Ryan Galbraith Photography
Dancers with Ballet West rehearse. The troupe has been invited to the Kennedy Center.

For the first time in 16 years, Ballet West will perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Ballet West will start the Kennedy Center's "Ballet Across America" series, a part of its "Dance Across America" series, on Tuesday. Other companies chosen to perform in the series, which runs through Friday, include the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Washington Ballet, Boston Ballet, the Kansas City Ballet, Houston Ballet and Chicago's Joffrey Ballet.

Ballet West will perform George Balanchine's "Serenade," which premiered at the School of American Ballet in 1934.

Adam Sklute, Ballet West's artistic director, said he is excited for the company members.

"They are dancing wonderfully," he said during an interview. "They deserve to be seen in a major venue, and I'm very proud of them."

The Kennedy Center contacted Ballet West executive director Johann Jacobs just prior to Sklute's arrival in Utah, Sklute said. "So, this has been in the works for about a year."

Sklute said the Kennedy Center chose "Serenade," which Balanchine created out of a lesson for the School of American Ballet in New York.

"We gave them a list of our repertoire," he said. "They reviewed it and informed us that they would like to see 'Serenade."'

Sklute said it was fitting because that work is the first that Balanchine choreographed after he arrived in the United States. "And we are proud as a company to be ambassadors of Utah," said Sklute, who became Ballet West's artistic director last summer.

Tickets for the Kennedy Center performance are $29-$85 and can be purchased at www.kennedy-center.org or by calling 800-444-1324 .

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