Sleepy Hollow Takes the Stage

Onuki with Brooklyn Mack in British Invasion. Photo by Paul Wegner, Courtesy TWB.

 

Washington Irving's spooky tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman has long enchanted readers. And today through Feb. 22, The Washington Ballet presents the world premiere of Septime Webre's full-length Sleepy Hollow at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The brand-new story ballet is sure to haunt with witches, ghosts, life-size horse puppets and, of course, a Headless Horseman. For Pointe's biweekly newsetter, we spoke with TWB leading dancer Maki Onuki, who plays Katrina Van Tassel, before the premiere.

How would you describe this version of Sleepy Hollow?

It's a very fun production, and it feels more like a Broadway musical or a movie. There's a lot of wow factor in it, including two really big horse puppets operated by the dancers.


The ballet starts out with the Salem Witch Trials. How does that connect with the rest of the narrative?

The story of Sleepy Hollow is short, so Septime added the Salem witches as a backstory. It starts with three witches who get burned onstage, and their souls get stuck in a book that Ichabod Crane has. If he's having a dream, those witches always come to him.

 

What's the most challenging part of portraying Katrina?

The acting. She likes two men and she also has a pas de deux with the Headless Horseman, so I'm learning to show the different sides of her with each guy and in each pas de deux.


What's it like dancing with the Headless Horseman?

He doesn't want Katrina to see him because he doesn't want her to know that he has no head. So he's covering her eyes for the whole pas de deux. The movement is very slow, and it's more mysterious and softer.

 

 For even more interviews, tips, audition info and giveaways, sign up for our FREE e-newsletter.


Latest Posts


Getty Images

How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Ballet companies, including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet all pledged that #BalletRelevesBlackLives, an online campaign to show solidarity with the Black community. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks