Houston Ballet Awarded New York Choreographic Institute Grant to Support New Work by Melissa Hough

Houston Ballet has been awarded a Fellowship Initiative grant from the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of New York City Ballet, to support the development of new choreography by first soloist Melissa Hough in a studio setting.

Peter Martins, founder and artistic director of the Institute (and ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet), states, “The fellowship is meant to help ballet companies to create an environment in which a choreographer can develop ideas without pressure of stage production. The Institute is committed to classical choreographers who will be creating works for the future.”

The New York Choreographic Institute was founded in the spring of 2000 by Irene Diamond and Peter Martins. The Institute promotes the development of choreographers and dancers involved in classical choreography by providing opportunities to develop their talents. Over the last decade, the Institute has awarded grants to a wide range of companies and choreographers across North America, including: the National Ballet of Canada (fellow: Roberto Campanella); mBoston Ballet (fellow: Helen Pickett); Ballet British Columbia (fellow: Simone Orlando); Miami City Ballet (fellow: Daniel Baker), and Houston Ballet (fellow: Garrett Smith).

Ms. Hough will be given the opportunity to hold a choreographic workshop with Houston Ballet dancers. The workshop will culminate with an informal showing of the work created during the fellowship.

During her time at Houston Ballet, Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch has commissioned her to premiere a short work for two dancers, C-Sharp Minor, at the Jubilee of Dance on December 2, 2011 at Wortham Theater Center. The piece was set to Prelude in C Sharp Minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff.<

Mr. Welch comments on why the work caught his eye, “C-Sharp Minor was a very sophisticated piece for a new choreographer. The partnering was intricate and showed the dancers off very well. Melissa is talented and shows promise as a choreographer. I look forward to seeing her future choreographic works. She is currently working on a new piece for Houston Ballet’s second choreographic workshop in December 2012.”

Ms. Hough was a bronze medal winner in the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, a jury award of merit winner from the Jackson International Ballet Competition in 2002 and a senior outstanding dancer at New York City Dance Alliance in 2002. She trained with The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. and has danced professionally with BalletMet, M & Company, and Boston Ballet, where she reached the rank of principal in 2009. She joined Houston Ballet as a soloist in 2010 and was promoted to first soloist in 2012. Her classical repertoire includes Nicholas Sergeyev's The Sleeping Beauty, Mikko Nissinen's Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, James Kudelka's Cinderella, Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote, George Balanchine's Rubies, Ballo della Regina, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, to name a few. Her contemporary repertoire includes such works as Ji?í Kylián's Petite Mort and Falling Angels, William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated, and Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room.

Photo credit: Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy of Houston Ballet.