Highlights

“Duets” (1980), a playful outing for six alert couples from the Washington Ballet, colorfully dressed by Mark Lancaster and accompanied by Cage’s infectious percussive “Improvisation III,” capped the Joyce bill. – Robert Greskovic

“Julie talks about the importance of pushing yourself to do better and to improve every single day, the joy of serving something you love, the pain of saying goodbye to the stage and transitioning her expertise and experiences to serve her art in a different way, and the value in pushing yourself to take on new risks and challenges (especially when they scare you). She also talks about the impact taking on new challenges has on her children, her dancers, and the future of ballet.”

“Until Thursday night, I’d never seen a ball pit in a ballet, but now that I’ve watched dancers dive into one, whip up waves of plastic orbs, bean one another with them, juggle them and spit them out of their mouths, I never need to see another. It was that much fun. May the wonderful, wacky ball pit in Trey McIntyre’s new ballet remain his alone, an inimitable choreographic device that in his hands produces pure joy.” – Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

“Indeed, Stiefel’s Wood Work was not only my favorite of the three world premieres, it’s an accomplished ballet that I’d like to see again and hope TWB repeats. The dancers looked fabulous, composed and yet joyfully springy. Stiefel’s choreographic skills shined through in this one. I liked everything about it. The Danish String Quartet’s modern renditions of traditional Nordic folk music played splendidly by Regino Madrid (violin), Armine Graham (violin), Stephanie Knutsen (viola), and Sean Neidlinger (cello) run from somber to sweet.” – Carmel Morgan 

“This sparkling production, staged with skill and care by the company’s artistic director Julie Kent and her husband, associate artistic director Victor Barbee, proved not only an important milestone in the troupe’s history but also a testament to the Washington Ballet’s growing artistic excellence.” – Oksana Khadarina, DanceTabs.com

“The Washington Ballet awakens with a lavish, triumphant ‘Sleeping Beauty’ one beautifully detailed scene after another, masses of sumptuous costumes and a breakout, starmaking showcase for dazzling new Company member Katherine Barkman. It is every bit the show of refinement it was destined to be.” – Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

“Katherine Barkman’s career reads like a storybook: At 18, she left Pennsylvania and moved to the Philippines to become a principal at Ballet Manila. She danced Juliet, Giselle, Odette/Odile and Kitri, but three years in, it was time for new challenges. Late last year, Barkman joined The Washington Ballet, bringing her scintillating, pure Vaganova technique and her warm stage persona to U.S. audiences.” – Lisa Traiger, Dance Magazine

“In the summer of 2018, Stephenson, now 35, became associate head of school for The Washington School of Ballet’s Southeast Campus at THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus), a community center that serves an under-resourced neighborhood in DC. Eighty-four percent of the students in The Washington Ballet’s program there are students of color, 75 percent of whom are African-American.”

“Ballet—a centuries-old performance art form—has endured much death and rebirth. And it’s artists like Perez, who can reach the heart of the dance night after night, that can reignite the popularity of ballet.” – Mary Scott Manning, Washington City Paper

“If “The Nutcracker” is the ballet as icon, Kent — tall, sometimes regal, with the halo of legend around her history and career — is the ballerina as icon. If you had to close your eyes and try to picture the most ballerina-like person you could, you’d open your eyes and, more often than not, see Kent in a classic pose, en pointe, not far removed from the fluttering sky, safe on the stage but ready for flight. As a prima ballerina, an artist of classical dance, she is up there among the big names: Suzanne Farrell, Gelsey Kirkland and the like.” – Gary Tischler, The Georgetowner

“There’s buoyancy and wit in each of the works, with a spirit of breezy playfulness in Morris’s; the circusy colors and bold, unexpected corporeal shapes in Cunningham’s; and the swing-era sass of Taylor’s.”- Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

“The Washington Ballet’s Contemporary Masters program, which opened Wednesday night at the Harman Center for the Arts and continues through Sunday, is a master class in late 20th Century modern dance works that is both thought-provoking and awfully fun to watch.” – Maria Di Mento, DCTheatreScene.com

“Julie Kent’s office walls are a peak inside her past. They’re covered with the teachers she loved, the dancers who inspired her and the roles she adored. It’s a greek chorus of lovely black and white faces. When I ask her about her inspiration, as at the director of The Washington Ballet and as a dancer, she throws a hand up in the air and gestures to all of them in one fell swoop.” – Kaylee Dugan and Nicholas Karlin, BYT

“I think it’s all about your intention,” Kent says. “The intention of a dancer is to create art, to create beauty. The intention of an athlete is to win a game or win a contest. So, while the preparation and the actual physical body of work may be very similar, the intentions are completely different. We are artists and we are athletes, but we are artists first.” 

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Archive

Under Construction

January 2019

Pointe Magazine: The Washington Ballet’s Nardia Boodoo Mixes Bold Patterns and Bright Color Palettes In and Out of the Studio (January 17, 2019)

December 2018

The New York Times: Joyce Theater’s Spring Season Brings Australians and Cunningham Celebration (December 14, 2018)

November 2018

The Kojo Nnamdi Show: Boys At The Barre: The Joys And Challenges Of Male Ballet Dancers (November 12, 2018)

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