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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. The Washington Ballet (TWB) kicks off its dynamic 2009.2010 Season: Connect with Anna-Marie Holmes’s version of the classic DonQuixote, running October 14 through 18 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Eisenhower Theater.

Ballet Nacional de Cuba star Viengsay Valdés joins TWB in a guest appearance, performing the critically-acclaimed role of Kitri. “I am very excited to dance in the U.S., especially the role of Kitri,” said Ms. Valdés. “I am also very grateful for the invitation from Septime Webre; I am very fond of both him and The Washington Ballet.”

Born in Havana, Ms. Valdés began her ballet studies at age nine at the Alejo Carpentier Provincial Ballet School. At age 15, she continued her course of study at the Escuela Nacional de Arte with Ramona de Sáa and Mirtha Hermida. When she was 17, legendary director Alicia Alonso invited Ms. Valdés to join the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. In 2001, Ms. Valdés became a principal dancer and primera bailarina. She has won numerous dance awards and prizes, and has performed the role of Kitri in various productions of Don Quixote and at dance competitions.

“My own Cuban heritage has played a significant role in repertoire I’ve selected at The Washington Ballet,” said TWB Artistic Director Septime Webre. “To be able to welcome Viengsay is personally very meaningful to me. I am proud that performing in Don Quixote will be her first solo performance in this country.”

TWB company member Rui Huang visits the character of Kitri, as well, dancing the role that won her a bronze medal at the 2009 World Ballet Competition in Orlando this summer. Company newcomer Brooklyn Mack and veterans Jonathan Jordan and Jared Nelson will dance the part of Basilio.

Anna-Marie Holmes’s production takes audiences on the fun and fanciful adventures of the eccentric Man of La Mancha, the antics of village barber Basilio, and the passions of Basilio’s beautiful young lover Kitri. This vibrant staging of the spirited 19th century classic, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa to music by Ludwig Minkus, is full of Spanish flair, passion, and comedy.

Ms. Holmes is an internationally-regarded ballerina, choreographer and repetituer. Known for her interpretations of the Russian classics, Ms. Holmes has produced or set such great works in Lisbon, Oslo, Helsinki, Antwerp, Naples, Florence, New York and Tokyo. Ms. Holmes joined Boston Ballet in 1985, and in 1997 was named artistic director and dean of faculty for the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education. During her tenure, Ms. Holmes created new versions of many classic ballets, including Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. She has completed her 10th season as artistic director of the summer program at Jacob's Pillow in Massachusetts, and has taught summer schools in Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; Pittsburgh, PA; and Vancouver. In January and February 2010, she will be in Norway staging the shades from La Bayadere for the Oslo Ballet, will act as a judge for Youth America Grand Prix in the spring, and next fall she will be in Buenos Aires staging Le Corsaire for the Teatro Colon.

The following is a complete listing of Don Quixote performances:

Wednesday, October 14 at 8:00 pm*

Thursday, October 15 at 8:00 pm**

Friday, October 16 at 8:00 pm

Saturday, October 17 at 2:30pm and 8:00pm

Sunday, October 18 at 1:00pm and 5:30pm

*preview night 

**opening night


Originally founded as The Washington School of Ballet in 1944 by legendary ballet pioneer Mary Day, The Washington Ballet (TWB) was incorporated as a professional company in 1976, and 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, and its first artist-in-residence, Choo-San Goh, set the tone for the company's emergence as a powerhouse among national companies. Contemporary pieces by Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Nacho Duato expanded the repertoire, as did Neoclassical masterworks and fresh interpretations 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 The Washington School of Ballet and serving the communities of the Washington, DC area through robust community engagement programs, including DanceDC and TWB@THEARC.

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