Our life in pictures

Guest writer: Sarah Meals, marketing manager
Dear HB blog followers,

Please accept our humblest apologies for the lack of bloggage lately!  As you’ll see in this update, we’ve had our hands a bit full since the Prix de Lausanne.  Let’s get started…

In case you missed it, we announced our 2010-2011 season in late January.  We’re incredibly excited about the mix of premieres (like Balanchine’s Jewels) and tried-and-true fan favorites (like Ben Stevenson’s The Sleeping Beauty).  The ticketing department is in high gear taking subscription orders, while the marketing/PR department is already discussing the 2011-2012 season photo shoot.  It’s amazing (and stressful) to be working on three seasons at once!

We opened the world premiere of Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère on February 25 to packed houses and rousing applause.  By the end of the run, the dancers, artistic staff, production crew, and costume shop were completely exhausted, but incredibly pleased with the results.

Houston Ballet - La Bayadere
Sara Webb, Connor Walsh, Nicholas Leschke, and Artists of Houston Ballet in La Bayadere. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Clint Pustejovsky in La Bayadere - Houston Ballet
Snake handler Clint Pustejovsky congratulates his pal on a show well done. Photo by Mary Stephens of the Art Institute of Houston North.

On March 10, we held a topping off ceremony for our new Houston Ballet Center for Dance.  Patrons, staff, and dancers watched as the final steel beam was lifted by crane and drilled into place.  You can see some great images on the Houston Chronicle website, and watch a video documentary of the day on our YouTube channel.  Many thanks to all of you who attended and/or sent us well-wishes on Facebook.

Houston Ballet - Center for Dance
Houston Ballet Center for Dance Topping Off Ceremony
Houston Ballet Center for Dance - Stanton Welch
Artistic director Stanton Welch leaves his mark on the final beam. Photo by Jim Caldwell.
Houston Ballet Center for Dance - View from the Top
Dancers Liao Xiang and Michael McGonegal (as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince) take in the view from the top of the Center for Dance. Photo by Jim Caldwell.

On March 11, we opened our winter mixed repertory program American at Heart, which included revivals of two fan favorites (Balanchine’s Apollo and Bruce’s Hush) and a Houston Ballet premiere of Robbins’s Fancy Free.  The rep really showed off the company’s versatility:  you can’t get two more different dance vocabularies than Apollo and Hush.

Kelly Myernick and Nicholas Leschke in Hush. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Kelly Myernick and Nicholas Leschke in Hush. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Ian Casady and Artists of Houston Ballet in Fancy Free.  Photo by Amitava Sarkar.
Ian Casady and Artists of Houston Ballet in Fancy Free. Photo by Amitava Sarkar.

 Next up is the Academy Spring Showcase, running April 16-17.  Our students are busily preparing their rep, including Stanton Welch’s Studies and Long and Winding Road.  This Friday, resident choreographer and principal dancer at Tulsa Ballet Ma Cong will be in town rehearsing his new ballet Calling, which will be premiered by our HBII students at the Spring Showcase.

Francesca Forcella and Nayon Iovino. Photo by Mitch Walker.
Francesca Forcella and Nayon Iovino rehearsing Ma Cong's Calling. Photo by Mitch Walker.

Next week the professional company will take a much-needed break before diving into rehearsals for our final two productions of the season, Pecos and La Fille mal gardée.  All of the ballets are relatively lighthearted and witty, so hopefully fans and artists alike will end the season with a smile.

That’s a wrap for now!  Hope you enjoyed the photos and we look forward to sharing the rest of our spring season with you all.

Pointe shoes. Photo by Casey Ayala.
Photo by Casey Ayala of the Art Institute of Houston North.
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