We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

There’s little that is sexy about Swan Lake. Oh sure, everyone feels sad at the end when Prince Siegfried cheats on Odette with Odille and then gets a complex about it and decides they should both go drown in the lake. But does doomed romance justify the fairytale’s reputation as a date-night ballet? Make a bolder move and take your partner—permanent or potential—to a ballet with “orgasm” in the title. In French. Subtle! Petite Mort, or “little death,” is the Gallic expression for inexplicable pleasure, and the title of the Washington Ballet’s season-opening series of performances. The ballet “Petite Mort” is a contemporary classic by the Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián. As it opens, a stage full of shirtless men play around with swords. Ladies soon join them to artfully cross and uncross their legs. It’s a bit unclear whether or not the company will be up to Kylián’s choreographic demands—the last troupe to do “Petite Mort” here was Alvin Ailey—but if the dancers don’t quite all come together in “Petite Mort,” they should have better luck with two other works on the program: Hans van Manen’s steamy “5 Tangos” and Christopher Wheeldon’s dreamy “Polyphonia.” The Washington Ballet performs Oct. 22 to 26 at Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. $37–$132. (202) 362-3606. washingtonballet.org.