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Houston Ballet Principal Ian Casady Retires After 22 Years And Becomes Ballet Master

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Houston Ballet announces Principal Dancer Ian Casady's retirement and his new position as Ballet Master for its professional company. Casady concludes a rich 22-year career as a performer and assumes his new role in Houston Ballet's reimagined 2020-2021 season, generously supported by Houston Methodist Hospital.

"I am looking forward to passing on the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years to my fellow dancers and the next generation," says Casady. "I want to help protect and nurture the art form as best I can. And I look forward to enjoying it all from the audience as well."

Casady took his final bows on the Wortham Theater Center stage during Ben Stevenson's The Sleeping Beauty on March 8, 2020, mere weeks before an official announcement would have been made about his planned retirement. Houston Ballet intended for his final performance to be the iconic leading male role from Romeo & Juliet, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced an early close of the 2019-2020 season.

"It's disappointing, but a lot of people retiring during the pandemic are in the same boat," says Casady. "This is life right now, and, more than anything, I am thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends, and I feel for those who are being more impacted than myself. Some of my closest people have reminded me, too, that one 'final' show is not in itself some symbol for an entire career. The career was the career. Every day in the studio and every show on stage, and all the years of training that led up to it. Any one of our shows could be the last, and that is why it is important to give it all, every chance you get. I am just grateful to have had so many years, and so many shows, and to have worked with so many wonderful people."

Casady led an inspiring career as a professional dancer. He began ballet training at 9 years old at Dance Theater Seven in his hometown, Fairfax, California. He studied at Houston Ballet Academy before joining the professional Company in 1998 as a member of the Corps de Ballet. Casady rose through the ranks, becoming a Soloist in 2002 and a Principal in 2007. In his 22-year career, he danced many timeless roles and had original roles created on him by esteemed choreographers Christopher Bruce, Ben Stevenson OBE and Stanton Welch AM.

"Thank you so much for supporting me and going along with me on this decades long journey," says Casady to his fans. "I can only hope that you have received from it a fraction of the joy that I have."


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