Magazine article Dance Magazine

Washington Ballet

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Washington Ballet

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON BALLET JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS WASHINGTON, D.C. SEPTEMBER 17-19, 1999 BY ALEXANDRA TOMALONIS

Washington Ballet was always a quirky little company. Chamber-sized, classically schooled, and perennially young, its core repertory was a collection of neoclassical works by the late Choo-San Goh. After Goh's death, there were several attempts to find a successor, but none quite worked out, and it seemed time for a fresh start.

Septime Webre, who succeeded founder Mary Day as artistic director this season, has promised to give the company a whole new look, and his take-charge attitude and energy are evident.

The season's opening program, titled "Pushing the Boundaries," was a very mixed bag of works by choreographers Antony Tudor, Nacho Duato, George Balanchine, and Webre himself.

The pas de deux from Tudor's The Leaves Are Fading, beautifully danced by guests Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner (both will appear with the company throughout the season) was a last-minute substitution for Jiri Kylian's Nuages, which was rescheduled for administrative reasons.

In a way, this programming was an advance for the company into the world of brand-name ballet. But the central idea, as expressed in both the publicity for the program and by Webre in his friendly precurtain chat, that Agon is the father of both crossover and/or pop dance, seems misguided. Agon is a far more classical and complex work than its supposed progeny.

The new works don't seem destined for permanent repertory. …

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