'Le Corsaire' will highlight Washington Ballet's 2010-11 season

By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 1, 2010

The Washington Ballet will add to its raft of large-scale works with its first-ever production of "Le Corsaire" next season, the company plans to announce Tuesday.

The troupe has dubbed its season "Untamed," and in addition to the grand 19th-century pirate saga, it will present a program called "Rock & Roll" that will feature a world premiere by Artistic Director Septime Webre, as well as works with music by Beck and the Rolling Stones. There will also be new pieces by Edwaard Liang and Associate Artistic Director David Palmer, as well as reliable standards in Webre's productions of "Romeo and Juliet," "Carmen" and, of course, his popular "Nutcracker."

"Le Corsaire," a damsels-in-distress spectacle with abundant bravura passages and one of classical ballet's most frequently excerpted pas de deux, is a "logical follow-up" to the full-length ballets the troupe has performed in the past few seasons, Webre said. "It builds on the experience we had with 'La Sylphide' and 'Don Quixote.' I just saw what a gift it was for them as artists to be able to tackle these roles. Everyone found their best selves."

"Le Corsaire," he added, also suits the company's character. "Right now the men of the Washington Ballet are so feisty. There's a great deal of muscle in the men's dancing. Also, it's such a fun, lighthearted piece." The ballet will be performed April 6-10 in the Eisenhower Theater.

The season will open with "Romeo and Juliet," performed to the well-known Prokofiev score Nov. 3-7 in the Eisenhower. "The Nutcracker" will be performed Dec. 2-26 at Warner Theatre. Aiming for young-adult tastes, "Rock & Roll" will be presented in Feb. 16-20 at Sidney Harman Hall and will feature Christopher Bruce's "Rooster," set to the music of the Rolling Stones; Trey McIntyre's "High Lonesome," with music by Beck; and a new piece by Webre.

"Carmen" will close the season May 18-22 at Harman Hall on a program that will also include the new works by Palmer and Liang.

Financial constraints curtailed the company's use of live music this season -- "Don Quixote" and "The Nutcracker" were performed to taped accompaniment -- and Webre said he does not yet know if the company can afford an orchestra next season.

"It's a goal for us," he said. "It's a matter of dollars and cents and how the budget evolves in the next few weeks."

© 2010 The Washington Post Company