Swansong Performances: Three Houston Ballerinas Reflect On A Pivotal Moment

Houston Ballet will host its second free Dance Talk of the 2013-14 season, “Stepping Out of the Spotlight,” on Tuesday, September 24 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Houston Ballet Center for Dance, 601 Preston Street, Houston 77002.

The Merry Widow Amy Fote_Amitava Sarkar

Dancer: Amy Fote; Ballet: The Merry Widow; Photo by Amitava Sarkar

Houston choreographer Jane Weiner will interview current principal dancer Mireille Hassenboehler and former principal dancers Barbara Bears and Amy Fote about dancing the title role in Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow, the exhilarating and challenging life of a dancer, and their transition to life after performing when they’ve retired from the stage.

Making the transition from a performing career to the next act of a dancer’s life can provoke a range of emotions that vary with each individual. For dancers who’ve experienced frequent injuries and who spend the last few years of their careers battling physical pain to continue to perform, retirement can be a blessed relief from a grueling physical regimen.

Symphony C

Dancer: Mireille Hassenboehler; Ballet: Symphony C; Photo by Amitava Sarkar

For dancers whose entire lives have been dedicated to and defined by their career choice, the transition to life after dance can sometimes be painful and disorienting. As the famous New York City Ballet ballerina Suzanne Farrell once observed after her retirement in 1989, “Nothing really prepares you for being an ex-ballerina.”

Some dancers have leapt into different, equally fulfilling careers with gusto. Former Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Anderson retired from performing professionally in 2006, and has found great joy in serving as Houston Ballet’s education/outreach associate. Former Houston Ballet dancer Nancy LeGros retired from the company, and has gone on to pursue a very successful career as an attorney.


Dancers: Barbara Bears and Nicholas Leschke; Ballet: The Merry Widow; Photo by Amitava Sarkar

Join us for our Dance Talk on Tuesday, September 24 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Houston Ballet Center for Dance for what promises to be a fascinating discussion with four gifted dance artists.  For more information on Dance Talks, please contact Education and Outreach Manager Chase Cobb at CCobb@houstonballet.org.

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