|Houston, Texas – On Friday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 30 at 1:30 p.m., Houston Ballet II, Houston Ballet’s second company, will present its 2011 Spring Showcase in the Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Tickets start at $25 and may be purchased by calling 713 227 ARTS (713 227 2787) or online at www.houstonballet.org. All proceeds raised by the performances will benefit Houston Ballet’s Academy. |
Houston Ballet II is the second company of Houston Ballet, America’s fourth largest ballet company. The company tours with a wide array of dance works both nationally and internationally. In recent seasons Houston Ballet II has traveled to Mexico (to the Seminario Internacional de Critica de Danza Dance Festival in Monterrey in October 2006), China (Beijing International Ballet Invitational in October 2008), Hungary (International Youth Festival in October 2008), Guatemala (2010) and Switzerland where seven Houston Ballet II dancers have placed as finalists in recent years at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne.
The Spring Showcase is a unique opportunity for Houston Ballet II to perform for their home audience after a busy schedule of touring. Over the last year, Houston Ballet II has toured to California, South Carolina, Florida and cities across the Midwest.
Academy Associate Director Shelly Power with Houston Ballet II’s Ballet Master Claudio Muñoz and Ballet Mistress Sabrina Lenzi carefully select each piece for the Spring Showcase to fully showcase the abilities of every dancer.
The 2011 Spring Performance will include Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s Brigade, a stunning ballet set to “Soirées musicales” and “Matinées Musicales” by English composer Benjamin Britten. Twenty-six dancers will appear in blue military-inspired costumes created by Holly Hynes. Houston Ballet premiered Brigade in September of 2006.
Further showcasing their classical technique, Houston Ballet II will perform a pas de deux from Le Corsaire, one of the most famous excerpts in all of classical ballet. Originally choreographed by Joseph Mazilier, it was first performed at the Theatre Imperial de L’Opera in Paris on January 23, 1856, while modern versions have roots from Marius Petipa’s version in the mid 19th century. The pas de deux showcases a pirate, Conrad, who has rescued Medora, a Greek slave girl from sale to a harem and taken her to his underground grotto; where, having fallen in love with her, they dance together in celebration of her rescue.
A classical pas de deux from Ben Stevenson’s staging of Don Quixote will also be featured. The full-length version of Don Quixote was first presented by Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater in 1869. Set to music by Leon Minkus, the ballet has long been a showcase for virtuoso dancing.
The program will close with Mr. Welch’s classical showpiece Studies, set to music by Carl Czerny and showcasing 241 students from all levels of the academy.
Houston Ballet II performs Bloom Where You Are Planted
by Choreographer Jane Weiner
Choreographer Jane Weiner, who serves as executive director of Hope Stone Dance, recently choreographed a new piece specifically for Houston Ballet II. Bloom Where You Are Planted had its world premiere by Houston Ballet II at Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex with Hope Stone Dance on April 7, 2011. Of her newest creation, Ms. Weiner explains that, “the piece is one of discovery of roots...the grounding of body, mind and soul. Sometimes this grounding is through natural progression and age. Sometimes it is found in an instance, in that profound moment when a person discovers his or her strength, worth and gold.”
Ms. Weiner commented, “Working with Houston Ballet II has been such a treat. They are such hard workers. I am humbled by their work ethic and care of my movement.”
Associate Director of the Academy Shelly Power explains that, “Jane brings a deep level of development to Houston Ballet II with her approach to movement. Having dancers with a diverse level of training is important in an effort to grow well-rounded artists. Jane’s new work allows them to explore space, expand their thinking, find new boundaries, and integrate natural movement. We are excited to have her work in our repertoire.”
Ms. Weiner has set her work on Houston Ballet II, Stages Repertory Theater, Houston Children’s Museum, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Texas Christian University, High School for Performing and Visual Arts, the University Performing Dancers of Bowling Green State University, Episcopal High School, Houston Repertoire Ballet, Texas A&M, Eastchester High School, and Stockton College. She presently is the executive director of HOPE STONE, Inc., and artistic director of the Pink Ribbons Project. She was awarded the CACHH general fellowship grant in 2002, the Houston PBS Speaking Women’s Health Conference Honoree 2004, the Surgical Society of Oncology’s James Ewing Layman Award, the Jung Center Award for 2005, and was a finalist for the Cal Arts/Albert Award for Dance in 2001.
Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy
Houston Ballet’s Academy is the official school of Houston Ballet and supplies more than 50% of the professional company’s dancers. Houston Ballet Principal Dancers Ian Casady, Mireille Hassenboehler, Melody Mennite, Sara Webb, and Connor Walsh were all once students of our prestigious academy. As one of the most respected dance training institutions in America, graduates of the academy have gone on to dance with numerous leading companies, including American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, BalletMet, Memphis Ballet, State Street Ballet, Ballet Florida, Pacific Northwest Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada.
The academy’s main school division takes students from introduction to ballet through a full course of ballet study. The rigorous program offers classes in technique, pointe work, pas de deux, character dance and music. Students as young as four take creative dance, and six year olds take pre-ballet, both of which lay the foundation for further study of classical ballet. Students follow a structured sequence of training phases designed to enhance their technical skills, stamina and discipline.
Stanton Welch assumed leadership of the company and the academy in July 2003. As artistic director, Mr. Welch is extremely involved in the Academy and is committed to the development of its students. Academy students have had the opportunity to perform with the professional company in Stanton Welch’s premieres of Marie and La Bayadère along with Ben Stevenson’s staging of The Nutcracker among others.
HOUSTON BALLET’S ACADEMY
2011 SPRING SHOWCASE
WHAT: Houston Ballet’s Academy Spring Showcase
WHERE: Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center
501 Texas Avenue
WHEN: 7:00 PM Friday, April 29, 2011
1:30 PM Saturday, April 30, 2011
TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Call 713 227 ARTS (2787) Or purchase online at www.houstonballet.org
WORKS TO BE PERFORMED:
Music by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Matinees Musicales, Op. 24; Soirees Musicales, Op. 9
Agreement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. publisher and copyright owner
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Costume Design by Holly Hynes
BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED
Music by Yann Tierson, Meredith Monk, and Jacques Brel
Choreography by Jane Weiner
Pas de Deux
*Friday, April 29 Performance Only
Music by Adolphe Adam
Choreography after Marius Petipa
Pas de Deux
*Saturday, April 30 Performance Only
Music by Alois Louis Minkus (1826-1917)
Arranged by John Lanchbery
Choreography by Ben Stevenson, O.B.E
Costume Design by Judanna Lynn
Music by Carl Czerny (1791-1857)
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Pianists: Katherine Burkwall-Ciscon and Steven Tran
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit Houston Ballet at www.houstonballet.org