Posts Tagged ‘Miller Outdoor Theatre’

h1

Houston Ballet Helps Miller Theater Celebrate Its 90th Anniversary In Grand Style

May 7, 2013

From May 10 – 12 at 8pm, Houston Ballet celebrates Miller Theater’s 90th anniversary by performing three stellar works in three free performances. The evening will open with two short, dazzling pieces: the duet from the 19th century classic Flower Festival in Genzano and the exquisite classical set piece Grand Pas Classique, set to music by Daniel Auber and showcasing the virtuosity of two superb classical dancers.

Madame Butterfly_Artists of Houston Ballet_Amitava Sarkar

Dancers: Artists of Houston Ballet; Photo: Amitava Sarkar

The program concludes with Stanton Welch’s signature work Madame Butterfly, the story of a beautiful Japanese geisha who gives up her faith and her family to marry an American naval officer. Set to Puccini’s powerful score with lavish costumes and sets by Peter Farmer, Madame Butterfly is at once compelling and heartbreaking. It is a stunning achievement in neoclassical ballet that has been an international success, with performances on three continents.

Free tickets to these performances are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill. This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area.

NERIO PHOTOGRAPHY Miller Outdoor Ballet9004Houston Ballet at Miller Outdoor Theatre; Photo: Nerio Photography

h1

Save the Date!

March 30, 2012

We’ve got two great events coming up in Houston Ballet’s season, so mark your calendars!

Academy Spring Showcase: April 20-21

See the rising stars of Houston Ballet’s professional training school as they showcase their talents.  The Spring Showcase is always a great look at future company members “before they were famous”.  The repertoire for this year’s showcase will include Stanton Welch’s A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, the classical ballet Paquita, and Houston Ballet Soloist Ilya Kozadayev’s Impromptu.

There will be two performances of the Academy Spring Showcase: Friday, April 20 at 7 PM and Saturday, April 31 at 1:30 PM.  Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased by calling 713.227.ARTS.

FREE Performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre: May 11-13 at 8 PM

Houston Ballet will give three free performances on May 11, 12, and 13 at 8 PM at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park.  The repertoire will include Giselle and a pas de deux from Stanton Welch’s Swan Lake and a pas de deux from Le Corsaire (“The Pirate”) 

Performances are free and open to the public, but tickets must be picked up from the Miller Theatre Box Office to sit in the covered reserved section of the theatre. To learn more call 281.373.3386. We hope to see you there!

h1

My First Experience at Miller Outdoor Theatre

May 2, 2011

Guest writer: Lauren Ciobanu, demi soloist

When I joined Houston Ballet last year and was informed that the company performs annually at an outdoor theater, I was intrigued. Coming from Florida we had nothing of the sort. I had never performed outdoors, so images of ancient Greek amphitheaters came to mind. Comedy, tragedy, catharsis…fantastic! Theater in the open air, classic. Way to step it up, Houston!

Miller Outdoor Theatre. Photo by Ron McKinney.

Miller Outdoor Theatre. Photo by Ron McKinney.

I was also excited because I was given a chance to perform one of the pas de deux from Stanton Welch’s Falling, which is a beautiful ballet, and a big opportunity for me as an artist.  So, curious as to what I should expect, I asked around, and the other dancers quickly informed me that although spectacular, the Miller Outdoor Theatre was not the classic dramatic venue I envisioned. I was told that you can sit on the lawn and have a picnic, bring the dogs, kids, bikes, anything you like, and oh yeah, it’s free to the public year-round.   Turns out it’s better than a grand amphitheater with Greek columns and elegant seating. It’s a laid back venue where you can have a good time with your friends and family while watching a great show (plus you can leave the formalwear at home!).  Hmm…lawn seating for a ballet. This could be something!

As the time grew closer to performing, I felt those little butterflies tingling. When the day finally came, it was thrilling. We got to the Miller Theatre and promptly set up camp for the next three days. Having dress rehearsal onstage for the first time was exciting and strange. It was still light outside so the stage lighting felt differently than it does in a dark theater. It was odd to look out and see everything in daylight, but fortunately the performances take place around dusk so the lights act a little closer to normal by that time of night. The backstage area is very cozy so all the dancers crowd around the wings waiting to get out there. There are lots of “Merdes!” and “Toi Toi Tois!” (ballet terms for good luck) whispered from the wings, and then you go on stage, and then lots of “Great Jobs!” and pats on the backs as you finish. It’s a real family experience on and off stage. But the best part of the night is being able to perform in a relaxed atmosphere knowing that most of the people watching were lounging on the lawn, kiddies in their laps, ready to be entertained, which set a different mood than our normal set up at the Wortham. Not that it made us perform any less than our best, but with the breeze blowing and birds chirping it not only relaxes the patrons, but the dancers too.

Lauren Ciobanu with Ian Casady in Stanton Welch's Tu Tu. Photo by Ron McKinney.

Lauren Ciobanu with Ian Casady in Stanton Welch's Tu Tu. Photo by Ron McKinney.

The performance went well, and after I performed Falling I snuck out to the lawn to meet some friends and watch the rest of the show. Looking around and seeing kids dancing on the grass, dogs relaxing next to their owners, people smiling and genuinely happy watching the company was such a reward. Knowing that you are reaching a wider audience and that someone out there just might think differently, or take something away after seeing a ballet performance, is really rewarding.  Looks like a bit of catharsis after all…

So now that I’ve got a year under my belt and am wise to the workings of the Miller Outdoor Theatre, I’m even more excited about performing this year. I am privileged again to be featured in a principal role in Stanton Welch’s Tu Tu (you can watch a clip of me dancing this role on HB’s YouTube page). It’s visually stunning. Set to Ravel’s music it’s as beautiful to watch as it is to listen to—a  masterpiece. It’s a role I dearly love and can’t wait to perform again. Also on the bill is Christopher Bruce’s Hush. A Houston Ballet staple, it’s based around a family of clowns and set to music by Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin. And last but not least, Stanton Welch’s The Core is set to music by Gershwin. It includes the entire company and really showcases the heart of Houston Ballet. It’s fun and exciting and great for the whole family (especially mom!).

So my advice is to head out to the Miller this Mother’s Day weekend and stake your claim on the lawn (covered seating available if you don’t like to get dirty). Bring some snacks, kids, dogs, friends, or family and sit back, soak in the outdoors, and enjoy the world class program that Houston Ballet has to offer. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.

-Lauren

Houston Ballet performs May 6-8 at 8 PM all three days at Miller Outdoor Theatre (6000 Hermann Park Drive in Hermann Park).  Additional information can be found on the Houston Ballet website, or call 281.373.3386.

h1

Mark Your Calendars

March 30, 2011

We’ve got two great events coming up in Houston Ballet’s season, so save the date!

Academy Spring Showcase: April 29-30

See the rising stars of Houston Ballet’s professional training school as they showcase their talents.  The Spring Showcase is always a great look at future company members “before they were famous”.  The repertoire for this year’s showcase will include Stanton Welch’s Brigade, a pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and a pas de deux from Ben Stevenson’s staging of Don Quixote.

HBII, Houston Ballet’s second company, will also perform Jane Weiner’s Bloom Where You Are Planted, which was created especially for HBII. Ms. Weiner currently serves as executive director of Hope Stone Dance in Houston.

There will be two performances of the Academy Spring Showcase: Friday, April 29 at 7 PM and Saturday, April 30 at 1:30 PM.  Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased by calling 713.227.ARTS.

FREE Performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre: May 6-8 at 8 PM

Houston Ballet will give three free performances on May 6, 7, and 8 at 8 PM at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park.  The repertoire will include Christopher Bruce’s Hush and Stanton Welch’s Tu Tu and The Core

Performances are free and open to the public, but tickets must be picked up from the Miller Theatre Box Office to sit in the covered reserved section of the theatre.  Learn more about how to obtain tickets by visiting our website.  We hope to see you there!

h1

Blogging from the Road: HBII’s Tour to Germany

April 16, 2010

Guest writer:  Jim Nelson, general manager

It is so gratifying to look back over the past few years and see the growth of our second company, Houston Ballet II (HBII).

While so many dance companies say they have a second company, when you look closely they are generally a group of upper level students who sometimes dance with the first company in larger productions like The Nutcracker, Swan Lake or The Sleeping Beauty.  Rarely are these junior companies giving their own fully-produced performances in professional venues. 

That is what sets Houston Ballet’s second company apart from the majority of dance companies around the globe.  In 2006, we took a leap of faith that our second company was ready to give public performances that had less of a graduation concert feel or educational/outreach focus.  Our first season on the road included a terrific trip to Monterrey, Mexico as part of the Extremadura Gran Festival Internacional de Danza Contemporanea.  Since 2006, HBII has performed internationally in Hungary and China as well as nationally in Louisiana, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.  Additionally, HBII performs regularly in Houston at Wortham Theater Center, Discovery Green, Miller Outdoor Theatre, and the Moores School of Music at The University of Houston.

HBII dancers in The Long and Winding Road.  Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

From April 18-28, I’ll be accompanying HBII to Germany for a five-performance, two-city tour.  We’re traveling with 12 dancers, ballet master Claudio Muñoz, and production manager Brian Walker.  We will give four performances in Schweinfurt and one performance in Villingen-Schwenningen.  We fly from Houston to Frankfurt and then bus to Schweinfurt.  The repertoire for this tour is Stanton Welch’s Long and Winding Road and Blue, Garrett Smith’s Den III, and Claudio Muñoz’s staging of excerpts from Raymonda (Act III).  And while the dancers are all quite young (16-18), there is nothing junior or watered down when these dancers take the stage.

This tour is a real milestone for HBII, and I’m terribly proud of all they have achieved.  The touring component is only one part of the HBII program, but it serves us in providing additional performance opportunities, expanding our national and international presence, and attracting the best dancers we can find to Houston Ballet and the Houston Ballet Academy.  The success of the program is the result of the great work of the Houston Ballet Academy, which is led by Stanton Welch, Shelly Power and ballet masters Claudio Muñoz and Sabrina Lenzi.  I don’t know of another second company that has the level of dancers we do:  three Prix de Lausanne finalists (including a winner) in a group of twelve dancers!

I’ll be sending photo updates and blogs from overseas.  Follow us while we embark on this great adventure!

-Jim

h1

FREE Performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre This Weekend!

May 8, 2009

The company has returned from Spain and is thoroughly happy to be back in the U.S.  The dancers and production staff have had a quick 5 days to recuperate from their travels and to prepare for this weekend’s three FREE performances of Classically Contemporary at Miller Outdoor Theatre. 

Classically Contemporary, running May 8-10 at 8 pm each night, is a mixed repertory program including Stanton Welch’s Nosotros and Medieval Baebes, Hans van Manen’s Solo, and George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky pas de deux.  Each provides a beautiful interpretation of classical ballet that shows the range and evolution of dance styles and the virtuosity of Houston Ballet’s dancers.

While all performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are free of charge, Houston Ballet’s performances of Classically Contemporary require tickets to the seated area.  Tickets are available on the day of the performance from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Miller Theatre Box Office. Any tickets remaining are distributed one hour before curtain. There is a limit of four tickets per person. Please call 281.FREE.FUN (281-373-3386) for further ticket information or visit www.milleroutdoortheatre.com.

We hope you’ll join us on the hill for a lovely evening of ballet!

h1

Be an Extra in Mao’s Last Dancer!

June 20, 2008

Looking for a fun way to spend your Friday evening?  Be part of Mao’s Last Dancer, a Bruce Beresford feature film for general audiences shooting in part at Miller Outdoor Theatre this evening, June 20, 2008. If you’re interested in being an extra for the movie, please report to the garden center rose garden across from Miller Theatre at 6:30 p.m.

You will be extras as part of an “audience” in a scene. The crew needs two different types of audience members:
     -The first group must dress in 1982-style casual but stylish clothing. These people will sit on the hill and can bring blankets or lawn chairs if they wish.
     -The second group will sit closer to the stage and will need to wear cocktail attire. Only the top half of your body will be visible in shots.

It is up to you which group you prefer to be in. A performance by the Houston Symphony will be going on during shooting.

Enjoy!

h1

Free Performances of Madame Butterfly This Weekend!

May 5, 2008

Fresh off their successful tour to Montréal, Houston Ballet will present free performances of Madame Butterfly at Miller Outdoor Theatre this weekend, May 9-11, at 8 PM on all three days.  Free tickets are available at the Miller Theatre Box Office on a first-come, first-serve basis between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM on the day of the performance. Remaining tickets are given out one hour before curtain.  You do not need a ticket to sit on the lawn.  For more information, please visit www.houstonballet.org.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 91 other followers