Houston Ballet Kicks Off 2013-14 Touring Season in NYC, Chicago, Paris and More!
Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch announced touring plans for both the professional company and Houston Ballet II, the Second Company, for the 2013-2014 season today. During Mr. Welch's tenth anniversary as artistic director, touring engagements will take Houston Ballet to New York City, Paris, Montreal, and Chicago.
Houston Ballet begins its touring in October 2013 with a return to The Joyce Theater in New York City, today, October 22-27, for seven performances, with a program designed to showcase the company's contemporary repertoire. The repertoire includes: Welch's 2004 work Play set to music by DJ/techno artist Moby, Mark Morris's 1995 Pacific set to the music of Lou Harrison's Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano, Ben Stevenson's 2002 Twilight set to Serge Rachmaninoff's Elegi, Op. 3, No. 1, and Hans van Manen's 1997 Solo, which is comprised of three solos for men danced to a recording of Bach's Suite for Violin in D Minor. For additional information, visit: http://www.joyce.org/. Houston Ballet last appeared at The Joyce Theater in October 2011.
From October 31 - November 4, a group of 16 dancers from Houston Ballet will join forces with the celebrated concert pianist Lang Lang to give four performances at the famous Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris. Stanton Welch has created Sons de L'âme (Sounds of the Soul) a new work to piano pieces by Frédéric Chopin that will be performed by Lang Lang and danced by artists of Houston Ballet. The theater is steeped in ballet history, including the famous world premiere of The Rite of Spring in May of 1913, which caused audience members to riot during the show. For more information, visit: http://www.theatrechampselysees.fr/danse/danse/lang-lang-dance-project-1.
From March 22-23, 2014 Houston Ballet will travel to Chicago and make its company debut at the Auditorium Theater. Houston Ballet has previously appeared at the Chicago Dancing Festival to great acclaim in 2009 and 2012. The full company will perform celebratEd English choreographer David Bintley's full-length Aladdin, a magical tale of love, trickery, and triumph. For more information, visit: http://auditoriumtheatre.org.
From April 9-12, 2014 Houston Ballet heads north to Montreal where they will perform Marie, a three-act narrative ballet choreographed by Mr. Welch and inspired by the life of the legendary French queen, Marie Antoinette, at Place des Arts. This marks the company's third visit to Montreal, they last appeared in Montreal in May 2008, performing Mr. Welch's Madame Butterfly. Over the last eight years, Houston Ballet has forged an innovative exchange program with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal (LGBCdM) in which Houston Ballet has performed in Montreal on three occasions presented by LGBCdM, while Les Grands Ballets Canadiens has danced in Houston on three occasions under the auspices of Houston Ballet. For ticket information, visit: http://www.grandsballets.com/en/performance/marie-antoinette/
Houston Ballet II will be taking various mixed programs such as The Sleeping Beauty Act III, Ma Cong's Calling¸ Ilya Kozadayev's Molto Espressivo, and Stanton Welch's A Dance in the Garden of Mirth around the US. Houston Ballet II's 2013-2014 touring season includes performances in Degensetein Center Theater in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania on October 8; Staples Auditorium in Conway, Arkansas on October 24; and in Syracuse, New York at the Schine Student Center on November 6. Houston Ballet II will continue its touring in the Spring of 2014 performing at Townsend Performing Arts Center in Carrolton, Georgia on March 27, 2014; and Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas onMarch 29, 2014.
The dancers of Houston Ballet II are coached by the internationally recognized Claudio Munoz, ballet master for Houston Ballet II; Sabrina Lenzi, ballet mistress for Houston Ballet II; Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch; and Houston Ballet's artistic staff. In recent seasons, Houston Ballet II has toured to the Organizacion Para Las Artes in Guatemala City, Guatemala in October 2010; Budapest (International Youth Festival in October 2008 and 2011); New York's prestigious City Center for Music & Dance (in January 2007); andSwitzerland (Prix de Lausanne Ballet Competition in February 2013).
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 $22.8 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.
HOUSTON BALLET'S 2013-2014 TOURING SEASON:
October 22-27 Houston Ballet at The Joyce Theater in New York City, NY
New York City, New York For additional information, visit: http://www.joyce.org/
October 31-November 4 Houston Ballet at Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris
Paris, France For additional information, visit:
March 22-23, 2014 Houston Ballet at Auditorium Theater in Chicago, IL
Chicago, Illinois For additional information, visit: http://auditoriumtheatre.org/.
April 9-12, 2014 Houston Ballet at Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada
Montreal, Canada For additional information, visit:
Houston Ballet II Touring Season:
October 8, 2013 Houston Ballet II at Degenstein Center Theater in Selinsgrove, PA
Selinsgrove, PA For additional information, visit: http://www.susqu.edu/arts/24129.asp
October 24, 2013 Houston Ballet II at Staples Auditorium in Conway, AR
Conway, AR For additional information, visit: http://www.hendrix.edu/events/
November 6, 2013 Houston Ballet II at Schine Student Center in Syracuse, NY
Syracuse, NY For additional information, visit: http://boxoffice.syr.edu/content/events.html
March 27, 2014 Houston Ballet II at Townsend Performing Arts Center in Carrolton, GA Carrollton, GA
For additional information, visit: http://www.townsendcenter.org/
March 29, 2014 Houston Ballet II at Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart, AR
Stuttgart, AR For additional information, visit: http://www.pccua.edu/gpc/
Pictured: Ballet: Play; Choreographer: Stanton Welch; Dancer(s): Ian Casady and Artists of Houston Ballet; Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar/Image provided courtesy of Houston Ballet.