A Nordic Celebration of the Winter Solstice in Music, Dance & Drama
Join us on a journey into the wonders of Nordic winter traditions! As our families from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden gather to celebrate the season, let the haunting melodies, breathtaking dance, mysterious folk legends, and joyful carols get you into the holiday spirit!
Discover mythic drama from Finland’s epic Kalevala. As the moon lights the snow, watch the spirited Icelandic Vikivaki as a mysterious stag looks on. Celebrate the Swedish “bringing of the light” by Sankta Lucia with her crown of candles. Watch dancers twirl in the hypnotic Telespringar and thrill to the spectacular leaps of Norway’s Tom Løvli in the Halling dance. Be enchanted by the songs and dances of our children, and participate in their retelling of a beloved Norwegian fairy tale. Delight as we decorate our tree with traditional woven hearts and raise your voice with us in the festive Danish toasts and carols.
Revel with our cast of over 100, ages 8–85, as we journey to the Northlands.
Glædelig Jul | Hyvää Joulua | Gleðileg Jól | God Jul
Washington Revels’ flagship production, The Christmas Revels, is an annual festive celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of sun and light after the “shortest day.” Through music, dance and drama, it draws on traditions and rituals from many lands, peoples, and eras — medieval, Renaissance and Victorian English, French, Russian, Roma (Gypsy), African-American, Nordic, American Appalachian, Native American, Renaissance Italian, Québécois, medieval Andalusian (Sephardic, Arabic and Spanish), southern Balkan (Bulgarian, Greek and Thracian Turkish), Irish, and more.
2016 Performance Dates & Times
Saturday, December 10, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 11, 2:00pm
Friday, December 16, 7:30pm (Family Friday)
Saturday, December 17, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 18, 1:00pm & 5:00pm
Orchestra A-N (Center): Adult $60 | Youth $40
Orchestra A-N (Sides): Adult $50 | Youth $32
Terrace* AA-JJ: Adult $45 | Youth $27
Terrace* KK-RR: Adult $30 | Youth $20
Terrace* SS-UU: Adult $18 | Youth $12
Wheelchair Spaces** (Row N): see Row N pricing above
Youth = 18 and under
* Terrace seats require climbing stairs
**Wheelchair seating: please call 301-587-3835
GW Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
10% off for groups of 10-19; 20% off for groups of 20 or more*
Service charges: $2.50 per ticket plus $3.50 per order
* Available only through the Washington Revels office: call 301-587-3835
FAMILY FRIDAY NIGHT:
25% off Youth tickets on December 16 at 7:30pm
Save money and bring the whole family on Friday night!!
Please Note: Discounted Youth tickets do not count toward 10-ticket and 20-ticket thresholds for purposes of group discounts.
All performances wheelchair accessible.
Audio Description – Sunday, December 11 at 2:00pm
2016 Guest Artists
Tom Løvli will be traveling from Norway to dance in the 2016 Christmas Revels. Tom grew up on a sheep farm in upper Jondalen, northwest of Kongsberg. At age seven, Tom began to learn the leaps and kicks of the Halling dance. In 1985, when he was 12 years old, long before Alexander Rybak and the Frikar dance troupe won Norway’s Grand Prix annual popular song competition, Tom competed in Norway’s national folk competition, Landskappleiken. At 18, he and a colleague made their first appearance in Washington, DC. Over the years, there have been more than 100 shows across the United States. He also danced throughout Europe, accompanying the Olympic torch for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. On the way, he kicked the hat so hard that it landed in Queen Sonja’s lap as she sat next to Queen Margrete of Denmark — the Queen laughed while security fumed. In 2003 he became the Norwegian champion for the first time. Tom danced with Washington Revels in 1996, again in 2005, and will be a highlight of the 2016 show.
Merja Soria, a native of Finland, was the first Finlandia Foundation performer of the year in 1996. She received an MA in Music at Sibelius Academy in Finland and has taught Finnish music at San Diego State University and University of San Diego. In 2003 and 2006, Ms. Soria was featured in the Who’s Who in America, and in 2005, she received an award at SDSU for Academic Excellence and Community Outreach. Merja has performed at the Los Angeles Music Center, Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, Toronto Centre for the Arts, Peninsula Music Fair, and many other music festivals in the US and Europe. Currently, Ms. Soria teaches the young children of San Diego at her own music program, Miss Merja‘s Music Room.
Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelley, Charlie Pilzer
Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelley, and Charlie Pilzer have performed at concerts and dances across the U.S. and in Europe for over 25 years, including appearances on All Things Considered, Performance Today, and Prairie Home Companion. They can be heard together on the CDs Hambo in the Snow and Hambo in the Barn. Andrea, widely known for her versatile fiddling, is a 1984 graduate of Malungs Folkhögskola, and studied intensively with elder fiddlers Päkkos Gustaf and Nils Agenmark. Loretta is America’s foremost player of the hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle), an ornately-decorated Norwegian folk violin with sympathetic strings and a 300-year-old tradition. She has studied with numerous master fiddlers in Norway and placed highly in Norwegian fiddle competitions. Charlie is an award-winning performer and producer of traditional and acoustic music. He is a long-time member of Spælimenninir, a folk band based in the Faroe Islands.
lydia ievins (pronounced EYE-vinz) plays five-string fiddle and nyckelharpa for Scandinavian and English Country dancing. Her absolute favorite thing about playing in either genre is the boundless opportunity to create rich harmonic lines. As an avid dancer herself, she infuses her playing with rhythmic clarity and sensitive phrasing to produce eminently danceable music. Her duo album Northlands with Bruce Sagan features a collection of original tunes inspired by Scandinavian traditional styles. lydia is pleased to have been awarded a bronze Zorn medal in Sweden for her playing in the Uppland tradition. She performs in the Scandinavian fiddle duo “lydia & Andrea” with Andrea Larson.
Scandia DC Dancers
Scandia DC Dancers is dedicated to the enjoyment of Norwegian and Swedish couple turning dances in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Directed by Linda Brooks and Ross Schipper, the group performs and teaches a large variety of dances including Gammaldans* and Bygdedans** accompanied by live music. Directors Linda Brooks and Ross Schipper have been teaching Norwegian and Swedish dancing for over 25 years and have taught in many venues including the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage. They have researched dances from Nordland in Norway, and in 2003 they earned the Big Silver Medal in Swedish Polska dancing. Linda and Ross are also members of the Nordic Dancers of Washington, DC and teach Norwegian and Swedish bygdedans (regional and village dances) to that performance group. Ross also plays Hardingfele and is the Membership Manager for the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America.
Cutting Edge Sword
Cutting Edge Sword, a sword dance group from Washington, DC, performs new and re-interpreted sword and percussive dance styles including dances from the rapper and longsword traditions of the UK and Italy. Many of these dances originated in the mining districts of England and feature intricate and fast-moving figures with interlocked swords. Members of the team also perform percussive dances from the US and Canada. The team lives and dances socially in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The group has performed numerous times with Washington Revels and remains a favorite of the Revels audiences year after year. The group was founded by David Shewmaker, and current members include David Roodman, Dave Casserly, Jerry Stein, Lynn Baumeister, Ted Hodapp, and Tom Spilsbury, with Sarah Foard on the Fiddle.
Washington Revels Brass
Our flagship production, The Christmas Revels, is a festive, fully staged celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of sun and light after the “shortest day,” radiating hope and joy in the renewal of life and the circle of the seasons. Seen by over 10,000 people every December, it draws on traditions and rituals from many lands and peoples, focusing each year on a different culture or related cultures.
Select a link below to learn more about that production.
- 2015: A Medieval Celebration of the Winter Solstice
- 2014: An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice
- 2013: “Echoes of Thrace” (Bulgaria, Greece & Turkey)
- 2012: “Spirits of Haddon Hall”
- 2011: “Treasures of Andalusia” (Jewish, Arabic & Spanish)
- 2010: Thomas Hardy (featurig The Mellstock Band)
- 2009: Leonardo’s Workshop (Italian Renaissance)
- 2008: French Canadian (Québécois)
- 2007: Elizabethan English
- 2006: Early American
- 2005: Northlands (Nordic)
- 2004: “The King and the Fool” (English Medieval)
- 2003: “Roads of the Roma”
- 2002: Victorian England
- 2001: Leonardo’s Workshop (Italian Renaissance)
- 2000: Celtic
- 1999: Celestial Fools
- 1998: Shepherd Alley – Washington, D.C.
- 1997: Medieval – King and the Fool
- 1996: Northlands
- 1995: French
- 1994: Victorian
- 1993: Celtic
- 1992: Celestial Fools
- 1991: Russian and American
- 1990: Medieval
- 1989: Storybook
- 1988: Medieval
- 1987: Celtic
- 1986: French
- 1985: Appalachian-American (featuring Jean Ritchie)
- 1984: “Haddon Hall”
- 1983: Medieval