The Washington Ballet
General information
NameThe Washington Ballet
Year founded1976
FounderMary Day
Artistic staff
Artistic DirectorJulie Kent
Official schoolThe Washington School of Ballet (TWSB)

The Washington Ballet (TWB) is an ensemble of professional ballet dancers based in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 1976 by Mary Day and has been directed by Julie Kent since 2016.[1][2]

The Mary Day years (1976–99)

Mary Day (née Mary Henry Day; 25 January 1910 – 11 July 2006), a native of Washington, and her mentor, Lisa Gardiner (né Elizabeth C. Gardiner; 1894–1958), established the Washington School of Ballet in 1944.[3] In the 1950s, a pre-professional group of dancers trained at the school joined to perform at the National Cathedral and the D.C. Department of Recreation with the National Symphony Orchestra. This group also toured New York, West Virginia, and the Dominican Republic, where the troupe performed with Alicia Alonso in 1956.[4]

In 1961, the Washington Ballet School premiered Day's The Nutcracker[3] with the National Symphony Orchestra in Constitution Hall. In 1976, Day started The Washington Ballet, a company providing a professional showcase for the students of The Washington School of Ballet. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Day hired Peter Grigsby as the first administrative director who took advantage of the Department of Labor's Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to hire dancers. He was followed by Alton Miller as director who expanded the touring of the company. The Washington Ballet founding company members included Madelyn Berdes, Patricia Berrend, James Canfield, Sharon Caplan, Robin Conrad, Lynn Cote, Laurie Dameron, John Goding, Robin Hardy, Jon Jackson, Brian Jameson, Terry Lacy, Christine Matthews, Ricardo Mercado, Julie Miles, Patricia Miller, Philip Rosemond, Helen Sumerwell and Allison Zusi.

Resident choreographer Goh

The company's first season consisted of three works by an up-and-coming choreographer/dancer from the Dutch National Ballet, Goh Choo San, who was resident choreographer at the founding of the company[5] and later became associate artistic director. Goh's teaching and choreographic demands in his first two years in Washington DC moved the company from being described as "pre-professional" to solidly professional level,[5] with Mikhail Baryshnikov showing interest in, and eventually dancing with, the company and Goh's choreography in 1979.[6]

In 1980, 17-year-old company member Amanda McKerrow was chosen as one of nine dancers to compete on the official U.S. dance team at the Fourth International Ballet Competition in Moscow. She partnered with Simon Dow and won the gold medal, becoming the first United States citizen to win the competition.[7] During the 1980s and 1990s, The Washington Ballet performed full seasons in Washington, D.C., and toured internationally to China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Spain, and South America.

During his time at The Washington Ballet until his death in November 1987, Goh choreographed 19 ballets for the company.

Post-Goh years

Mary Day stepped down as artistic director of the company in 1999 and retired as school director in 2003. She died in 2006.[3]

The Septime Webre years (1999–2016)

In 1999, Septime Webre, a Cuban-American, joined The Washington Ballet as the artistic director. Works created for the Washington Ballet by Webre include Juanita y Alicia (2000), Carmen (2001), Journey Home (2002), Cinderella (2003), Oui/Non (2006), and State of Wonder (2006), as well as Carmina Burana, Fluctuating Hemlines, Where the Wild Things Are, and Peter Pan. The company has staged the works of such contemporary choreographers as George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Trey McIntyre, Edwaard Liang, and Nacho Duato, in addition to the more classical ballets, like Giselle, Coppélia, and La Sylphide. In October 2000, Webre led The Washington Ballet on an historic tour of Havana, making it the first American ballet company to perform in Cuba since 1960. In 2004, the Washington Ballet premiered Webre's The Nutcracker. Webre created his takes on The Great Gatsby in 2010 and The Sun Also Rises in 2013.[8]

Webre also initiated DanceDC, the Washington Ballet's outreach and education program that combines creative movement with an integrated language arts curriculum for D.C. public school children. Classical pre-ballet technique is taught to interested DanceDC students through a unique scholarship program called EXCEL! Nine boys and nine girls from the DanceDC schools are selected annually to receive on-site professional ballet technique training for an hour once a week at The Washington School of Ballet. In 2005, the company began The Washington Ballet at the Town Hall Education, Arts and Recreation Campus (TWB@THEARC), a home to community programs by the company as well as a branch of the Washington School of Ballet east of the Anacostia River.[9]

Julie Kent (2016-2023)

In February 2016, Webre announced he'd be stepping down at the end of June.[10] A month later, the company announced Julie Kent, recently retired after dancing with the American Ballet Theatre for 29 years, would take the company's reins starting July 1, 2016.[11] In October 2022, it was announced that Kent would leave the company at the end of the 2022-23 season after accepting an artistic director position at Houston Ballet.[12]

Edwaard Liang (2023-present)

In October 2023, the company announced Edwaard Liang as the incoming artistic director. [13] He will officially begin directing the company in the spring of 2024. [14]


Title Choreographer Music Date performed (* refers to premiere)
Agon George Balanchine Igor Stravinsky, Agon September 17, 1999
Allegro Brillante George Balanchine Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's unfinished "Third Piano Concerto" February 23, 1983
Always, No Sometimes Trey McIntyre The Beatles May 10, 2006*
Antonio Nils Christe Antonio Vivaldi May 19, 1999*
Apollo George Balanchine Igor Stravinsky February 23, 1989
Aubade Christian Holder JS Bach, "Suite No. 1 in G major for Unaccompanied Cello" May 17, 1995*
Before Nightfall Nils Christe Bohuslav Martinu, "Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani" February 15, 1991
Birds of Paradise Choo San Goh Alberto Ginastera, "Concierto para Arpa y Orquesta" October 26, 1979*
Blue Until June Trey McIntyre Songs made famous by Etta James October 11, 2000
Boléro Nicolo Fonte Maurice Ravel April 15, 2010
Brahms on Edge Karole Armitage Johannes Brahms April 15, 2010
Brief Fling Twyla Tharp Michel Colombier and Percy Grainger February 20, 2002
Brouillards John Cranko Claude Debussy, "Preludes" May 15, 1990
Brother, Brother Ntsikelelo Cekwana Antonio Vivaldi, "Gloria Magnificat" September 27, 1995
Carmen Septime Webre Georges Bizet November 1, 2001*
Carmina Burana Septime Webre Carl Orff February 10, 2000
Cinderella Septime Webre Sergei Prokofiev May 28, 2003*
Concerto Barocco George Balanchine Johann Sebastian Bach, "Concerto in D minor for Two Violins" May 1, 1977
Coppélia Arthur Saint-Leon Léo Delibes March 31, 2004
Danses Concertantes Nils Christe Igor Stravinsky, "Danses Concertantes" October 28, 1993
Danzon John Goding Alberto Ginastera, "Piano Sonatas No. 1 and 2" May 16, 1995
Dark Elegies Antony Tudor Gustav Mahler February 21, 2002
Don Quixote Anna-Marie Holmes after Marius Petipa Ludwig Minkus October 15, 2009*
Double Contrasts Choo San Goh Francis Poulenc, "Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra" April 23, 1978*
Dumky Variations Ray Barra Antonín Dvořák, "Piano Trio in E minor (Dumky), Op. 90" February 13, 1991*
Esplanade Paul Taylor Johann Sebastian Bach October 15, 1987
Evening Graham Lustig Benjamin Britten, "Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings Op 31" November 2, 1994
The Eyes That Gently Touch Kirk Peterson Philip Glass, "Mad Rush" February 22, 2000
La Fille Mal Gardée Fernand Nault Wilhelm Hertel October 16, 1986
The Firebird Robert Weiss Igor Stravinsky October 1, 2003
Fives Choo San Goh Ernest Bloch, "Concerto Grosso No. 1 for String Orchestra," Movements I, II, IV February 12, 1978*
Fluctuating Hemlines Septime Webre Tigger Benford, commissioned April 26, 2000
The Four Temperaments George Balanchine Paul Hindemith May 10, 1989
Giselle Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa Adolphe Adam October 20, 2004
The Great Gatsby Septime Webre Compiled, composed and arranged by Billy Novick February 25, 2010
A Handel Celebration Vicente Nebrada George Frederick Handel, 12 selections from "Water Music" and "The Royal Fireworks" November 10, 1982
Hansel and Gretel Rick McCullough Engelbert Humperdinck, "Hänsel und Gretel" February 23, 1995*
Holberg Suite John Cranko Edvard Grieg, "Holberg Suite" October 10, 1990
Icare Lynn Cote Rene Dupere, "Icare" June 1996*
In the Glow of the Night Choo San Goh Bohuslav Martinu, "Symphony No. 1," Movements I, II, III March 10, 1982*
In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated William Forsythe Thom Willems October 1, 2003
In the Night Jerome Robbins Frédéric Chopin October 25, 2006
In the Upper Room Twyla Tharp Philip Glass October 25, 2006
Interlaced Lynn Cote Thomas Wilbrandt, "The Electric V — A New Perspective on Vivaldi's Four Seasons" May 8, 1996*
Jeux Toer van Schayk Claude Debussy, "Jeux," (Poeme Danse 1913) May 10, 1989
Juanita y Alicia Septime Webre Cuban, performed by Sin Miedo ("Chan Chan" by Francisco Repilado; "El Carretero" by Guillermo Portables; "Solamente Percusión" by Alfredo Mojica, Jr., Joseito Lopez, and Ralph Eskanazi;"Orguellecida" by Eliseo Silveira; "Dos Gardenias" by Isolina Carillo; "El Cuarto de Tula" by Sergio Siabo) September 17, 2000*
Journey Home Septime Webre Sweet Honey In The Rock April 4, 2002*
The Leaves Are Fading Antony Tudor Antonín Dvořák, Cypresses for string quartet, with additional music for strings February 10, 2000
Men of Kooraloona Lynn Cote Frank Martin, "Second Concerto pour Piano et Orchestra, Con Moto" May 16, 1996*
A Midsummer Night's Dream Peter Anastos Felix Mendelssohn March 20, 1997
A Midsummer Night's Dream George Balanchine Felix Mendelssohn January 21, 2004
Momentum Choo San Goh Sergei Prokofiev, "Piano Concerto No. 1 in D flat, Op. 10" October 21, 1983
Morphoses Christopher Wheeldon György Ligeti March 28, 2007
Mysteries John Goding Music and words by Ysaye M. Barnwell, "Would You Harbor Me" and "Breaths" with words by Birago Diop, and Aisha Kahlil, "Mystic Oceans" and "Listen to the Rhythm"; Bernice Johnson Reagon, "I Remember, I Believe" and "Sometime" May 8, 1996*
Na Floresta Nacho Duato Heitor Villa-Lobos, Wagner Tiso September 17, 2000
Nexus Lynn Cote Maritri Garrett and Shana Tucker, commissioned September 27, 1995*
A Night at the Ballet Matthew Diamond Emmanuel Chabrier: "Danse Slave", "Habanera", "España" October 24, 1984*
Nine Sinatra Songs Twyla Tharp Frank Sinatra November 2, 2005
Nuages Jiří Kylián Claude Debussy, Nuages February 22, 2000
The Nutcracker Mary Day/Martin Buckner after Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky December 1961
The Nutcracker Septime Webre Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky December 10, 2004*
Oui/Non Septime Webre Various artists. Vocalist: Karen Akers October 25, 2006*
Our Town Philip Jerry Aaron Copland, "Our Town," "The Red Pony," "Fanfare for the Common Man" February 16, 1996
Overstepping Monica Levy Eve Beglarian, commissioned May 15, 1991*
Pas de Quatre Anton Dolin after Jules Perrot's original work Cesare Pugni May 12, 1982
Passing By Krzysztof Pastor Johann Sebastian Bach May 13, 1998*
Peter Pan Septime Webre Carmen DeLeone January 31, 2003
Piazzolla Caldera Paul Taylor Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky January 31, 2007
The Poet Acts Septime Webre Philip Glass, from the motion picture soundtrack of The Hours October 1, 2003*
Pomp Dwight Rhoden Antonio Carlos Scott April 26, 2000
Quartet 2 Nils Christe Dmitri Shostakovich, "String Quartet No. 11" May 15, 1990
Rhapsody in Swing John Goding Glenn Miller, "Moonlight Serenade" with lyrics by Mitchell Parish;" Ferd "Jelly Roll" Morton, "King Porter Stomp"; Jerry Gray, "String of Pearls"; Irving Berlin, "Always"; Duke Ellington, Emanuel Kurtz and Irving Mills, "In A Sentimental Mood"; and Louis Prima, "Sing, Sing, Sing" February 19, 1997*
Rite of Spring Trey McIntyre Igor Stravinsky February 23, 2005*
Rubies George Balanchine Igor Stravinsky April 2, 2003
Savannah Ntsikelelo Cekwana Maritri Garrett, Marshall Johnson, Shana Tucker, and Ntsikelelo Cekwana May 14, 1997*
Scenic Invitations Choo San Goh Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Adagio and Fugue in C minor for Strings"; Ludwig van Beethoven, "Grosse Fugue in B flat, Op. 133" February 23, 1983*
Schubert Symphony Choo San Goh Franz Schubert, "Symphony No. 2 in B flat" February 20, 1985*
Scotch Symphony George Balanchine Felix Mendelssohn, "Symphony in A minor" May 16, 1979
Serenade George Balanchine Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, "Serenade for Strings" February 20, 1977
Shikar Lynn Cote Haskell Small, "Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano" November 2, 1994*
The Sleeping Beauty (Grand Pas de Deux) Marius Pepita Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, "The Sleeping Beauty" April 24, 1981
Sonata Krzysztof Pastor Johannes Brahms, Violin Sonata, No. 3 in D minor, Op 108 May 19, 1999*
Sonatine George Balanchine Maurice Ravel January 21, 2004
Square Dance George Balanchine Arcangelo Corelli and Antonio Vivaldi October 2, 1987
State of Wonder Septime Webre Johann Sebastian Bach, Goldberg Variations May 10, 2006*
Stravinsky Violin Concerto George Balanchine Igor Stravinsky February 23, 2005
La Sylphide August Bournonville Herman Severin Løvenskiold February 11, 2009
Sync Nils Christe Ludovico Einaudi, Selections from Salgari. Lyrics by Rabindranath Tagore from The Gardener May 12, 1996*
Synonyms Choo San Goh Benjamin Britten, "String Quartet No. 1 in D," Movements I, II, III May 12, 1978*
Tarantella George Balanchine Louis Gottschalk, "Grand Tarantelle," reconstructed and orchestrated by Hershy Kay February 1984
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux George Balanchine Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, ‘lost’ music for "Swan Lake" October 9, 1981
The Reassuring Effects of Line and Poetry Trey McIntyre Antonín Dvořák April 2, 2003*
The Time Before the Time After (The Time Before) Lar Lubovitch Igor Stravinsky, "Concertino for String Quartet" October 16, 1986
There Where She Loved Christopher Wheeldon Kurt Weill and Frédéric Chopin February 23, 2005
Time Out Judith Jamison Ken Hatfield April 10, 1986*
Transcendental Etudes Kevin McKenzie Franz Liszt, "Transcendental Etudes" for Piano February 12, 1992
Transit Graham Lustig Conlan Nancarrow: "Toccata," "Tango," and "Studies for Player Piano 2b, 3b, 3c, 3d, and 6" February 17, 2004
Unknown Territory Choo San Goh Jim Jacobsen, commissioned February 6, 1986*
Variation Serieuses Choo San Goh Felix Mendelssohn, "Variations Serieuses, Op. 54" May 1, 1977*
Where the Wild Things Are Septime Webre Randy Woolf, commissioned March 10, 2000
Witches of Salem Lynn Cote, based on a libretto by Millicent Monks (the original scenario for "Grohg" was not used) Aaron Copland, "Grohg" May 13, 1998*
Wunderland Edwaard Liang Philip Glass May 13, 2009

Company dancers

As of February 2024.



Studio Company



  1. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L. (5 February 2016). "Washington Ballet's Septime Webre to step down in June". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  2. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L. (7 March 2016). "ABT star Julie Kent is Washington Ballet's new artistic director". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Kisselgoff, Anna (23 July 2006). "Mary Day, Teacher of Ballet, Dies at 96". New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  4. ^ Shor, Donna (December 2020). "Around Town with Donna Shor". Washington Life Magazine. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b Khadarina, Oksanna (6 May 2014). "Washington Ballet – Tour-de-Force: Balanchine! bill – Washington". Dancetabs.
  6. ^ ((cite news first = Carolyn last = Kelemen title = Washington Ballet's Three Faces of Goh | nespaper =. [{The Washington Times}] location = Washington, D.C., United States oages = cover date = May, 1987 last = Welsh | first = Anne Marie | title = Choo San Goh puts Washington on the ballet map | newspaper = Washington Star | location = Washington, D.C., United States | pages = C-1 | date = 16 April 1979 ))
  7. ^ "Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive Instructor Spotlight: Amanda McKerrow". Atlanta Ballet. July 28, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Kaufman, Sarah (3 May 2013). "Washington Ballet's 'Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises'". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  9. ^ Milloy, Courtland (2012-11-20). "On Mississippi Ave. SE, a place of light and learning". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  10. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L. (2016-02-05). "Washington Ballet's Septime Webre to step down in June". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  11. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L. (2016-03-07). "ABT star Julie Kent is Washington Ballet's new artistic director". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  12. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L. (2022-10-21). "Washington Ballet artistic director Julie Kent is stepping down". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  13. ^ Seibert, Brian (2023-10-24). "Edwaard Liang Appointed Artistic Director of Washington Ballet". The New York Times. ISSN 1553-8095. Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  14. ^ "Edwaard Liang". Retrieved 2023-12-21.
  15. ^ "Artists". Retrieved 16 Feb 2024.
  16. ^ "Artists". Retrieved 16 Feb 2024.