Dance: Diversity, en Pointe

Septime Webre crossbreeds the classicism of ballet with the coolness of pop culture

The stage of the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater is full of men in black suits and women with Marge Simpson-size hair. To the quiet tick of a deep-voiced drum, they strip to their skivvies. Then the four percussionists in the pit lay down a loud backbeat, and the half-clothed dancers start flying crazily through the air. They look like mall rats at a suburban prom--but their airy lifts and arabesques are straight out of Swan Lake.

Can this really be the stodgy old Washington Ballet? None other. Fluctuating Hemlines, a sharply observed portrait of a group of young people who peel...

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