From September 24-October 4, 2015, Houston Ballet presents its Fall Mixed Repertory Program featuring Stanton Welch’s Tapestry, Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances, and Garrett Smith’s Reveal. Here to discuss this exciting contemporary showcase program and share her experience is Soloist Nao Kusuzaki.


In Houston Ballet’s Fall Mixed Repertory Program, which pieces are you performing in?

I will be performing in Stanton Welch’s Tapestry and Garrett Smith’s world premiere Reveal. 


Tapestry; Nao Kusuzaki and William Newton; Amitava Sarkar
Tapestry; Nao Kusuzaki and William Newton; Amitava Sarkar

Can you share about your experience dancing in Stanton’s Tapestry? What do you enjoy the most about his work Tapestry?

One of Stanton’s strengths as a choreographer is in his mesmerizing pas de deux work.  He crafts movements which flow and coalesce, then dissipates unexpectedly.  I’m dancing the second movement pas de deux in Tapestry, I enjoy expressing this vision come alive. As it also showcases the femininity of the ballerina and the strength of her partner, its process adds another layer of unison.  Like a well-thought out tapestry, this work of Stanton’s is a complex, intricate combination of steps which produces a clean, beautiful design.

Over the summer, Houston Ballet was invited to perform 3 works by Stanton Welch which included Tapestry.  What was it like to perform this piece in Germany?

I saw Hamburg Ballet perform for the first time during their New York tour with Neumeier’s Nijinsky.  It left an impression so powerful that the following year, I went to Germany to see them perform in their opera house.  So our tour to Hamburg this past summer was beyond exciting.  It was our turn to share the work with dancers and audiences in Hamburg.  Performing Tapestry which Stanton created on the company, was a very classy way to introduce Houston Ballet. Like Hamburg Ballet, our company is filled with unique, talented, compassionate artists, and Tapestry communicates that quite quintessentially. The longest applauds I have ever experienced came from there, and it still warms the heart.


Reveal; Nao Kusuzaki and Christopher Coomer; Amitava Sarkar
Reveal; Nao Kusuzaki and Christopher Coomer; Amitava Sarkar

You are also in Garrett Smith’s world premiere piece titled Reveal.  What’s it like to work with choreographer Garrett Smith?

Before Garrett left for Norway, we were colleagues here, and I have always respected him for his undying passion in choreography and choreographic ideas which seemed to pour out of him.  I was completely thrilled to work with him on Reveal.  The concept of Reveal -the duality of personalities- as expressed through fast-paced moves with attitude, was blood pumping.  Because he is not afraid to take risks, every rehearsal was presented with new sets of challenges artistically and technically. Because he demanded a lot out of us and the piece, there was never a moment of complacency. But because he trusted the dancers, it created a safe environment to reveal parts of self which could be vulnerable.  The process of working with Garrett was a valuable time of discovery.

Nao Kusuzaki in fittings with Monica Guerra
Nao Kusuzaki in fittings with Monica Guerra

Garrett’s Reveal has amazing costumes designed by Monica Guerra, can you tell us about your unique costumes that you perform in?

I represent the classical ballerina side of a woman, who so desperately wants to break away from the mask of beauty. She eventually shows her raw, more masculine side.  With Monica’s brilliant costuming, I start out in the stunning champagne colored tutu with many intricate details woven onto the bodice.  Then, in her reveal, the tutu tears apart, and a full length, black coat is worn on her new self.  In both costumes, I feel completely comfortable and confident. Monica’s costume design is a significant element of Reveal.

Costume Sketches by Monica Guerra
Costume Sketches by Monica Guerra


Houston Ballet presents its Fall Mixed Repertory Program showcasing the best of contemporary choreography. British master and Houston Ballet’s Associate Choreographer Christopher Bruce’s hauntingly beautiful Ghost Dances returns after a twelve year absence from the Houston stage. Garrett Smith returns to Houston to create Reveal, his third new work for Houston Ballet. Rounding out the program is Stanton Welch’s Tapestry, a spectacular showcase for the company’s dancers.

When: At 7:30 p.m. on September 24, 26 and October 2, 3, 2015 & At 2:00 p.m. on September 27 and October 4, 2015

For more information visit: http://www.houstonballet.org/Ticketing-Schedule/Season-Calendar/Fall-Mixed-Rep/

Watch a preview of Fall Mixed Repertory Program: 


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