Although ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, its success has much to do with France: In the 16th century, Catherine de Medici, an Italian noblewoman, wife of King Henry II of France and a great patron of the arts, began to fund ballet in the French court. Her elaborate festivals encouraged the growth of ballet de cour, a program that included dance, decor, costume, song, music and poetry. A century later, King Louis XIV helped to popularize and standardize the art form as we know it.
Fast-Forward to today and we are just as excited about the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series, which continues to showcase the best of ballet from regional companies across the nation. Ballet Across America III has returned to the Kennedy Center this week and features innovative pieces from The Richmond Ballet, Oregon Ballet, Boston Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, Washington Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. A not to be missed DC event close to Sofitel DC.