Posts Tagged ‘Hush’


Recap from Joyce Theater Tour

October 24, 2011

Guest writer: Soloist Nao Kusuzaki

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York
New York, New York
-Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z

Melody Mennite at the Joyce
Principal dancer Melody Mennite at the Joyce.
Photo by Jessica Collado.

With an Empire State of mind, we arrived in New York. It was Houston Ballet’s return to the city after a 26 year break.  We had seven shows to be performed at the Joyce Theater.

 The program of Falling Angels, ONE/end/ONE, and Hush fit magically well in the intimate, 472 seat, art-deco theater. Personally, it was a joy to find my friend who drove down from Boston in the second row cheering me on. In the dressing room post-performance, dancers shared who they saw out there and the true, up-close reaction they witnessed as the show progressed.

View photos from the tour here.

This tour to NYC was a transcendental one, and it may be my imagination, but I sensed unusually strong curiosity from New Yorkers.  It was beautifully balanced with Houston patrons, friends, and families who took the time to visit the Joyce for this occasion.

Stanton also reminded us of the significance in his “chookas” card (a note he always writes to the company on opening night):

We are the first company to perform Kylian’s Falling Angels in Manhattan. Last time, the original Netherlands Dance Theater performed it at B.A.M in Brooklyn.  And the other two pieces, ONE/end/ONE and Hushare tailor-made to Houston Ballet personalities. This program is uniquely us…

The house was filled each night, and the response was extremely positive…minus a few critics, though strong opinions aren’t necessarily bad, in my opinion.  Through experiencing the audience on stage, I sensed it exceeded their Tex-pectations.

The Joyce staff was impressed with the quality and the consistency of our performances–a huge compliment.  And there is something very special about the Joyce.  After practically living there for a week, I’ve decided it was the lively staff.  They seemed thrilled to be working there and seeing us perform. Even though they’re exposed to dance companies from around the globe–over 270 companies since its inception in 1982–they welcomed us like their family.  The stage manager, Sharonica, was the first connection I made.  Not only was she more than excited to see the show, but she was always available.  Her response was “I can help you with that” followed by a huge smile.  As the days went on, I felt the same attitude from all. It was obvious they were proud to be working there.  After all, the Joyce was created by dancers for dance, and over the years it’s become one of the premiere venues for the art form.

I was charmed to find the Joyce was formerly the Elgin Theater, a 1941 movie house. It was then closed by the community when this revival movie house became a pornographic movie theater. The architect, Hardy Hugh, rescued the place, and after a two year renovation it became the Joyce we know today.

Now we’re back in Houston, tougher and more inspired.  We are in preparation for The Nutcracker and Jubilee of Dance. I’m especially looking forward to seeing this evolving group of artists in motion this holiday season.

Keeping in mind the Empire State of Mind, I go back to plié.



Off to the Joyce!

October 12, 2011

Houston Ballet at The Joyce Theater

Houston Ballet is currently performing for the first time at The Joyce Theater in New York from October 11-16. What will the lucky New York audiences get to see? Jorma Elo’s innovative ONE/end/ONE, Christopher Bruce’s Hush and Jiří Kylián’s Falling Angels. ONE/end/ONE and Hush were both created on Houston Ballet dancers and Falling Angels, set to Steve Reich Drumming, showcases the incredible talent of the women of Houston Ballet. It’s truly a must see. If you’ve had the opportunity to see these fantastic ballets, you know New York is in for a real treat!

And while there’s nothing like seeing Houston Ballet on stage, here are some clips that offer a little taste of the pieces on tour: Hush, ONE/end/ONE and Falling Angels.



Mark Your Calendars

March 30, 2011

We’ve got two great events coming up in Houston Ballet’s season, so save the date!

Academy Spring Showcase: April 29-30

See the rising stars of Houston Ballet’s professional training school as they showcase their talents.  The Spring Showcase is always a great look at future company members “before they were famous”.  The repertoire for this year’s showcase will include Stanton Welch’s Brigade, a pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and a pas de deux from Ben Stevenson’s staging of Don Quixote.

HBII, Houston Ballet’s second company, will also perform Jane Weiner’s Bloom Where You Are Planted, which was created especially for HBII. Ms. Weiner currently serves as executive director of Hope Stone Dance in Houston.

There will be two performances of the Academy Spring Showcase: Friday, April 29 at 7 PM and Saturday, April 30 at 1:30 PM.  Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased by calling 713.227.ARTS.

FREE Performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre: May 6-8 at 8 PM

Houston Ballet will give three free performances on May 6, 7, and 8 at 8 PM at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park.  The repertoire will include Christopher Bruce’s Hush and Stanton Welch’s Tu Tu and The Core

Performances are free and open to the public, but tickets must be picked up from the Miller Theatre Box Office to sit in the covered reserved section of the theatre.  Learn more about how to obtain tickets by visiting our website.  We hope to see you there!


Our life in pictures

March 24, 2010
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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