Houston Ballet Announces Promotions and Additions to 2013-14 Season
Katharine Precourt began her dance training under the direction of Robin Morgan at the San Diego School of Ballet, where her teachers included the legendary Dame Sonia Arova and Jillana. At the age of ten she was selected for the part of Clara in the San Francisco Ballet's The Nutcracker and the following year she performed with American Ballet Theatre in their televised production of Le Corsaire. Ms. Precourt attended Summer Intensive programs on full merit scholarship at some of the most renowned schools in the nation: Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy, the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School and she was the recipient of a scholarship award from Regional Dance America to American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive program. She continued her training year round in Houston as a member of Houston Ballet II and during this time she was an ARTS Ballet Award winner in the 2004 competition sponsored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. She was then invited to perform at their 2005 Gala honoring Mikhail Baryshnikov.
With Houston Ballet, Ms. Precourt has developed into a versatile artist, proficient in both the classical as well as the contemporary repertoire. She has danced lead roles in great classical ballets: Aurora in Ben Stevenson's The Sleeping Beauty; Gamzatti in Stanton Welch's La Bayadère; Myrtha in Giselle, and she enjoys reprising every year the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in Ben Stevenson's The Nutcracker. Other performance highlights include lead and featured parts in: Sir Frederick Ashton's Les Patineurs; George Balanchine's Jewels and Serenade; William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated; Ji?í Kylián's Falling Angels and Petite Mort; Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Song of the Earthand Manon; Jerome Robbins's Afternoon of a Faun and The Concert; and Stanton Welch's Tu Tu and Divergence. Stanton Welch choreographed parts for her in Marie, Punctilious and The Ladies.
Ms. Precourt is delighted to have the opportunity to participate and dance in community related events and fund-raising benefits including the 2011 Pink at the Brown. She also represented the company, performing with the Houston Ballet II, at the inauguration of the new award-winning Houston Ballet's Center for Dance.
About Houston Ballet
On February 17, 1969 a troupe of 15 young dancers made its stage debut at Sam Houston State Teacher's College in Huntsville, Texas. Since that time, Houston Ballet has evolved into a company of 55 dancers with a budget of $20.5 million (making it the United States' fourth largest ballet company by number of dancers), a state-of-the-art performance space built especially for the company, Wortham Theater Center, the largest professional dance facility in America, Houston Ballet's $46.6 million Center for Dance which opened in April 2011, and an endowment of $53.7 million (as of August 2012).
Australian choreographer Stanton Welch has served as artistic director of Houston Ballet since 2003, raising the level of the company's classical technique and commissioning many new works from dance makers such as Christopher Bruce, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Julia Adam, Natalie Weir and Nicolo Fonte. James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, assuming the position of executive director of Houston Ballet in February 2012 after serving as the company's general manager for over a decade.
Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Since 2000, the company has appeared in London at Sadler's Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Ottawa, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, and in cities large and small across the United States. 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.
Writing in Dancing Times on June 2012, dance critic Margaret Willis praised Houston Ballet and highlighted the fact that "During his own tenure, (Stanton) Welch has upped the standard and Houston Ballet now shows off a group of 55 dancers in splendid shape. With fast and tidy footwork, they are technically skillful and have strong, broad jumps and expansive, fluid movements. The dancers' musicality shines through their work, dancing as one with elegance and refinement -and they are a handsome bunch too! . . . if ballet were an Olympic sport, see Houston Ballet well on the way to achieving gold."
Houston Ballet Orchestra was established in the late 1970s and currently consists of 61 professional musicians who play all ballet performances at Wortham Theater Center under music director Ermanno Florio.
Houston Ballet's Education and Outreach Program has reached over 25,000 Houston area students (as of the 2012-2013 season). Houston Ballet's Academy has 950 students and has had four academy students win prizes at the prestigious international ballet competition the Prix de Lausanne, with one student winning the overall competition in 2010. For more information on Houston Ballet visit www.houstonballet.org.
2013-2014 SEASON PROMOTIONS AND ADDITIONS
Jessica Collado First Soloist
Katharine Precourt First Soloist
Christopher Gray Demi Soloist
New Company Members
Derek Dunn Corps de Ballet
Dylan Lackey Corps de Ballet
Zecheng Liang Corps de Ballet
Madeline Skelly Corps de Ballet
Alyssa Springer Corps de Ballet
Asia Bui Apprentice
Silken Kelly Apprentice
Renee Kester Apprentice
Rhys Kosakowski Apprentice
Bridget Kuhns Apprentice
Hayden Stark Apprentice
Joel Woellner Apprentice
INFORMATION: Visit Houston Ballet online at www.houstonballet.org