To combine two timeless artsy clichés, the Kennedy Center has saved its last dance for a phoenix rising from the ashes. The third iteration of the Ballet Across America festival closes with a performance featuring Dance Theatre of Harlem, the storied black dance company that disbanded in 2004. Now D.C. native Virginia Johnson is attempting to revive the troupe, with a roster that includes three local dancers. At the Kennedy Center, the company will perform Robert Garland’s “Return,” accompanied by the recorded voices of Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Also on the program: North Carolina Dance Theatre, performing Sasha Janes’ romantic “Rhapsodic Dances,” and Ballet Austin, performing a contemporary work by Stephen Mills. Other highlights from the festival include the Oregon Ballet Theatre taking on a James Kudelka work that’s been called a “Terpsichordian relay race,” and Boston Ballet dashing through the diagonals in Balanchine’s “Symphony in C.” But given that those troupes have been to Ballet Across America before, the real attraction might just be “Return.”
The program begins at 1:30 p.m at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $20–$49. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org.