Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: The New York City Ballet Returns to the Kennedy Center

During the week-long engagement, the New York City Ballet will perform two different programs, including Balanchine's 'Midsummer Night's Dream.'

Suspended Animation: Anthony Huxley, Harrison Ball, Isabella Lafreniere, Mira Nadon, Christopher Grant, Teresa Reichlen. Choreography by Sidra Bell-- Photo: Erin Baiano
Suspended Animation – Photo: Erin Baiano

The vaunted New York City Ballet returns for its annual run of performances at the Kennedy Center, this season in recognition of the institution’s 50th anniversary.

During the week-long engagement, the organization’s dancers will perform two different programs, each with live musical accompaniment from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, kicking off with a nod to the next 50 years.

The first program, performed twice next week, offers a showcase of new works by three choreographers heralded as “Visionary Voices,” Sidra Bell, Jamar Roberts, and Justin Peck.

Bell’s Suspended Animation creates an introspective world accented by Bauhaus-inspired costumes by Christopher John Rogers and set to musical selections from composers Nicholos Britell, Oliver Davis, and Dosia McKay across four movements; Roberts’s Emanon — In Two Movements offers a playful response to a jazzy orchestral score by Wayne Shorter with eight dancers outfitted by costume designer Jermaine Terry; and Peck’s Partita grows from Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices, a 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning a cappella composition in four movements that was inspired by Wall Drawing 305 by visual artist Sol LeWitt, whose daughter Eva LeWitt serves as set designer for the production.

The NYC Ballet made its debut at the Kennedy Center in 1974 with an adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic whimsical comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream by George Balanchine, regarded as the father of American ballet.

All these decades later the organization will close out its 2022 run at the Kennedy Center — starting with the performance Thursday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. — with a reprise of that work, Balanchine’s first completely original, full-length production, which has been called “dance storytelling at its finest.”

New York City Ballet: A Midsummer Night's Dream: The George Balanchine Trust-- Photo: Paul Kolnik
A Midsummer Night’s Dream — Photo: Paul Kolnik

Set to Mendelssohn’s passionate and playful score, A Midsummer Night’s Dream distills the bard’s five-act play down to just two acts, spread across six scenes, ending with a classical dance wedding celebration. The famous gang’s all here — Puck, Titania, Oberon, and donkey-headed Bottom — and all part of an overarching tale of love, magic, and revelry set primarily in an enchanted forest where mischievous fairies and unsuspecting human lovers interact.

In the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Performances are Tuesday, June 7, through Saturday, June 11, at 7:30 p.m., and also Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets are $29 to $119.

Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

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