The Washington Ballet's Sona Kharatian and Dan Roberge in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. Procopio Photography, Courtesy TWB.

Onstage This Week: Cathy Marston World Premiere at The Royal Ballet, The Washington Ballet Takes The Kennedy Center, and More!

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.


The Royal Ballet Presents the World Premiere of Cathy Marston's "The Cellist"

The world premiere of Cathy Marston's The Cellist for The Royal Ballet opens February 17 and runs through March 4. The Cellist, inspired by the life and career of cellist Jacqueline du Pré, marks Marston's first time choreographing for The Royal Ballet main stage. It's joined on a program with Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering.

The Washington Ballet Pairs Balanchine and Ashton at The Kennedy Center

The Washington Ballet is back onstage at the Kennedy Center this week with a program titled BALANCHINE + ASHTON. Running February 19-23, this mixed bill contrasts the two beloved 20th century choreographers. DC-based audiences can see Sir Frederick Ashton's Birthday Offering and Méditation from Thaïs alongside George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. The program also includes Défilé, showcasing students of The Washington School of Ballet, choreographed by artistic director Julie Kent in celebration of the school's 75th anniversary.

Colorado Ballet Studio Company Presents Its Third Sensory Friendly Performance

A ballerina demonstrates standing on relev\u00e9 to a young boy. They're surrounding by other children and adults practicing dance moves.

Colorado Ballet dancers demonstrate to audience members at the company's last Sensory Friendly Performance.

Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Colorado Ballet Studio Company presents its third Sensory Friendly Performance on February 22 at the company's Black Box Theater. The program, titled From the Page to the Stage, includes excerpts from Don Quixote, The Nutcracker and Peter Pan. It's specially designed for audience members with sensory processing disorders, autism or other developmental disabilities, and is free for children and only $5 for adults.

American Repertory Ballet Returns to the Kaye Playhouse for One Night Only

On February 22, American Repertory Ballet presents New Heights at The Kaye Playhouse in New York City. The program includes four contemporary works: Trey McIntyre's Blue Until June, Ethan Stiefel's Overture, Riccardo DeNigris' Beyond the Normal and Septime Webre's Fluctuating Hemlines, danced to music by Robert (Tigger) Benford performed live.

Ballet 5:8 Tours Holocaust-Themed Ballet to Milwaukee

This week Ballet 5:8 embarks on a tour of Butterfly, its evening of one-act ballets. First up, the company heads to Milwaukee's Father Robert V. Carney Performing Arts Center on February 22. Over the next month, Ballet 5:8 continues on to locations in Chicago, Des Moines and Kalamazoo. The program features Julianna Rubio Slager's Butterfly, the story of a Holocaust survivor from the Terezin ghetto, alongside a world premiere by Kevin Jenkins and Slager's Of Splendors and Horrors and Brothers & Sisters.

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Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Cicely Tyson and the Enduring Legacy of Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem

Cicely Tyson, the legendary 96-year-old Black actress whose February 16 funeral at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church was attended by, among others, Tyler Perry, Lenny Kravitz, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, is remembered for performances that transcended stereotypes and made an indelible impression on a nation's heart and soul.

Among the most fondly remembered is her breakout role in the 1972 movie Sounder, which depicts a Black sharecropper family's struggle to survive in the Jim Crow South. The role catapulted Tyson to stardom, winning her an Academy Award nomination and a reputation as someone committed to enhancing Blacks' representation in the arts. Throughout a seven-decade career, countless critically acclaimed, award-winning roles in films, onstage and on television reaffirmed that image. Yet one role reflecting the depth of that commitment is much less visible—the supporting one she played working with longtime friend Arthur Mitchell when he envisioned, shaped and established the groundbreaking Dance Theatre of Harlem.

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As Ballet Looks Toward Its Future, Let's Talk About Its Troubling Emotional Demands

As a ballet student, I distinctively remember being told that to survive ballet as a profession, one must be exceptionally thick-skinned and resilient. I always assumed it was because of the physically demanding nature of ballet: long rehearsal hours, challenging and stressful performances, and physical pain.

It wasn't until I joined a ballet company that I learned the true meaning behind those words: that the reason one needs thick skin is not because of the physical demands, but because of the unfair and unnecessary emotional demands.

Undoubtedly, emotional and physical strength go hand in hand to some extent. But the kind of emotional demand I am talking about here is different; it is not the strength one finds in oneself in moments of fatigue or unwillingness. It is the strength one must have when being bullied, humiliated, screamed at, manipulated or harassed.

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Artists of the Australian Ballet perform the "Kingdom of the Shades" from La Bayadère. Lynette Wills, Courtesy Australian Ballet.

Catch the Australian Ballet’s Livestreamed Season Premiere This Weekend

After a yearlong hiatus, the Australian Ballet is ready to return to the stage. The company's season opener, titled Summertime at the Ballet, packs a great deal of firsts: It marks the ballet's first performance before a live audience since the start of the pandemic; the first time the company takes the stage under the leadership of its new artistic director, David Hallberg; and the first time Australian Ballet performs at the Melbourne & Olympic Parks Margaret Court Arena. Another important first: The performance will be livestreamed not only in Australia but all over the world. Summertime at the Ballet will be broadcast February 28 at 11:45 am AEDT (that's 7:45 pm EST on February 27 here in the U.S.), with bonus features, such as interviews and commentary. It will be accessible for 48 hours to accommodate all time zones.

This livestream will be provided via the Australian Ballet's newly launched digital platform, Live on Ballet TV. "One of my main goals is for the company to be seen by as many people around the world as possible," says Hallberg, the American-born international star who took the helm at the Australian Ballet in January. "Which is why Live on Ballet TV is such an integral part of my vision artistically."

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