6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Restaging Russian Classics: In Search of The Sleeping Beauty

Event Co-sponsors

The Washington Ballet's Katherine Barkman as Princess Aurora. Photo credit: Tony Powell

The Washington Ballet's Katherine Barkman as Princess Aurora. Photo credit: Tony Powell

The Russian imperial ballet The Sleeping Beauty, which premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890 with music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and choreography by Marius Petipa, remains in the repertory of ballet companies around the world.

Ballet historian Tim Scholl discussed the ballet’s historical significance as well as his own work on the 1999 restaging by the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg.  His presentation was followed by a discussion with Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet Julie Kent and Associate Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet Victor Barbee, moderated by Kennan Senior Advisor Natalie Rouland. The event culminated with a preview of the Washington Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty featuring Julie Kent and Victor Barbee in performance.

On February 28, 2019, the Washington Ballet premiered a new staging of this Russian imperial classic, drawing on the original Petipa choreography preserved in the Harvard Theatre Collection.

Restaging Russian Classics considers the continued relevance of Russian masterworks for the contemporary American audience.




  • Tim Scholl

    Professor, Russian and Comparative Literature; Director, Oberlin Center for Languages and Cultures
  • Julie Kent

    Artistic Director, The Washington Ballet
  • Victor Barbee

    Associate Artistic Director, The Washington Ballet