2021/22 Season
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The Washington Ballet continues to champion the advancement and evolution of dance in the 21st century. NEXTsteps, The Washington Ballet brings fresh, new ballets created on TWB dancers to the nation’s capital. With works by emerging and acclaimed choreographers Silas Farley, choreographer and former New York City Ballet dancer, Dana Genshaft, former San Francisco Ballet soloist and returning TWB choreographer, and Stanton Welch, Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet, energy and inspiration will abound from the studio to the stage, and into the audience.

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Julie Kent on NEXTsteps:

“My favorite part of NEXTsteps is the surprise of it all…that there was nothing and then something is truly remarkable. These creative choreographers walk into the studio with a germ of an idea, and weeks later, a complete ballet emerges. Our dancers have the amazing opportunity to interpret, assimilate, and create; Their footprints create the blueprint for each of these pieces. For the entire lifespan of these ballets, they began with and are defined by us. It is all just so exciting.”



Werner Sonata by Silas Farley

Choreographer: Silas Farley
Director: Wes Culwell
Music title: Sonata for violin and piano
Music composed by: Kyle Werner
Music performed by: Glenn Sales and Regino Madrid

Dancers: Nardia Boodoo, Andile Ndlovu, Nicole Graniero, Oscar Sanchez, Katya Derechyna, Jessy Dick, EunWon Lee, Lucy Nevin, Sona Kharatian, Samara Rittinger, Alex Kramer, Stephen Nakagawa, Alex Pappajohn, Nicholas Cowden

Werner Sonata, choreographer Silas Farley’s newest work created for The Washington Ballet’s NEXTsteps program, will premiere on the global arts streaming platform Marquee TV on Friday, June 18 at 7PM ET.

Photo by xmbphotography


“I wanted to choreograph a work for this moment, one that fulfills our deep, collective need for rest, reflection, and renewal,” muses the 26-year-old ballet artist. Werner Sonata is the first work he’s made for a professional company since retiring from New York City Ballet nearly a year ago.

Filmed during twilight in the spring meadows of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Farley’s Werner Sonata is a breath of life that honors ballet’s history and traditions while simultaneously projecting a vibrant future for the art form, its artists, and its audiences. Set for 14 dancers to composer Kyle Werner’s Sonata for Violin and Piano, Farley’s three-movement work spotlights the virtuosity of TWB dancers.

“The music Kyle wrote was a great inspiration. He and I both have a similar calling to our art forms to embrace the classical tradition with a sense of renewal. With this piece, my hope is that audiences will have something beautiful to behold.”

Orpheus by Dana Genshaft

Choreographer: Dana Genshaft
Directed by: Dana Genshaft and Ryan Miller
Music composed and arranged by: Kamran Adib

Dancers: Andrea Allmon, Rafael Bejarano, Katherine Barkman, Adelaide Clauss, Gilles Delellio, Abigail Granlund, Ayano Kimura, Lope Lim, Audrey Malek, Ariel Martinez, Javier Morera, Helga Paris-Morales, Gian Carlo Perez, Rench Soriano

Choreographer Dana Genshaft–whose Shadow Lands (2019) for The Washington Ballet was hailed as “a vision of ballet form that’s futuristic and fresh” (Washington Post)– returns to TWB with Orpheus, part of The Washington Ballet’s NEXTsteps program, premiering exclusively on the global arts streaming platform Marquee TV beginning June 18, 2021.

Katherine Barkman and Gian Carlo Perez in Orpheus. Photo by Gilles Delellio

Genshaft explores the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in a cinematic work for 14 dancers. A light narrative follows the central figure of Orpheus as he revisits the painful moment he definitely loses Eurydice to the underworld. The ballet is a metaphor for the universal message of finding one’s way from darkness back to light.

Reflecting on her inspiration, Genshaft says, “I thought about that limbo space, the one which we occupy in our own psyche, and what it takes to personally overcome trauma… to come to the decision to move on. The extraordinary process that brings us closer to reconciliation. The story of Orpheus to me is very human: he is a man that lost faith, and made a mistake.”

Filmed against a dark backdrop that contrasts with stark lighting by Joseph Walls, and airy costuming by Mario Lopez, Orpheus features an original score by San Francisco-based composer Kamran Adib that melds La Femme “Vagues” and Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song.” The 16-minute piece takes inspiration from the ocean and draws on classical technique as well as more contemporary movement language to advance the narrative as the characters move from darkness to light.

Just as Balanchine took on the Orpheus story in the wake of World War II, Genshaft’s work is of-the-moment, created against the backdrop of a global pandemic and with all the strictures of social distancing. “Loss of faith, hope… these are feelings we are holding onto this past year. Frustration, rage, and disappointment are brewing… I wanted to create something that reached out of the dark place to uplift. This is a COVID piece, but with boundaries, there is also creative opportunity.”

liminal by Stanton Welch

Choreographer: Stanton Welch

Internationally acclaimed choreographer Stanton Welch (Artistic Director, Houston Ballet) makes his Washington Ballet debut with liminal, premiering exclusively on the global arts streaming platform Marquee TV beginning October 2021.

In this work for 16 dancers, Stanton Welch takes inspiration from the meditative qualities of ballet practice. As the cinematic work opens, the camera, unseen, trains on dancers entering the studio, warming up to prepare for class before easing into a powerfully elegant and reflective ballet centered around the rituals of the art form–the repetition, the corrections, the giving and receiving of knowledge. The three-part, 15-minute work is set to 19th-century French composer Erik Satie’s Trois gymnopédies, among the most serene and powerfully simple works in the piano repertoire.

“The plié, the tendu, the arabesque–those are the ballet building blocks and those are what we’ve missed this past year,” reflects Welch. “Without the lights, the sets and costumes, dancers reveal themselves as individual artists and as human beings; it is poignant and beautiful in its simplicity. Trois gymnopédies celebrates ballet’s essence in a way that reminds me of a stripped-down acoustic set.”

Filmed in natural light in The Washington Ballet’s studios at THEARC, Trois gymnopédies, or Back to Basics is the seventh and final commission in TWB’s all-digital 2020/21 season.

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