Houston Ballet

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The Houston Ballet, operated by the Houston Ballet Foundation, is the fifth-largest professional ballet company in the United States, based in Houston, Texas.[1] The foundation also maintains a ballet academy, the Ben Stevenson Academy, which trains more than half of the company's dancers.[2] As of 2011, the Houston Ballet's endowment at more than $55 million is considered among the largest endowments held for a dance company in the US.[1][3][4] The company produces over 75 performances each year and consists of 51 dancers.[1][5][6]


The Houston Ballet has its origins in the Houston Ballet Academy, which was established in 1955 under the leadership of Tatiana Semenova, a former dancer with the Ballets Russes.[7] In 1969, the foundation formed a professional ballet company under the direction of Nina Popova, also a former dancer with the Ballet Russes and the American Ballet Theatre.[8]

From 1976–2003, Englishman Ben Stevenson, a former dancer with Britain's Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, served as artistic director of Houston Ballet.[9] Under Stevenson's leadership, the ballet transformed "from regional to international prominence".[10]

In 1989, Kenneth MacMillan joined the company as artistic associate and worked with the company from 1989 until his death in 1992.[11] Christopher Bruce was named resident choreographer. Bruce, who currently holds the title of associate choreographer, has set nine works on the company, including four pieces created especially for Houston Ballet.[12] In March 1995, Trey McIntyre assumed the position of choreographic associate.[13] McIntyre has created seven world premieres for the company, including his first full-length production of Peter Pan.[14] In 2003, Australian choreographer Stanton Welch was appointed as Artistic Director and has created numerous works for Houston Ballet.[15]

In 1990 Lauren Anderson became the Houston Ballet's first African-American principal dancer. Anderson continued to dance with the Houston Ballet until her retirement in 2006 at the age of 41.[16]

In July 1995, the Houston Ballet became the first full American ballet company invited by the Chinese government to tour the country.[9] An estimated 500 million people witnessed Houston Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet when the company's opening night performance was telecast live on Chinese television.[17]

In 2011 the company was the first company to win the Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance, allowing the company to purchase a new piece by Jorma Elo.[18]



First soloists[edit]


Demi soloists[edit]

Corps de ballet[edit]


Center for Dance[edit]

Houston Ballet Center for Dance, the administrative headquarters

The Houston Ballet administrative headquarters are in Downtown Houston,[31] in the Center for Dance. In 2011, the Company moved into the Center for Dance, which had its grand opening on April 9, 2011.[32] The facility increased the number of dance studios from six to nine, including a "black box dance laboratory" for presentations as well as rehearsals.[33] The Center more than doubled the space that Houston Ballet had at its previous location.[34] Upon its completion, it was the largest dance facility of its kind in the United States and cost $46 million.[35][36][37]

Prior to moving into the Center for Dance, the ballet's headquarters and training facilities and the Ben Stevenson Academy were located east of the River Oaks Shopping Center.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c History
  2. ^ "Academy Overview – Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  3. ^ "Columbia Law School : Magazine : inspiring-minds". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  4. ^ "Endowment Snapshot: Houston Ballet – Endowments – The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  5. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – Houston Ballet". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  6. ^ "Dancers". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tatiana Semenova Papers". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  8. ^ Cunningham, Carl (November 8, 2009). "Houston Ballet: The Fledgling Years 1967–1976". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  9. ^ a b "Information about Houston Ballet". The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  10. ^ Pasles, Chris (June 12, 2003). "Houston Ballet names director". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  11. ^ "PlaybillArts: Features: Houston Ballet Presents Song of the Earth". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  12. ^ Bremser, Martha (1999). Fifty contemporary choreographers. ISBN 978-0-415-10363-3. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  13. ^ "Dance | Alumni". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  14. ^ "A tall order for Trey McIntyre: choreographer sets Houston Ballet's Peter Pan". Dance Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  15. ^ "Stanton Welch Repertoire". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  16. ^ Cosgriff, Gabrielle (November 26, 2006). "Houston Ballet's Lauren Anderson readies her final bow". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-10-31. 
  17. ^ Chapman, Betty T. (December 27, 2009). "Houston Ballet Co. continues to grow by leaps and bounds". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  18. ^ "A New Dance Center for Houston". New York Times (New York, United States). 8 April 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "Simon Ball, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ian Casady, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Karina Gonzalez, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Yuriko Kajiya, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Melody Mennite, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Melody Herrera, principal". Houston Ballet. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Connor Walsh, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Sara Webb, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  27. ^ [[1] "Jessica Collado, first soloist"]. Houston Ballet. 
  28. ^ "Linnar Looris, first soloist". Houston Ballet. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Jared Matthews, first soloist". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Katharine Precourt, first soloist". Houston Ballet. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Home." Houston Ballet. Retrieved on January 16, 2012. "Admin offices: 601 Preston Street, Houston, TX 77002"
  32. ^ "Center For Dance". 
  33. ^ "Houston Ballet’s new dance center reaching milestone – Your Houston News: News". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  34. ^ "HBNewsSpring2011FINAL.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  35. ^ "Houston Ballet breaks ground on new downtown home – Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  36. ^ "Houston Ballet Center for Dance / Gensler | SocializArq". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  37. ^ "Houston Ballet's New Center for Dance Opens Saturday, April 9, 2011 – HOUSTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –". Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  38. ^ "Houston Ballet dancing into downtown." Houston Business Journal. Sunday August 3, 2008. Retrieved on January 16, 2012.

External links[edit]