife, this eye-popping spectacle radiates with vibrant sets and costumes, a classic score by Minkus, and one of ballet's most spellbinding scenes: the endless line of ethereal maidens floating across the stage in Act II's "Kingdom of the Shades." London's Guardian calls it "a truly sumptuous theatrical experience… unmissable!" As dance critic Clive Barnes says, "If you don't enjoy La Bayadère, you don't really enjoy ballet."
An American dance institution, Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie's American Ballet Theatre is known for "the most spectacular dancing in the world" (New York Times). Boasting a wide-ranging repertoire of classic as well as contemporary works by such choreographic masters as Balanchine, Tudor, Petipa, de Mille, and Tharp, ABT is recognized for its unrivaled combination of size, scope, and sheer talent.
For its second appearance in the Kennedy Center ballet season, on January 29-February 3, ABT performs its spectacular, brand-new interpretation of the magical fairy tale The Sleeping Beauty. The production, staged by Kevin McKenzie and Gelsey Kirkland, with assistance by Michael Chernov, features sets and costumes by the Tony Award-winning team of Tony Walton and Willa Kim. Featuring Tchaikovsky's ravishing score and some of the most memorable choreography in all of ballet, this timeless story of a sleeping princess, an evil sorceress, and the awakening kiss of a handsome prince is sure to cast a spell on your heart and imagination.
Jeremy D. Birch is the writer/editor of Kennedy Center News.