Principal ballet mistress Louise Lester and the female dancers of the corps de ballet have been very busy lately, preparing for one extremely challenging undertaking: dancing La Bayadère, which opens next week (February 21) at Wortham Theater Center.
La Bayadère’s third act, the famous Kingdom of the Shades section, showcases 24 female dancers in white tutus, executing 38 synchronized and seamless arabesques while descending onto the stage, and is one of the purest forms of ballet-blanc, or white tutu ballet.
Artists of Houston Ballet; Photo: Amitava Sarkar
“The Kingdom of the Shades is a challenging segment because it requires such control and precision from the corps de ballet women,” says Mr. Welch. “There are few works in the classical repertoire that require more precision from the corps de ballet.”
The Kingdom of the Shades is so popular it is often performed on its own. Houston Ballet first performed The Kingdom of the Shades scene, staged by Ben Stevenson after Marius Petipa, in March 1994 and revived it in 1998. In 1963, the celebrated English dance critic Clive Barnes famously observed, “If you don’t enjoy La Bayadère, you really don’t enjoy ballet “.
The Kingdom of the Shades_ Martha Butler and Carlos Acosta and Artists of Houston Ballet
Houston Ballet will give 7 performances of La Bayadère February 21 – March 3 at Wortham Theater Center. Tickets start at $19, and may be purchased at www.houstonballet.org