Houston Ballet Presents The Tempest May 25 to June 4

From May 25 - June 4, Houston Ballet presents the North American Premiere of David Bintley's magical ballet, The Tempest. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Mr. Bintley has created a fantastical production based on The Bard's well-known play.

The Tempest takes place on a remote island where Prospero, a sorcerer and the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter, Miranda, to her rightful place by using his magical powers. He conjures up a storm (the tempest) in order to shipwreck his usurping brother, Antonio, and the complicit King Alonso of Naples on the island. Prospero's actions bring about a story of love and redemption.

Shakespeare's play The Tempest, is most commonly thought to have first been performed sometime between 1610 - 1614. It did not receive much attention until adapted versions of the play surfaced after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660. In the mid-19th century, Theater Productions began reinstating the full-length of Shakespeare's words to the work, which lead to a reexamination of the play by critics and scholars. Now, the play is considered one of Shakespeare's greatest works and serves as a stunning example of The Bard's ability to juggle the struggle between the light, romantic and darker, more compelling themes. This critical acclaim has inspired artists over the years and The Tempest has been adapted numerous times in a variety of art forms: operas, orchestral works, paintings, poetry and films.

Mr. Bintley's talent at creating beautiful works routed in classicism led Dance Magazine to proclaim, "Whether Bintley is choreographing on a grand scale or in miniature, whether a piece has an intricate plot line or is plotless, there are certain characteristics intrinsic to his ballets, no matter how different they are in style and substance. Each shares a riveting theatricality, strong visual sense, intelligent craftsmanship, emotional resonance, and prominent roles for dancers." (September, 1996).

The music for The Tempest was composed by well-known British composer Sally Beamish. Ms. Beamish was born in London. Initially a viola player, she moved from London to Scotland in 1990 to develop her career as a composer. Her music embraces many influences: particularly jazz and Scottish traditional music. The concerto form is a continuing inspiration, and she has written for many internationally renowned soloists.

Rae Smith brought a lot of the National Theatre to her ideas when designing the sets and costumes for The Tempest. Her designs include The Prince of the Pagodas for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Wonder.land, The Light Princess and War Horse (Olivier, Tony and Evening Standard awards)

at the Royal National Theatre, on world tour, West End and Broadway; Pelléas and Mélisande (Scottish Opera); Cavilieri rusticano and Pagliacci (Met, New York); and Benvenuto Cellini (ENO). With several additional award winning designs, she was an easy choice for Mr. Bintley.

The Tempest is a co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet and the second work of Mr. Bintley's to enter Houston Ballet's repertoire. The company previously performed Mr. Bintley's Aladdin in 2014.

Houston Ballet's performances of The Tempest sponsored by: Chevron and Norton Rose Fulbright.

About Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet has evolved into a company of 59 dancers with a budget of $33.2 million (making it the United States' fifth 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 just over $70 million (as of January 2017).

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, Alexander Ekman, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Trey McIntyre, Julia Adam, Edwaard Liang and George Balanchine. Executive Director James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, a position he assumed in February 2012 after serving as the company's General Manager for over a decade.

Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Over the past fifteen years, the company has appeared in London at Sadler's Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal and Ottawa, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, at The Arts Center Melbourne State Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, in Los Angeles at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 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 in 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 approximately 45,884 Houston area students (as of January 2017). Houston Ballet's Academy has over a thousand students and has had five academy students win awards 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 houstonballet.org.

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