Pink at the Brown: Saving Lives and Making Art

Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch serves as artistic chair of this year’s Pink at the Brown, a glittering one-night performance bringing together Houston’s leading arts organizations on Thursday, May 16 at 8pm at Wortham Theater Center. The event benefits the Pink Ribbons Project, which saves lives and enhances the lives of those touched by breast cancer.

Pink at the Brown - Jessica Collado and Ian Casady_Photo Leonel Nerio

Dancers: Jessica Collado and Ian Casady; Photo: Leonel Nerio

In this blog entry, Stanton talks about plans for the event, and the new work that he has created especially for the performance, Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1.

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I’ve really enjoyed serving as artistic chair of Pink at the Brown. What I love most about Pink at the Brown is that it brings together all the arts in one performance.  On one stage in one night, you get Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Stages, DaCamera, Houston Ballet and Society for the Performing Arts.

Jane Weiner, the founder and artistic director of Pink Ribbons, is very talented.  She’s instrumental in putting together a very interesting evening of programming. At our initial brainstorming session for Pink at the Brown, after much discussion, we settled on the concept of using umbrellas as a motif throughout the performance. Everyone performing in Pink at the Brown is photographed with umbrellas. The umbrellas speak to a very basic question: How do you protect yourself? How do you find a safe space in a sometimes dangerous world?

Oliver Halkowich_Photo by Jaime Lagdameo_2012

Oliver Halkowich, a soloist with Houston Ballet, is very clever at exploring motifs, and I knew that I wanted him to choreograph a work for Houston Ballet II, our second company, to perform at Pink at the Brown.

I initially started out thinking that I might want to create a work to Coldplay’s Fix You. After much reflection, I settled upon Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1. It is soft, sentimental and touching.

I wanted to take two of my favorite dancers Ian Casady and Jessica Collado — and make this piece for them. Ian Casady was in my first work for Houston Ballet, Indigo, in 1998, and I’ve worked with him for 15 years. So my artistic relationship with him is one of the longest that I have had in America. And Jessica is in every ballet that I make.

Jessica Collado_Photo Amitava_2012Ian Casady_P_Amitava Sarkar

They are two of the most musical dancers I’ve ever worked with in my life. Throughout this process, I’ve been so impressed with their musicality and ability to find very subtle nuances in the score.

Houston Ballet Pianist Katherine Burkwall-Ciscon is one of our company’s jewels, and I was so glad that she could join us in this collaboration to play the Chopin for Pink at the Brown.

 I think that it’s going to be a very special night.

-Stanton Welch, Artistic Director

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Pink at the Brown will be performed on Thursday, May 16 at 8:00 pm at Wortham Theater Center. It will feature performances by The Alley Theatre, Da Camera of Houston, Houston Ballet, Society for the Performing Arts Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Meta-Four Houston, Wrtiers in the Schools, and Stages Repertory Theatre. Tickets start at $25.  http://www.pinkribbons.org/pinkatthebrown/

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