The majesty of dance is a piece of culture that has inspired the hearts and minds of people since the inception of dance itself. Houston Ballet is one of the most revered dance companies in the world.In 1955 the founding members of Houston Ballet Foundation had a vision for dance in Houston: to create a resident ballet company and to start a school which would train its dancers. Formed by only 13 young dancers in 1969, the professional company has evolved into a company of 53 dancers with a budget of over 22 million dollars a year. Ranked the fourth largest United States ballet company, and with its academy supplying 40% of its dancers, it was only fitting that a “state of the art” performance center was planned and constructed to provide the proper home for this stellar company.
The Wortham Theater Center was built expressly for Houston Ballet and is the largest professional dance facility in America. Houston Ballet’s $46.6 Million Center For Dance opened in April 2011 and has an endowment of just over $60.7 million as of August 2013. From 1976 to 2003, Englishman Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. served as artistic director for Houston ballet. A former dancer with Britain’s Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, Stevenson established a corps of permanent choreographers whose works have greatly enriched the company’s repertoire. Renowned Australian choreographer Stanton Welch has served as artistic director of Houston ballet since 2003, and has raised the level of the company’s classical technique. This led to commissioning many new works from dance-makers such as Christopher Bruce, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Julia Adam, Natalie Weir and Nicolo Fonte. Executive Director James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, a position he assumed in 2012 after serving as the company’s general manager for over a decade. This unique pairing of great talents has created a ballet company of great esteem and honor. Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally, appearing for the last decade in performance venues around the world including: London at Sadler’s Wells Theatre; The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia; Spain; Montreal and Ottawa, Canada; the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C; City Center and The Joyce Theater in New York City. Houston Ballet has emerged as a leader in the expensive, labor-intensive task of nurturing the creation and development of new full-length narrative ballets.
Dance critic Margaret Willis praised Houston Ballet for their performance acumen and technique. Writing in Dancing Times, Ms. Willis enthusiastically praised the leadership of Stanton Welch: “The dancers’ musicality shines through their work, dancing as one with elegance and refinement. If ballet were an Olympic sport, I’m sure you would see Houston Ballet well on the way to achieving gold!” TTW encourages all readers to experience this brilliant company and the magic of ballet!
www.houstonballet.org | 713-227-2787
Photos courtesy of Houston Ballet Photo: Amitava Sarkar