Ballet Across America Spotlights Women’s Creativity and Leadership

Dance Theatre of Harlem and Miami City Ballet perform, May 28–June 2


Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Program (May 28–30)

Meet the woman behind the program: Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson dances in Glen Tetley’s Greening

What are you seeing?

Crystal Serrano, Da’ Von Doane, Lindsey Croop in Valse Fantaisie. Photo by Dave Andrews.

What are you hearing?

Valse Fantaisie was created by Russian composer Mikail Glinka. The piece was originally written for solo piano in 1839, and later revised for a full orchestra in 1856. Glinka took a melancholy approach when engineering this wistful, pensive score.


What are you seeing?

Ingrid Silva and Alison Stroming in Change. Photo by Kent Becker.

What are you hearing?

McIntyre’s ballet is set to two ardent spirituals titled “By and By” and “Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Round.” These songs originated when the institution of slavery oppressed millions of people in the United States, and they continue to occupy a meaningful place in African American history to this day.


What are you seeing?

The company of Dance Theatre of Harlem in Passages. Photo by Brian Callan.

What are you hearing?

The score for Passage was created by violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery, a New York-based artist who became involved with this project through her position as a Virginia B. Toulmin Fellow at the Centre for Ballet and the Arts. Her active partnership with Claudia Schreier has led to the completion of this new ballet.


What are you seeing?

Audiences will experience a colorful and vibrant Caribbean wedding ceremony celebrating a mix of cultures with Geoffrey Holder’s Dougla. In Trinidad (Holder’s place of birth), the term “dougla” is used to refer to a person of mixed Indian/South Asian and African descent. The ballet honors these themes of mixed identity and diversity with eye-catching colors, impressive costumes, and dynamic movement.

What are you hearing?

Percussive rhythms engineered by Holder himself in collaboration with composer and conductor Tania León make up the musical backdrop for the festive performance. The original percussive band is set to perform for this particular rendition at Ballet Across America.


Shared Celebration Program (May 31)

Friday of Ballet Across America week is when we celebrate both companies on the same night, all while offering an exciting glimpse of the future. Both Miami City Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform on this evening, and we also present the world premiere of a work specially commissioned for the evening, Gustave Le Gray №1 by Pam Tanowitz, featuring dancers of both companies.

What are you hearing?

The score for this Kennedy Center commission was composed by Caroline Shaw, a vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer based in New York. Shaw was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices, written for the Grammy®-winning Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member.


Miami City Ballet Program (June 1 & 2)

Meet the woman behind the program: Lourdes Lopez

Lourdes Lopez in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations at New York City Ballet. Photo by Steven Caras.

What are you seeing?

Lauren Fadeley in Walpurgisnacht Ballet. Photo by Daniel Azoulay.

What are you hearing?

Gounod’s passionate music from the opera Faust sets the tone for Balanchine’s ballet, allowing a sense of joyful revelry to command the stage.


Jennifer Lauren and Renan Cerdeiro in Carousel Pas de Deux. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

What are you seeing?

Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s deeply touching pas de deux in Carousel is a quintessential expression of ecstatic — and dangerous — young love. The Royal National Theater’s revival of the beloved musical in 1992 was the last work MacMillan ever choreographed.

What are you hearing?

Rodger’s skillful score is captivating with its romanticism, matching the dancers’ relationship as a “vulnerable, ardent, defensive” Louise thrusts herself freely into her partner’s waiting arms (The New York Times).


What are you seeing?

Miami City Ballet dancers in Brahms/Handel.

What are you hearing?

The music is the 25 brilliant variations Brahms composed on a theme by the baroque composer George Frideric Handel.


What are you seeing?

With the spirit of creative collaboration in mind, Justin Peck sought out visual artist Shepard Fairey, renowned for his mural at Wynwood Walls, to develop a vibrant visual design for Heatscape — Peck’s second commission for Miami City Ballet.

What are you hearing?

Heatscape is set to Martinu’s relatively unknown Piano Concerto №1, which Peck considered “a hidden gem” that is “rich with texture, innovation, and relevance to the current day.”

The Kennedy Center

The nation’s performing arts center.

The Kennedy Center

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The nation’s performing arts center.

The Kennedy Center

The nation’s performing arts center.