Houston Ballet
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Houston Ballet

The Houston Ballet, operated by the Houston Ballet Foundation, is the fourth-largest professional ballet company in the United States, based in Houston, Texas.[1] The foundation also maintains a ballet academy, the Ben Stevenson Academy, which trains more than half of the company's dancers.[2] As of 2011, the Houston Ballet's endowment at more than $55 million is considered among the largest endowments held for a dance company in the US.[1][3][4] The company produces over 75 performances each year and consists of 51 dancers.[1][5][6]


The Houston Ballet has its origins in the Houston Ballet Academy, which was established in 1955 under the leadership of Tatiana Semenova, a former dancer with the Ballets Russes.[7] In 1969, the foundation formed a professional ballet company under the direction of Nina Popova, also a former dancer with the Ballet Russes and the American Ballet Theatre.[8]

From 1976-2003, Englishman Ben Stevenson, a former dancer with Britain's Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, served as artistic director of Houston Ballet.[9] Under Stevenson's leadership, the ballet transformed "from regional to international prominence".[10]

In 1989, Kenneth MacMillan joined the company as artistic associate and worked with the company from 1989 until his death in 1992.[11]Christopher Bruce was named resident choreographer. Bruce, who currently holds the title of associate choreographer, has set nine works on the company, including four pieces created especially for Houston Ballet.[12] In March 1995, Trey McIntyre assumed the position of choreographic associate.[13] McIntyre has created seven world premieres for the company, including his first full-length production of Peter Pan.[14] In 2003, Australian choreographer Stanton Welch was appointed as Artistic Director and has created numerous works for Houston Ballet.[15]

In 1982, Sandra Organ, a Nebraska native, joined the Houston Ballet and became its first African American ballerina at the age of 19. She was promoted to soloist, and remained with the Houston Ballet until her retirement, fifteen years later. In 1990 Lauren Anderson became the Houston Ballet's first African-American principal dancer. Anderson continued to dance with the Houston Ballet until her retirement in 2006 at the age of 41.[16]

In July 1995, the Houston Ballet became the first full American ballet company invited by the Chinese government to tour the country.[9] An estimated 500 million people witnessed Houston Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet when the company's opening night performance was telecast live on Chinese television.[17]

For the company's 40th season in 2010, Stanton Welsh created a new production of La Bayadère.[18]

In 2011 the company was the first company to win the Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance, allowing the company to purchase a new piece by Jorma Elo.[19]


Source: Houston Ballet.[20]


First soloists

  • Soo Youn Cho
  • Linnar Looris[27]
  • Katharine Precourt[28]


  • Christopher Coomer
  • Elise Elliott (née Judson)
  • Christopher Gray
  • Oliver Halkowich
  • Jacquelyn Long
  • Allison Miller
  • Harper Watters

Demi soloists

  • Tyler Donatelli
  • Rhodes Elliott
  • Monica Gomez
  • Bridget Kuhns
  • Katelyn May
  • Aaron Daniel Sharratt
  • Madeline Skelly
  • Hayden Stark
  • Brian Waldrep

Corps de ballet

  • Kaleigh Courts
  • Caleb Durbin
  • Daniel Durrett
  • Aoi Fujiwara
  • Syvert Lorenz Garcia
  • Katy Harvey
  • Shogo Hayami
  • Gabrielle Johnson
  • Shu Kinouchi
  • Rhys Kosakowski
  • Dylan Lackey
  • Zecheng Liang
  • Mallory Mehaffey
  • William Newton
  • Mackenzie Richter
  • Michael Ryan
  • Alyssa Springer
  • Megumi Takeda
  • Natalie Varnum
  • Chae Eun Yang


  • Alexandra Burman
  • Chandler Dalton
  • Nina Fernandes
  • Thays Golz
  • Futaba Ishizaki
  • Samuel Rodriguez
  • Madison Young

Center for Dance

Houston Ballet Center for Dance, the administrative headquarters

The Houston Ballet administrative headquarters are in Downtown Houston,[29] in the Center for Dance. In 2011, the Company moved into the Center for Dance, which had its grand opening on April 9, 2011.[30] The facility increased the number of dance studios from six to nine, including a "black box dance laboratory" for presentations as well as rehearsals.[31] The Center more than doubled the space that Houston Ballet had at its previous location.[32] Upon its completion, it was the largest dance facility of its kind in the United States and cost $46 million.[33][34][35]

Prior to moving into the Center for Dance, the ballet's headquarters and training facilities and the Ben Stevenson Academy were located east of the River Oaks Shopping Center.[36]

See also


  1. ^ a b c History
  2. ^ "Academy Overview - Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy". Retrieved . 
  3. ^ "Columbia Law School : Magazine : inspiring-minds". Retrieved . 
  4. ^ "Endowment Snapshot: Houston Ballet - Endowments - The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas". Retrieved . 
  5. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating - Houston Ballet". Retrieved . 
  6. ^ "Dancers". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tatiana Semenova Papers". Retrieved . 
  8. ^ Cunningham, Carl (November 8, 2009). "Houston Ballet: The Fledgling Years 1967-1976". Playbill Arts. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ a b "Information about Houston Ballet". The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Archived from the original on January 26, 2012. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ Pasles, Chris (June 12, 2003). "Houston Ballet names director". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved . 
  11. ^ "PlaybillArts: Features: Houston Ballet Presents Song of the Earth". Retrieved . 
  12. ^ Bremser, Martha (1999). Fifty contemporary choreographers. ISBN 978-0-415-10363-3. Retrieved . 
  13. ^ "Dance | Alumni". Retrieved . 
  14. ^ "A tall order for Trey McIntyre: choreographer sets Houston Ballet's Peter Pan". Dance Magazine. Retrieved . 
  15. ^ "Stanton Welch Repertoire". Houston Ballet. Retrieved . 
  16. ^ Cosgriff, Gabrielle (November 26, 2006). "Houston Ballet's Lauren Anderson readies her final bow". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved . 
  17. ^ Chapman, Betty T. (December 27, 2009). "Houston Ballet Co. continues to grow by leaps and bounds". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved . 
  18. ^ Gustin, Marin (3 March 2010). "Bitten by La Bayadere". Houston Press. Archived from the original on 9 July 2017. 
  19. ^ "A New Dance Center for Houston". New York Times. New York, United States. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 2012. 
  20. ^ "Dancers". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2017. 
  21. ^ "Ian Casady, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2013. 
  22. ^ "Jessica Collado, first soloist". Houston Ballet. 
  23. ^ "Karina Gonzalez, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2013. 
  24. ^ "Melody Mennite, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2012. 
  25. ^ "Connor Walsh, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2013. 
  26. ^ "Sara Webb, principal". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2013. 
  27. ^ "Linnar Looris, first soloist". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2012. 
  28. ^ "Katharine Precourt, first soloist". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2015. 
  29. ^ "Home." Houston Ballet. Retrieved on January 16, 2012. "Admin offices: 601 Preston Street, Houston, TX 77002"
  30. ^ "Center For Dance". 
  31. ^ "Houston Ballet's new dance center reaching milestone - Your Houston News: News". Retrieved . 
  32. ^ "HBNewsSpring2011FINAL.pdf" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 27, 2012. Retrieved . 
  33. ^ "Houston Ballet breaks ground on new downtown home - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved . 
  34. ^ "Houston Ballet Center for Dance / Gensler | SocializArq". Retrieved . 
  35. ^ "Houston Ballet's New Center for Dance Opens Saturday, April 9, 2011 - HOUSTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -". Retrieved . 
  36. ^ "Houston Ballet dancing into downtown." Houston Business Journal. Sunday August 3, 2008. Retrieved on January 16, 2012.

External links

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