Ballet: Time to Start Pushing

The dancers had rehearsed for months. On the eve of their premiere performance, they worked nearly twelve hours, dancing on into the night. In the basement of their three-story studio, a tailor and six seamstresses attacked a stack of white tutus: the ballerinas had danced so hard for so long that their costumes no longer fitted them. Then the lights went down in George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, and Washington got its first glimpse last week of the National Ballet Company—the city's first professional resident troupe.

The young dancers looked their eager best in Hommage an Ballet, choreographed by the...

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