THROUGHOUT the history of classical ballet, various elements of Spanish dancing have been incorporated into such well-known works as "Don Quixote" and "Swan Lake." In those cases, St. Petersburg definitely won out over Seville.
The Royal National Ballet of Spain is currently attempting to showcase a far different marriage between these two movement forms. Established in 1978, an earlier incarnation of the troupe grew out of the need to rescue works most representative of Spanish artists. Renowned film and stage choreographer-dancer Antonio Gades served as its first director; some of his most searing works -- "Blood Wedding," "Love, The Magician" -- were created for this ensemble. Flamenco reigned supreme.
In 1983, Gades' dancers merged with a more ballet-oriented group to stress both the classical and flamenco styles. Today, with dancer-choreographer Jose Antonio at the helm, the Royal National Ballet performs a wide variety of narratives and pure dance pieces that plays up both the stern and sultry aspects of their country's movement heritage.
For its debut appearance in Washington, the company will present four works: Albert Lorca's "Ritmos," for 13 couples; "Alborada del Gracioso," Jose Granero's virtuosic male solo to Ravel's composition of the same name; "Flamenco," a creative collaboration in which musicians join the dancers on stage; and Granero's "Medea," a flamenco version of the Greek tragedy.ROYAL SPANISH NATIONAL BALLET -- 8 Friday, 2 and 8 Saturday and 1:30 Sunday at Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $14 to $36.