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Igor Stravinsky

Arts Days: June 17, 1882: Blazing Music's Trail
One of the greatest composers and conductors of 20th century music, Igor Stravinsky was urged by his parents to become a lawyer. But he was bitten by the musical bug as a child, attending concerts, learning to play piano, and most importantly, studying orchestration with his influential teacher, composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov.

At just 18, Stravinsky was hired to compose a score for the Ballets Russes. The Firebird, which met with critical and commercial success, was followed by more ballet scores, including Petrushka. His score for another ballet, The Rite of Spring, startled and even outraged listeners at its world premiere with its creative experimentation of chords and rhythms.

Stravinsky drew on Russian folk tunes in his works, but added elements that were completely his own, from new rhythmic patterns to polytonality, sounds that no one had ever heard before in symphonic music. Far ahead of his time, Stravinsky shook up people’s beliefs of what classical music was by reinventing modern music.
Ballet, Composers, Dance, Music, Music Legends, Orchestra

Chicago

Arts Days: June 23, 1927: Razzle Dazzle Man
From the hip roll to the finger snap to the perfectly angled hat—these are just some of the signature moves of the unmistakable “Fosse look.”

Jazz choreographer Bob Fosse invented so many moves that are now essential in modern dance that the casual observer may not even be aware of how widespread his influence continues to be. He broke new ground with dances that were demanding, entertaining, and provocative—often by creating one sharp, simple isolated movement. He honed his style in musicals like The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, and Pippin and saw his creativity peak in the musical Chicago and the autobiographical film All That Jazz.

The second film Bob Fosse directed, 1972’s Cabaret, won eight Academy Awards® including Best Director.
Broadway, Choreographers, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Jazz

Isadora Duncan

Arts Days: May 27, 1877: Something in the Way She Moves
Inspired by everything from ancient Greek art to the power of nature embodied in rushing rivers and rainy weather, Isadora Duncan poured all she had into dancing, which she believed to be the body’s expression of the soul’s innermost desires. She rejected classical ballet as too confining and controlled.

A true free spirit, Duncan brought a new athleticism to dancing; her choreography was full of leaps and jumps and skips. Barefoot, her long hair flying, dressed in Grecian-inspired flowing tunics, she was a captivating sight as she danced. She taught her students that the energy they need for dance originated in the solar plexus, a group of nerves in the body’s abdominal region.
America, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Innovators & Pioneers, Choreographers

Michael Jackson Moonwalks

Arts Days: May 16, 1983: A Marvelous Night for a Moon Dance
The crowd at the Motown 25th Anniversary Special erupted in shrieks. On stage was Michael Jackson, performing his song “Billie Jean.” Jackson spun on his heels, looked both ways, and then seemed to slide backward across the stage as though pulled by an invisible string.

Those who master the move seem to be walking forward and sliding backward at the same time. Others had done the moonwalk, or backslide, but Michael Jackson made the move his very own. Every time he did it, his fans went crazy. As a solo artist, the moonwalk was only one of Jackson's incredible moves; throw in his dance-floor hits like “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and “Thriller,” his singing, that single, spangled glove, and his mysterious persona, and you had a celebrity of nearly-unparalleled global fame.
Dance Legends, Music Legends, Rock & Roll, Popular Culture, Dance, Music

Martha Graham Dance Company

Arts Days: April 18, 1926: Mother of Modern Dance
The first dance performance Martha Graham attended at age 16 with the legendary Ruth St. Denis on the program, may have flickered through Graham’s mind when the lights went down at the 48th Street Theater in New York City, just before she made her debut. The movements she and her fellow dancers were performing that night were anything but traditional. What the audience witnessed was an early public display of Graham’s “contract and release” technique, in which muscles were held taut, then let go in accordance with the emotions a dancer sought to convey. The movements were angular, athletic, jagged—in marked contrast to the graceful style of classical ballet.

Within a year, Graham opened a dance school, attracting attention from many in the dance community. One of the most acclaimed dancers in history, Graham’s choreography shook up the world of modern dance.
Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Controversial, Innovators & Pioneers

ARTSEDGE logo

Educators: Educators Portal
Standards-based instructional resources, how-to's, guides and other supports for teaching with the arts
Education, Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts

Photograph of the inaugural speech of President John F. Kennedy

KC Festival: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Kennedy Center marks the 50th anniversary of a remarkable American presidency
Presidents, America, Dance, Music, Theater, Poetry

maximum INDIA

KC Festival: maximum INDIA
The Kennedy Center celebrates the arts and artists of India
Dance, Music, Asia, World Cultures, India

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

2700 F St.: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares “Ailey Magic” with students, giving insight into the history of the company and its founder Alvin Ailey. The company performs selections from its varied and inspiring repertoire, including their signature work, Revelations.
The Human Journey, Dance, Choreographers, Dance Legends, America

Dancing Earth

2700 F St.: Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations
Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations, with Founding Director, Choreographer, and Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, Rulan Tangen, present an exciting, interactive, “behind the scenes” peek at their performance SEEDS: RE GENERATION. Students will get to meet the intertribal Indigenous dancers whose performance art reflects the cultural heritage of Native America and indigenous global cultures. Each artist will lead different activities that may include movement, song, learning a few words in Apache and Dine languages, visual art, or possible surprise activities with seeds! Through these real life, inviting, interactivities, our artists counter stereotypes and under-represented histories, while inspiring students to unearth connections between current socio-environmental landscapes and their own origins, histories, varied cultural backgrounds, languages, homelands, foods, and “seeds” of hope, resilience, and solidarity.
The Human Journey, Dance, Choreographers, Native America

Le Corsaire

2700 F St.: Mariinsky Ballet: Le Corsaire
Le Corsaire is a captivating story of bold pirates, passionate maidens, shocking betrayal, and a dramatic shipwreck rescue. Beloved for its breathtaking choreography, virtuosic dancing, and spectacular scenery and costumes, the classic ballet is an unmissable, swashbuckling adventure. Choreographer Marius Petipa revived the ballet for the Mariinsky more than a century ago, and the company continues to perform it with exhilarating freshness and tradition.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

San Francisco Ballet

2700 F St.: San Francisco Ballet
Launching in Spring 2018 in San Francisco, Unbound: A Festival of New Works showcases all new ballets created by 12 of today’s most innovative choreographers, including David Dawson, Alonzo King, Edwaard Liang, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cathy Marston, Myles Thatcher, Stanton Welch, and Christopher Wheeldon. Favorite pieces from the festival will make their way to the Kennedy Center this fall, celebrating dance without limits and the company’s unique spirit of curiosity, experimentation, and invention.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

Harlequinade

2700 F St.: American Ballet Theatre: Harlequinade
ABT’s star-studded roster of dancers, combined with the dynamic vision of Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky, has garnered cristical acclaim for the company across global audiences. The D.C. premiere of Ratmansky’s retelling of Marius Petipa’s 19th-century comic ballet follows its New York world premiere in summer 2018. He brings the “lost” classic to life with a bold new staging co-produced with Australian Ballet, inspired by Petipa’s archival notes and set to original music by Riccardo Drigo. In this two-act ballet, Harlequin fights for his true love, Columbine. Playful costumes and vivid sets create a charming tribute to the Italian commedia dell’arte style, known for its slapstick humor and rollicking characters.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

Ragamala Dance Company

2700 F St.: Ragamala Dance Company
Drawing from the classical Indian dance form Bharatanatyam, the Ragamala Dance Company’s work provides a bridge between ancient and modern cultures. In Written in Water, one of the company’s newest productions, the childhood game Snakes & Ladders—a second-century Indian board game—sets the stage for the emotional journey that unfolds when people search for truth while desperately attempting to avoid human failing. With the Sufi poem “The Conference of Birds” as a framework, rich choreography is paired with original music by Iraqi American jazz artist Amir ElSaffar and Carnatic composer Prema Ramamurthy and performed live by ElSaffar and an ensemble. Projections by Chennai-based cartoonist Keshav and Minneapolis artist Nathan Christopher draw you even further into this mesmerizing world.
India, Dance, Choreographers, World Cultures

Ballet West: The Nutcracker

2700 F St.: Ballet West: The Nutcracker
No company holds a more storied relationship with The Nutcracker than Ballet West, which has kept the ballet in its repertoire since performing the first complete American version more than 70 years ago. Now, Ballet West returns to perform the D.C. premiere of its whimsical new production of The Nutcracker, which was unveiled in Salt Lake City last year. Pairing reimagined designs with beloved choreography, the opulent production delivers treasured moments and surprising new delights. Featuring grand sets and fantastical costumes alongside Tchaikovsky’s cherished score, this Nutcracker is a glittering, larger-than-life adventure.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

Mariinsky Ballet: The Little Humpbacked Horse

2700 F St.: Mariinsky Ballet: The Little Humpbacked Horse
Once upon a time, there was a beloved Russian fairy tale that was told to countless generations about a young boy’s amazing adventures with a magical horse. Now, Alexei Ratmansky and the Mariinsky Ballet re-imagine this classic story in 21st-century style.
Dance, Ballet

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

2700 F St.: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
You may have heard of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AADT). No surprise--they’ve been on the main dance stage since 1958. Based in New York City, the company has toured all over the world, but who exactly was Alvin Ailey?
Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

Cinderella

2700 F St.: Cinderella: San Francisco Ballet Working Rehearsal
Okay, you know the story…it’s the well-loved fairy tale about an unlikely princess. Sounds familiar, right?
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Folklore, Europe

Cincinnati Ballet Nutcracker

2700 F St.: The Nutcracker: Cincinnati Ballet
The Nutcracker, one of the most popular ballets of all time, is about the magic and mystery of the holiday season.
Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends, Folklore

Freeze Frame

2700 F St.: Freeze Frame... Stop The Madness: Debbie Allen Dance Academy
A performance based on true stories and told in a fusion of drama, music, dance, video, and art.
America, Choreographers, Controversial, Dance, Dance Legends, Young Artists, JFKC

STREB

2700 F St.: SEA (Singular Extreme Actions)
Flips, twists, falls, and dives! Get ready to gasp, because this is no ordinary dance performance. It’s EXTREME ACTION, as the title states, with a big dose of dance, athletics, rodeo riding, boxing, circus, and stunt work.
Dance, Dance Legends, Choreographers

Grey Skies Blue

Cuesheet: Grey Skies Blue: Performed by SHAPESHIFT Theatrical
A young woman is forced to confront her past when her estranged mother suddenly appears at her doorstep. Two lifelong friends face a journey of cultural and self-identity together. A promising relationship is jeopardized by deception. Can any of them trust their friends or companions? And how well do they truly know themselves?
Theater, Accessibility, Dance

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Cuesheet: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mini Performance
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares "Ailey Magic" with students, giving insights into the history of the company and its founder Alvin Ailey. The company performs their signature work, Revelations.
Backstage, Ballet, Choreographers, Dance, Dance Legends

Paquita

Performance Guide: Mariinsky Ballet: Paquita
Most famous for its Act III “Grand Pas” wedding scene, Paquita is a glittering showcase of classical technique, dazzling tutus, and non-stop virtuosic turns. This 19th-century treasure is rarely performed in its entirety and, after treating our audiences to the Grand Pas in 2016, the company now brings the U.S. premiere of its lavish new full production.
Dance, Ballet, Backstage

Balancing Bodies

Performance Guide: Balancing Bodies
Take a seat in a rolling office chair and observe an ordinary space transform into a universe full of surprises and twists. Dutch dance/theater company WOEST brings this interactive show in which the interplay between performer and spectator is the nucleus around which everything orbits. As a world builds from nothing to something, audience members take part in balancing playfulness and organization, young and old, foolishness and seriousness, and more.
Dance, Physical Activity

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