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2018-19 season: Washington Ballet


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The Washington Ballet just announced its 2018-19 season: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performances/2018-2019

Their brochure: https://www.washingtonballet.org/sites/default/files/TWB_Acquisition_18_19_Web.pdf

the nutcracker


 
November 24, 2018 - November 25, 2018
November 29, 2018 - December 28, 2018

DC’s perennial favorite! This celebrated production is set in historic Georgetown with George Washington, King George III, other historical figures as well as the traditional Nutcracker characters. Join us again with family and friends or start a new holiday tradition with your loved ones.

“[The] Washington Ballet’s fast-paced “Nutcracker” fits this town to perfection.” The Washington Post


 
September 26, 2018 - September 30, 2018

Artistic Director Julie Kent invites celebrated artists from the dance world to share the stage with our company in the nation's capital.


 
October 31, 2018 - November 4, 2018

Works by iconic choreographers who have defined modern dance.


 
February 27, 2019 - March 3, 2019

A quintessential classical ballet inspired by the timeless fairy tale of true love's kiss and the triumph of good over evil.


 
April 3, 2019 - April 7, 2019

Supporting the relevance and advancement of dance in the 21st century, TWB continues its commitment to the creative process with an evening celebrating the evolving beauty and resonating power of our art.

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Disappointing.  I was hoping they might fill in some of the gaping classical holes left open in the abysmally contemporary Kennedy Center 2018-2019 season.  Sadly all TWB is doing is Sleeping Beauty.   While it may be a classic, IMHO it's a 'popcorn' ballet that makes me want to sleep.    They do Nutcracker,  but not at KC.  

 

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I’m sorry KenCen doesn’t have more classical ballet offerings and I certainly can’t argue with someone about what makes them want to sleep —say, as if pricked with a poisoned kneedle. But Sleeping Beauty a popcorn ballet? To me, Sleeping Beauty is a popcorn ballet as much as Twelfth Night is a popcorn play.  There is a world of Draculas and other choreographically thin though often well-crafted and popular balletic entertainment out there that one might more convincingly call ‘popcorn’, since Sleeping Beauty is one of the most choreographically rich, not to say transcendent, ballets ever created and has a wonderful score as well. I allow that Tchaikovsky is easy on the ear...but even so, I’d be reluctant to call his music for the ballet ‘popcorn’ especially compared to some other nineteenth-century ballet music.

 

Edited by Drew
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Drew your points are well taken.  I think it's my own personal taste that makes me think of  'popcorn'.    Perhaps it's not the right term.  Suffice it to say that I prefer a bit more drama.  Give me swans, mad scenes, or star-crossed lovers, and I'm there!    The story line of Sleeping Beauty just never appealed to me, so I've only gone to see it once live.   I saw ABT do the Ratmansky version at KC a couple of years ago.  It turned me off to ever wanting to see it again.  The music was the only saving grace.   I do love  Tchaikovsky.   For 2018/2019 there are still some full lengths at KC to consider. There is always the nutcracker, and there is  the  Mariinsky's Corsaire  (not a fan of that either, but it's the Mariinsky for goodness sake) and then there's the National Ballet of China's Raise the Red Lantern, the latter of which I've never seen.   So the season isn't a total wash.  I'm also going to see The Ballet National de Cuba perform  Giselle in June, so I can get my dose of drama then.

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41 minutes ago, theo said:

  I'm also going to see The Ballet National de Cuba perform  Giselle in June, so I can get my dose of drama then.

I haven't seen them recently, but I would think that should be a very good--and definitely drama!  Wish I could see it.

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I wish we knew something about the choreographers for the three premieres in April. Still, early April in the mid-Atlantic looks very interesting!

NYCB at Kennedy Center April 2-7: http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BTBSD

Washington Ballet premieres April 3-7: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2018-2019-season/three-world-premieres

Pennsylvania Ballet Balanchine (Apollo, Stravinsky Violin Concerto) April 4-7:  http://paballet.org/2018-2019-season/

Mariinsky-Le Corsaire at Kennedy Center April 9-14: http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BTBSG

Pennsylvania Ballet has some serious competition, but there are some nice possibilities there with a little help from Amtrak!

 

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46 minutes ago, Drew said:

I haven't seen them recently, but I would think that should be a very good--and definitely drama!  Wish I could see it.

The last time I saw them was in 1998 at City Center in New York. They performed Cinderella.  I am looking forward to this one.  I will report. 

 

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3 hours ago, sandik said:

I wonder what Ratmansky will make of Bolero?

They actually performed this (along with Les Sylphides) in September 2017: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2017-2018-season/russian-masters

So that's three pieces from the 2017-18 season that are being repeated (not counting Nutcracker). Very disappointing.

Ratmansky made the Bolero back in 2001: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/arts/dance/31morphoses.html

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With the exception of the Nutcracker, I don't believe there are repeats for the 2018/2019 season.   Les Sylphides and Bolero were part of the "Russian Masters" program which was performed in October of 2017.   That program is not being repeated in the 2018/2019 season.  Serenade is actually being performed this month as part of the Mixed Masters program,   which is the last program of the  2017/2018 season.    TWB is repeating a program titled "Three World Premiers" for the 2018/2019 season, but hopefully it will not be the same three that they recently performed. Otherwise they would not actually be premiers. 

 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, theo said:

With the exception of the Nutcracker, I don't believe there are repeats for the 2018/2019 season.   Les Sylphides and Bolero were part of the "Russian Masters" program which was performed in October of 2017.   That program is not being repeated in the 2018/2019 season.  Serenade is actually being performed this month as part of the Mixed Masters program,   which is the last program of the  2017/2018 season.    TWB is repeating a program titled "Three World Premiers" for the 2018/2019 season, but hopefully it will not be the same three that they recently performed. Otherwise they would not actually be premiers. 

But please look at the program for September 2018: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2018-2019-season/twb-welcomes

Bolero and Les Sylphides are repeats from October 2017: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2017-2018-season/russian-masters

Serenade is a repeat from April 2018: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2017-2018-season/mixed-masters

 

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California, I stand corrected.  I totally missed that!   The only twist to the repeat programming is adding guest artists.  Interesting, I think (being a little sarcastic).  It is kind of strange and I agree, disappointing as well.  

Edited by theo
Clarify statement.
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2 minutes ago, theo said:

California, I stand corrected.  I totally missed that!   The only twist to the repeat programming is adding guest artists.  Interesting, I think. 

For sure. It might be that she added so much new rep last year that they felt they needed to recycle some of it to construct a season.

I'd really like to see the Ratmansky Bolero, but it doesn't work with my schedule. 

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It's funny, I was really disappointed when I saw TWB's new season, but between what California and Drew have said, I'm starting to think more about it.  Bolero does sound interesting and my Husband absolutely wants to see Sleeping Beauty so I guess the new season is "on".  

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There's no winning this argument:  in Seattle, every season there are at least three ballets I wish we could see again right away, like in the next rep, and we either wait years, or they haven't returned, at least yet.  The only back-to-back I can remember is "One Flat Thing," the first two times it was done, and that was a very deliberate choice on Peter Boal's part.  

Perhaps "Serenade" is a ballet that Julie Kent thought had a traction with the local and/or subscription audience and/or the dancers.  

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7 hours ago, California said:

They actually performed this (along with Les Sylphides) in September 2017: https://www.washingtonballet.org/performance/2017-2018-season/russian-masters

So that's three pieces from the 2017-18 season that are being repeated (not counting Nutcracker). Very disappointing.

Ratmansky made the Bolero back in 2001: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/arts/dance/31morphoses.html

Do we need to be concerned that finances played a role? It's my understanding that when a company rents choreography they get the use of it for 3-5 years.

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4 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

Do we need to be concerned that finances played a role? It's my understanding that when a company rents choreography they get the use of it for 3-5 years.

I assume money played a role, including the time to teach/rehearse the dancers in all these new pieces. But typically, even if a company has rights for, say, five years, they don't perform it every year!

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Three years is more typical, although everything is negotiable, It is possible that a ballet on a three-year contract is performed two seasons in a row instead of skipping a season, to be able to perform it more than once.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet is running a fascinating series of audience education events this year, and the session last autumn on "The Business of Ballet" spent some time on this kind of scheduling.  I posted a fairly long set of notes about it here, but the gist is that performance rights are negotiated with the choreographer or other rights holder, that they can vary widely but generally allow for a set number of performances over a set number of seasons.  In the past, PNB would schedule something in consecutive years to take advantage of the retained knowledge of the cast, but more often now they try to negotiate for a five year window with at least a year between performances. 

From my notes:

"Mullikin spoke in detail about licensing works.  ...  In general, PNB asks for a license to perform a work two or three times over a five year period – occasionally you really only want to perform a work once, but that’s the exception.  Fees are usually between $10,000 and $50,000, but that reflects a variety of elements.  A few works cost more than that – the most she would say is that they are a “substantial amount”

Boal said that in the past a contract would usually be written for a couple of years, so that if you wanted to do a work in more than one program, you had to bring it back the following year, which didn’t really work so well for most audiences.  Apparently Mullikin is the one who developed the “perform twice in a five year period” model, which is a big improvement."

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What a disappointing season announcement, with all of the repetitions from the current one. Sleeping Beauty would normally get my cheers but with this smallish company? In the smallish Eisenhower Theater? Even with the added resources of the Studio Company and the School, the best that we could hope for is “Pocket Beauty” or “SB Light.”

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Sleeping Beauty may actually be performed at the KC Opera House. We'll have to wait and see when KC actually posts it to their schedule I think.   TWB dances in both the Eisenhower Theater and the Opera House.  They performed Romeo and Juliet in the Opera House this past February and I thought the company looked really good.  I did not feel a sense of smallness.  I'm hoping for the best.  

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