Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet Presents THE NUTCRACKER This Weekend

KARINA GONZALEZ and SIMON BALL, principal dancers of the Houston Ballet, will appear as guest artists in the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet's production of The Nutcracker this weekend, December 6 and 7, 2014 at the Riverview Theatre in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, KARINA GONZALEZ, joined Tulsa Ballet in 2005 as a member of the corps de ballet and in a little more than a year was promoted to Soloist. Within two years she was promoted to principal dancer.

Before joining the Tulsa Ballet, Ms. Gonzalez danced with the National Ballet of Caracas after studying classical ballet at the Gustavo Franklin School. Ms. Gonzalez danced principal roles in Vincente Nebrada's Lento, Tempo and Appasionato, and La Luna y hos hijos que tenia.

Ms. Gonzalez has danced the roles of Odette/Odile in Marcello Angelini's production of Swan Lake, Marie in Angelini's production of The Nutcracker, Kitri in Anna Marie Holmes' production of Don Quixote, Daisy Buchanan in Andre Prokovsky's The Great Gatsby, Juliet in Michael Smuin's Romeo and Juliet, the title role in Ben Stevenson's Cinderella, Svetlana and Flora in Stevenson's Dracula, as well as principal roles in George Balanchine's Western Symphony and Serenade, Nacho Duato's Remansos, Gnawa, and Por Vos Muero, Jiri Kylian's Petite Morte, Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, Hans van Manen's Black Cake, Stanton Welch's Bruiser and Maninyas, Val Caniparoli's Vivace, Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations, William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Daniel Pelzig's Nine Lives, Ma Cong's Carmina Burana, Matjash Mrozeski's Love, Young Soon Hue's This Is Your Life, and Christopher Wheeldon's The Carnival of Animals.

Ms. Gonzalez participated in the Tulsa Ballet's engagements in New York and Washington DC.

In 2010 Ms. Gonzalez joined the Houston Ballet as a soloist, and in 2013 was promoted to principal dancer. She has continued to expand her repertoire to include the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in Stevenson's The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in Stevenson's production of The Sleeping Beauty, Katherina in John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew, the title role in Giselle, Nikiya in Stanton Welch's production of La Bayadere, Tinkerbell in Trey McIntyre's Peter Pan, Valencienne in Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow, Princess Badr al-Budur in David Bintley's Aladdin, Titania/Hippolyta in John Neumeier's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and principal roles in the Emeralds Act of George Balanchine's Jewels, The Four Temperaments, and Ballet Imperial, Christopher Wheeldon's Rush, Frederick Ashton's Les Patineurs, Kenneth MacMillan's Song of the Earth, Jerome Robbins' In The Night, Christopher Bruce's Rooster, and Intimate Pages,Mark Morris' Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Twyla Tharp's The Brahms-Haydn Variations,Jiri Kylian's Sinfonietta and Petite Mort, James Kudelka's Passion, William Forsythe's In The Middle Somewhat Elevated, and Stanton Welch's Tutu, Indigo, Rite of Spring, Beatae Memoriae (Of Blessed Memory), Maninyas, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and The Core. Ms. Gonzalez created a principal role in Jorma Elo's ONE/end/ONE, Aszure Barton's Angular Momentum, Edwaard Liang's Murmuration, and Nicolo Fonte's See(k).

In 2007, Ms. Gonzalez won the silver medal at the New York International Ballet Competition.

Ms. Gonzalez was invited to dance for the Dance Choreographic Festival of Caracas, and the International Gala of Colombia. In 2011 Ms. Gonzalez appeared as a guest artist with the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina dancing the role of Aurora in Karl Burnett's production of The Sleeping Beauty.

SIMON BALL received his training at the School of American Ballet, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, The Conservatory of Point Park College, and The School of Classical Ballet (American Ballet Theatre's training program). Before becoming a professional dancer, he also performed as a guest artist with many ballet companies in the United States and abroad.

Mr. Ball began his career as a member of the Boston Ballet corps de ballet in 1995. He was promoted to soloist in 1996, and to principal dancer in 1999. In 2003 Mr. Ball joined the Houston Ballet as a principal dancer.

Mr. Ball has performed leading roles in many important works including the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty, the Slave in Le Corsaire (staged by Anna Marie Holmes and Natalia Dudinskaya), Oberon in Bruce Wells' A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Prince in Cinderella (staged by Michael Corder), and Mr. Corder's Danses Concertant, Albrecht in Giselle (staged by Maina Gielgud), Romeo in Rudi van Dantzig's Romeo and Juliet, Basilio in Don Quixote, Siegfried in Swan Lake, the title role in John Cranko's Onegin, Pinkerton in Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly, Vershinin in Kenneth MacMillan's Winter Dreams, Ivan in Christopher Wheeldon's The Firebird, and Colas in Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee.

Mr. Ball has also distinguished himself in the works of leading choreographers including roles in Paul Taylor's Company B, William Forsythe's In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Anthony Tudor's The Leaves Are Fading, Nacho Duato's Jardi Tancat and Without Words, Twyla Tharp's Waterbaby Bagatelles, Mark Morris' Maelstrom, Christopher Wheeldon's Corybantic Ecstasies, Carnival of the Animals and The Four Seasons. Mr. Ball has also danced principal roles in George Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15, Serenade, Symphony in C, Theme and Variations, Ballo della Regina, Apollo, La Valse, Prodigal Son, Monumentum Pro Gesualdo, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra.

With the Houston Ballet, Mr. Ball has also been featured in Stanton Welch's A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, Tales of Texas, Maninyas, The Four Seasons, Nosotros, Velocity, Tutu, The Core, Indigo, Marie, and Divergence, as well as Jiri Kylian's Forgotten Land, Svadebka, Soldier's Mass and Petite Mort. He also created roles in James Kudelka's Little Dancer and Passion.

Mr. Ball has also danced leading roles in Ben Stevenson's Cleopatra, Dracula, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker, Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow, and Jerome Robbins' The Concert.

Mr. Ball has also received a number of prestigious awards including the Margarite Amelita Hoffman Scholarship at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi in 1990, the Gold Medal at the First International Ballet Competition in memory of Rudolf Nureyev in Budapest, Hungary in 1994, and the Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi in 1994. In 1999 he was invited to perform at the Benois de la Danse in Berlin, Germany.

In addition Mr. Ball has been on the teaching faculty of Rice University's Opera Studies Program, Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy, the Boston Ballet School, the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Kansas City Ballet, Hope Stone Dance, Vail Valley Dance Intensive, and the Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive.

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