The Kennedy Center 2022-2023 ballet season features some of the most revered and innovative companies from around the world:
Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo
Kansas City Ballet
National Ballet of China
American Ballet Theatre
New York City Ballet
In referencing the entire upcoming ballet and dance season at Kennedy Center, Alicia Adams, Vice President of Dance and International Programming comments:
“Audiences will be immersed in the innate rhythms and cadences of movement through the extraordinary scope of preeminent choreographers from across the globe during this season. As we look beyond the 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center, the dance season continues to build upon its legacy of presenting a dynamic range of diverse companies and artists. We are also elated to be co-commissioners on a new work, and for the first time, to present one of Canada’s leading contemporary Indigenous dance companies.”
Director of Dance Programming, Jane Rabinovitz, adds:
“This season we strive to go beyond the purely traditional and expand our understanding of ballet in a three-fold way. We hope our audiences will appreciate the variety of offerings on display this season and will take notice of a wider array of ballet aesthetics from contemporary to classical and an expansion of our ballet cannon through the presentation of new literary stories. As we aim to highlight works from a larger pool of companies from across more regions of the United States and Europe, we look forward to sharing these innovative works with audiences in our Opera House and Eisenhower Theater.”
The ballet season, with live music by the Center’s own Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, kicks off with the Kennedy Center debut of Monaco’s national ballet company, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
The season also includes the returns of National Ballet of China as the cornerstone of the Center’s 2023 Lunar New Year festivities, and perennial Kennedy Center favorites New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Continuing the Center’s explorations of American Nutcrackers, Kansas City Ballet returns for the Center’s holiday season.
Two literary classics told through a contemporary lens then take center stage in the spring with the return of The Joffrey Ballet, marking its first full-week, non-Nutcracker engagement since 1997, with Anna Karenina, and a long awaited East Coast premiere from Scottish Ballet, which coincides with the 70th Anniversary of the play, The Crucible.
Throughout the season, the Center’s Education Division offers numerous events connected to the work happening on stage including masterclasses, conversations, panels, artist talks, family dance workshops, and more.
Choreographed by Choreographer-Director Jean-Christophe Maillot, the contemporary production explores the parallel universes of artifice and simplicity and reflects on how loss can shape the direction of a life. Guided by the memory of her mother, Cinderella makes her journey in search of a true love among the tragic excesses of a court.
A streamlined and sleek set by French street artist and scenic designer Ernest Pignon-Ernest is joined by Jérôme Kaplan’s vibrant costumes and lighting by Dominique Drillot.
Established by the Princess of Hanover in 1985, the Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo continues the long tradition of dance in Monaco going back to Serge de Diaghilev’s legendary Ballet Russes.
Kansas City Ballet | November 23-27, 2022
The Nutcracker by Devon Carney
Last seen in 2017 on the Opera House stage, Kansas City Ballet returns to the Center in the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. This critically-acclaimed production, with enchanting choreography by Artistic Director Devon Carney, features the classic Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman in a grand tribute to the season. This magical holiday experience is wrapped with exquisite costumes, grand sets, and is theatrically captivating.
National Ballet of China | February 1-5, 2023
Chinese New Year
Last seen at the Center in 2019 with Raise the Red Lantern, the renowned National Ballet of China returns to the Center with its adaptation of The Nutcracker performed as the cornerstone of the Center’s 2023 Lunar New Year festivities.
Rescheduled from the 2021–2022 season due to the global conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, this colorful, fresh tale is brought to life by vibrant characters and choreography featuring Tchaikovsky’s treasured score.
As a young Chinese girl celebrates the New Year, she embarks on a mystical journey through a world of festive Chinese customs including a scroll of Chinese folklore showcasing the legendary monster Nian, the elegant and graceful Fans, the extravagant dances of Silk and Spinning Top, and more wonders in the Porcelain Kingdom.
A production not seen at the Center since the 2009–2010 season, this ballet adaption of Shakespeare’s play, with sumptuous designs by Nicholas Georgiadis, was given its ABT company premiere at the Kennedy Center in 1985. Against the setting of Renaissance Italy, Sergei Prokofiev’s unforgettable music underscores the beauty and passion of this beloved ballet and its star-crossed lovers.
The Joffrey Ballet | April 5-9, 2023
Anna Karenina by Yuri Possokhov
The acclaimed Joffrey Ballet marks its first full-week, non-Nutcracker engagement since 1997 with the D.C. premiere of Anna Karenina, the company’s first full-length story ballet accompanied by an original score.
Created by visionary choreographer Yuri Possokhov and co-produced by The Australian Ballet, this original production, which received its world premiere in 2019, brings Leo Tolstoy’s epic 19th-century story of passion and forbidden love to life on the stage.
A ballet in two acts, Possokhov’s Anna Karenina centers on the tragic tale of a married aristocrat and her ongoing love triangle in Imperial Russia, a story that explores the complex politics of family, religion, morality, and gender. With music by award winning Russian composer Ilya Demutsky, the creative team also includes Emmy Award®–winning and Tony Award®–nominated set and costume designer Tom Pye and renowned lighting designer David Finn.
Scottish Ballet | May 24-28, 2023
The Crucible by Helen Pickett
Known for bold and adventurous performances rooted in the classical style, Scottish Ballet returns with the East Coast premiere of a ballet based on Arthur Miller’s drama of power and persecution, The Crucible.
A story as relevant today as when it was first written, Miller’s 1953 masterpiece explores the impact of the 17th-century Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts and was famously written as an allegory for the heightened political repression and reckless accusations of McCarthyism that gripped the United States at the time of its writing.
Commissioned as part of Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary season, the evening-length work received its world premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2019. It features powerful choreography by celebrated Brooklyn-based choreographer Helen Pickett and a haunting score by acclaimed British composer Peter Salem. Rescheduled from the 2019–2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2023 also marks the 70th anniversary of the play, The Crucible.
New York City Ballet | June 6-11, 2023
Square Dance by George Balanchine
Donizetti Variations by George Balanchine
Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine
Afternoon of a Faun by Jerome Robbins
New York City Ballet (NYCB) returns for its annual engagement in 2023 with two programs in the Opera House reflecting both its founding legacy and the current and future visions of the artistry of the company.
The Founding Choreographers program includes three George Balanchine works: Square Dance, with music by Vivaldi and Corelli, joins the traditions of American folk dance with classical ballet; Concerto Barocco, set to Bach’s double violin Concerto in D minor, is considered to be the quintessential Balanchine ballet of its period; and Donizetti Variations, a 26-minute work that sets series of dances to the music from the opera Don Sebastian. Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun, a pas de deux to music by Debussy, depicts a chance encounter between two young dancers in a studio, and rounds out the program.
Pictures at an Exhibition by Alexei Ratmansky
Solo by Justin Peck
The second program, Visionary Voices, will bring Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, a 10-dancer ballet set to Modest Mussorgsky’s famed piano score of the same name along with Solo, NYCB’s Resident Choreographer Justin Peck’s work choreographed to the original String Quartet version of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, Solo premiered as a film directed by Sofia Coppola that served as the centerpiece of NYCB’s first-ever virtual Spring Gala.
The program will also include two additional works that will premiere in NYCB’s 22-23 season, to be announced at a later date.
Featured Photo for the Kennedy Center 2022-2023 Ballet Season of Scottish Ballet in Helen Pickett’s The Crucible. Photo by Andy Ross.