Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch has announced the company’s 2016-2017 Season

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World Premiere of Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker

with Sets and Costumes by British Designer Tim Goodchild Highlights Season in November 2016

American Premiere of David Bintley’s Full-Length Ballet The Tempest in May 2017 Seven New Works Enter Company Repertoire

HOUSTON, TEXAS – Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch  has announced the company’s 2016-2017 Season. In the coming season, the company will present seven new works by some of the most noted and exciting choreographers of our time (including Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Justin Peck, and David Bintley), among these are two full-length ballets.

The highlight of the season is Mr. Welch’s stunning new production of The Nutcracker in November 2016. A Houston holiday tradition, this production will be the first new version of The Nutcracker in 29 years. With costumes and sets designed by acclaimed British designer Tim Goodchild, Mr. Welch’s interpretation of the classic holiday story will enchant a new generation of fans.

Other new works this season also include the American Premiere of David Bintley’s The Tempest, (a co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet) based on Shakespeare’s enchanting play by the same name; Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances; William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite; Stanton Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony; Jiří Kylián’s Stepping Stones; and Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit.

Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity Launches the 2016-2017 Season in September 2016

From September 8-18, 2016, Houston Ballet launches its 47th season with a mixed repertory program entitled Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity featuring George Balanchine’s tribute to Imperial Russian Ballet, Theme and Variations, and the company premieres of Jerome Robbins’ dynamic Other Dances, and William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite.

“I am excited for Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity because all three works are stunning examples of American choreography. Balanchine is one of the fathers of American ballet; it’s fitting that he would appear on this program. He created a new approach to ballet with his insistence on light, speedy footwork that challenged dancers to move in new and unexpected ways. All the while, he never lost sight of the beauty of classical ballet. Theme and Variations is his tribute to the grand classicism of Petipa and the tradition of grand ballet in Imperial Russia.

“Jerome Robbins was one of the true masters of dance. He had a unique and subtle sense of choreography which is lovely, and Other Dances, which is a new work of his to enter the company’s repertoire, shows his beautiful interpretation of Chopin’s music. William Forsythe is a world renowned choreographer and an important part of the dance scene in this country. Artifact Suite is a powerful piece that shows how he is constantly redefining the boundaries of contemporary dance and is an exciting addition to our repertoire,” remarked Mr. Welch.

George Balanchine created Theme and Variations as the grandest tribute to his alma mater, the Imperial Russian Ballet, which Houston Ballet last performed in 2012. Balanchine originally created the work for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch, and it premiered on November 26, 1947 at the City Center in New York City.

Set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3, in G, Theme and Variations explores classic ballet training, focusing on preparatory movements that were developed to train and warm-up the dancer’s body. Taking these steps further, Balanchine produced some very challenging choreography.

Themes and Variations was intended, as Balanchine wrote, “to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky’s music.” The final movement of the composer’s third orchestral suite consists of 12 variations. The ballet opens to reveal a corps of 12 women and a principal couple. As the ballet moves from variation to variation, the solo performances of the ballerina and her cavalier are interspersed among the corps performances.

Dance critic David Clarke from BroadwayWorld, praised Houston Ballet’s performance of Theme and Variations by writing, “A fantastic reminder of how perfectly poised and regally elegant ballet can be. . . The piece is nothing short of graceful and courtly, majestic and refined” (May 25, 2012).

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. Balanchine served as ballet master and principal choreographer for New York City Ballet from 1948 until his death in 1983. Balanchine’s more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), The Nutcracker (1954), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), and Mozartiana (1981).

Although Balanchine once said, “I am more American than Russian,” he still turned to the music of the great Russian composers, notably Stravinksy and Tchaikovsky, for his ballets. “My teachers were people who knew Tchaikovsky, who talked with him….My first time on stage was in a Tchaikovsky ballet,” he stated. “Thanks to The Sleeping Beauty, I fell in love with ballet. [Tchaikovsky] is like a father to me. In everything that I did to Tchaikovsky’s music, I sensed his help.”

Famed American choreographer Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances is a pas de deux created on legendary dancers Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Set to music by Chopin, four mazurkas and one waltz, the piece was specifically crafted to display Makarova and Baryshnikov’s legendary technique and artistry. Other Dances, through its simplicity and virtuosity, pays homage to both Chopin’s Romanticism and the fluidity of classical ballet technique, while also containing playful influences of folk dance. Other Dances had its premiere in 1976 at a New York Public Library for the Performing Arts benefit.

New York-born choreographer Jerome Robbins, one of the first great American ballet masters, had a wide-ranging career in the fields of both theater and dance – as a performer and choreographer in ballet and musical theater, and as a director and choreographer in theater, movies, television and opera. In a career that spanned five decades, he won four Tony Awards, two Academy Awards, an Emmy, and countless other awards for his achievements. He joined Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre) in 1940 and choreographed his first work, Fancy Free, for that company in 1944. This was followed by Interplay (1945) and Facsimile (1946), after which he embarked on a prolific and enormously successful career as a choreographer and later as a director of Broadway musicals and plays. He was simultaneously creating ballets for New York City Ballet, which he joined in 1949 as associate director with George Balanchine. Among his outstanding works for that company were The Guests (1949), The Age of Anxiety (1951), The Cage (1951), The Pied Piper (1951), Afternoon of a Faun (1953), Dances at a Gathering (1969), The Goldberg Variations (1971) and Glass Pieces (1983). Houston Ballet has four other works by Jerome Robbins in its repertoire: The Concert, Afternoon of a Faun, In the Night, and Fancy Free.

Rounding out the evening is the company premiere of William Forsythe’s dramatic Artifact Suite. Intended for 35 dancers, Artifact Suite is an edited version of an evening-length ballet Artifact created in 1984 for Ballett Frankfurt. Here Mr. Forsythe shortens the ballet into a stunning piece that preserves all of the original ballet’s striking innovation and power.

Artifact Suite is considered a major choreographic achievement that succeeds in deconstructing and reconstructing the rules of traditional ballet without denying its traditional technique. Rules are both extended and broken in this work whose powerful images perturb theatrical imagery and push the play of optical illusions to their limits.

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, dance correspondent Allan Ulrich wrote, “But Forsythe’s skewed classicism, the abrupt transitions, the constantly evolving patterns for the 30- member corps and the omnipresent tension simmering under the surface suggest a vision of ballet for the 21st century” (February 26, 2011).

Raised in New York and initially trained in Florida with Nolan Dingman and Christa Long, Mr. Forsythe danced with The Joffrey Ballet and later the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was appointed resident choreographer in 1976. Over the next seven years, he created new works for the Stuttgart ensemble and ballet companies in Munich, The Hague, London, Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as director of the Ballet Frankfurt. Under his leadership, the Frankfurt Ballet was transformed from a capable regional troupe into one of Europe’s foremost dance ensembles.

Mr. Forsythe’s ballets have entered the repertoires of the world’s leading companies, including the New York City Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet of London, the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Royal Swedish Ballet. In March 2003, he received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award for his contribution to the field of dance. After the closure of the Frankfurt Ballet in 2004, Mr. Forsythe established a new, more independent ensemble, The Forsythe Company in 2005.

Houston Ballet has two other works by Mr. Forsythe in its repertoire: The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the middle, somewhat elevated.

Houston Ballet Revives Stanton Welch’s Epic Madame Butterfly

From September 22 – October 2, 2016, Houston Ballet will revive artistic director Stanton Welch’s signature work Madame Butterfly on a program with his ballet Son of Chamber Symphony. Set to Puccini’s memorable score, in an arrangement by John Lanchbery, Madame Butterfly chronicles the love story of the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San who is betrothed to marry the handsome American, Lieutenant Pinkerton. The production unfolds dramatically on Peter Farmer’s picturesque sets, which beautifully evoke the mystery and languor of 19th century Japan. Opening the program is the company premiere of Mr. Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony, set to music by John Adams.

Premiered by The Australian Ballet in 1995, Madame Butterfly was Mr. Welch’s first full- length ballet. The two-act work tells the story of the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San who renounces her faith and her family to wed Lieutenant Pinkerton, the handsome American naval officer who is betrothed to another. The centerpiece of the work is a ravishing wedding night pas de deux for Pinkerton and Cio-Cio San, which closes the first act.

Since its premiere, Madame Butterfly has become Mr. Welch’s international signature piece, having entered the repertoires of Houston Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Madame Butterfly was the first full-length ballet I created for Australia Ballet in 1995,” says Mr. Welch. “The tale of Cio-Cio San takes the audience through her emotional journey. She portrays the dizzying glory of being in love, settles in to wait, displaying her loyalty and devotion to Pinkerton for years, only to be cruelly betrayed at the end. It’s a stunning tale that is highlighted by the gorgeous score arranged by John Lanchberry and designs by Peter Farmer.”

Adam Castaneda of the Houston Press wrote, “Madame Butterfly is a sumptuous story ballet, yes, but what makes this work such an essential piece of dance art is its striking images. . . Madame Butterfly is a testament to the grace and resilience of the female spirit (September 10, 2012).

Originally created for The Joffrey Ballet, Son of Chamber Symphony had its premiere at Jacob’s Pillow in 2012. The inspiration for the three-movement ballet came to Mr. Welch as he searched for music and came across John Adam’s Son of Chamber Symphony. The way Mr. Adams deconstructed the music reminded Mr. Welch of the inner workings of a clock. Son of Chamber Symphony inspired him to choreograph movements in both expected and unexpected ways by taking classical, traditional ballet moves and interpreting them into something new.

On creating the piece Mr. Welch said, “so much of ballet is about hiding the difficulties and seeking to attain seamless movement. Here I want to show the seams.”

This theme is continued within the costume designs by Travis Halsey. The costumes are literally turned inside out and show all the inner construction and understructure that makes up a garment. In particular, the women wear tutus that, at first glance, appear traditional but in actuality are striking, stylized versions that suggest they have been flipped upside down.

Sid Smith from the Chicago Tribune enthused, “. . . this intelligent three-part piece is a steely but imaginative take on John Adams’ score . . . Welch works tirelessly to meet it head on with inventive, exotic ballet and a darkish, driven world” (February 14, 2013).

The Tradition Continues: Houston Ballet Lights up the Holidays With the World Premiere of Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker

From November 25-December 27, 2016, Houston Ballet presents the highlight of the 2016-17 season with a joyous new production of The Nutcracker by Stanton Welch. With grand sets and costumes by acclaimed British designer Tim Goodchild, a Christmas tree that touches the sky, and an expanded cast of characters, this exquisite production features everyone and everything audiences love about The Nutcracker.

This holiday celebration marks the first time in 29 years that Houston Ballet has put on a new production of The Nutcracker. Mr. Welch has been careful to research the original tale by

E.T.A. Hoffman and has kept the traditional storyline audiences are familiar with intact.

“Houston Ballet has had the privilege of performing Ben Stevenson’s production of The Nutcracker for many years. The ballet served the company well and has been a continuous source of inspiration and magic. My hope is to build upon Ben’s legacy and that sense of magic he created as I craft this new production of The Nutcracker,” explained Mr. Welch. “Audiences can expect to see a traditional treatment of the ballet with some new characters, set against stunning set and costume designs by designer Tim Goodchild. I hope it will be a ballet theatergoers can treasure for years to come.”

For those unfamiliar with the story of The Nutcracker it opens on Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum’s house. After a lively party with friends and family, receiving presents, and marching soldiers and dancing dolls, Clara falls asleep with her toy Nutcracker – and her magical journey begins. She travels with Drosselmeyer to the Land of the Snow and the Land of the Sweets, encountering unimaginable beauty and dance from around the world.

A wonderful ballet for the entire family, The Nutcracker is the perfect way to introduce young children to the power and beauty of classical dance. Tchaikovsky’s magical score and Mr. Welch’s vibrantly theatrical staging combine to create a visually stunning production.

Houston Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker sponsored by: United, ConocoPhillips, Houston Methodist, Bank of America, Shell Oil Company, Baker Botts L.L.P., and Macy’s

Houston Ballet’s Jubilee of Dance: A One-Night-Only Extravaganza

On Friday, December 2, 2016, Houston Ballet presents its thirteenth annual Jubilee of Dance, a special one-night-only performance showcasing the talent and artistry of the company dancers in a program of high-energy excerpts from signature works and beloved classics. Houston Press dance critic Mandy Oaklander praised the production, “I’ve learned that as a general rule with the

Houston Ballet, ‘one-night-only performance’ means go, or you’ll wish you would have” (December 2011). In addition to the performance, tickets to the Jubilee of Dance Onstage Dinner where patrons take to the stage to dine and mingle with company dancers, are also available.

Houston Ballet’s Jubilee of Dance sponsored by: Houston Methodist.

Stanton Welch’s Cinderella Is a Modern Take on a Classic Fairy Tale

From March 2-12, 2017, Houston Ballet presents Stanton Welch’s staging of Cinderella, which was originally created for The Australian Ballet in 1997. A fresh new take on the familiar tale, Cinderella features lavish scenery and spectacular costumes by the late New Zealand designer Kristian Fredrickson. In Mr. Welch’s staging, Cinderella is no downtrodden waif, but a gutsy

tomboy who stands up for herself to fight against her stepsisters, and in the end chooses love over money in a twist to suit the 21st century.

Houston Ballet presented the American premiere of Mr. Welch’s production of Cinderella in February 2008. At its revival in February 2012 dance critic Nancy Wozny writing for Arts + Culture Houston pronounced, “Stanton Welch’s Cinderella is a triumph on several levels. From the first few notes of Prokofiev’s brooding score, it’s evident we are in for an extravagant ride.”

The music of Sergei Prokofiev’s famous score for Cinderella inspired Mr. Welch to choreograph the ballet. “I first fell in love with Cinderella through its music. I was able to find a story of my own through the Prokofiev score, without seeing a ballet version until much later,” he observed. In fashioning his scenario for the ballet, Mr. Welch drew upon several interpretations of Cinderella: the Brothers Grimm’s dark fairy tale version Aschenputtel (“ash girl”), Gioacchino Rossini’s famous 1817 opera, and the traditional English pantomime version of Cinderella, with its lovable servant, Buttons.

At the end of Mr. Welch’s staging, Cinderella finds true love not with the handsome, narcissistic prince, but with his mild-mannered valet, Dandini. “I think that the subtle, implicit message of the traditional Cinderella story — that someone will magically appear to rescue you from a bad

situation – is not a great message to send to a young child. It’s about standing up for yourself, making your own decisions, choosing your own path, your own love,” commented Mr. Welch.

In the spring of 1997, critic Patricia Laughlin from Dance International, observed, “The highlight of the year so far has been the world premiere of Stanton Welch’s new version of Cinderella for The Australian Ballet. I find it by far the most interesting version of this work that I have seen. Although it has romance, beauty and humor, Welch has also drawn on the dark, almost sinister thread which runs through Prokofiev’s musical score….Each time I saw this ballet, I enjoyed it more. People were leaving the theatre bubbling with enthusiasm, and many were heard to say, ‘I would love to see it again.’”

The production includes lavish wigs and 207 sumptuous costumes using materials ranging from silk, lace and laser fabrics to heavy tweed, stretch denim and lycra. Mr. Fredrickson also created a series of lavish and spectacular ball gowns for the stepmother and the stepsisters, who are portrayed by men who dance on pointe.

Mr. Fredrickson created the sets and costumes for many of Stanton Welch’s ballets including: Of Blessed Memory (1991) Cinderella (1997) and The Sleeping Beauty (2005) for The Australian Ballet; and for Houston Ballet, the Pecos Bill section of Tales of Texas (2004) and Swan Lake (2006), the final production of his long and distinguished career before his death in 2005. In addition to Mr. Welch’s staging, Mr. Fredrickson designed two other productions of the work: a staging of Sir Frederick Ashton’s version for The Australian Ballet in 1972 and a production by English choreographer Jack Carter for the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 1992.

Houston Ballet’s performances of Cinderella sponsored by: ConocoPhillips.

Director’s Choice: Legends and Prodigy Features Company Premieres of Jiří Kylián’s

Stepping Stones and Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit in March 2017

From March 16 – 26, 2017, Houston Ballet offers up a mixed repertory program Director’s Choice: Legends and Prodigy, featuring three company, dancer, and audience favorites. Jiří

Kylián created Stepping Stones during a visit to Australia as a reflection on man’s desire to preserve his heritage. Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge showcases Houston Ballet’s strong male lineup and proves unequivocally why he is Holland’s most famous choreographer. Justin Peck joins Houston Ballet’s repertoire with Year of the Rabbit, a ballet that showcases the corps de ballet.

Stepping Stones, a ballet for eight dancers, is set to John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano and Anton Webern’s Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, and acts as a reflection on the handing-on of cultural heritage. Mr. Kylián created the ballet in 1991 for the Stuttgart Ballet as a reverence to tradition and heritage. The dancers move with miniature copies of sculptures that range from prehistoric time to the time of Brancusi. All the while, they are watched by statues of Egyptian cats who have witnessed over 3,000 years of human evolution.

In the creation of Stepping Stones, Mr. Kylián noted, “I have great respect for cultural achievements of the past. So we all carry our cultural baggage, which sometimes restricts our movement, and sometimes serves us as a “Stepping stone”, enabling us to move between ‘what was’ and ‘what will be.’”

Jiří Kylián has proven to be one of the world’s most influential choreographers and has had a profound impact on the world of dance. Jack Anderson, writing in The New York Times about Kylián, observed, “Ballets choreographed by Jiří Kylián are passionate, rhapsodic, even tempestuous. The Czech-born artistic director of Netherlands Dance Theater likes to send dancers surging in great waves across the stage, and he is not afraid to make strong choreographic statements in the theater” (June 21, 1987).

Born in Prague, Jiří Kylián studied at Prague National Theatre, Prague Conservatory and The Royal Ballet School in London before joining Stuttgart Ballet in 1968 under the direction of John Cranko. There Mr. Cranko helped cultivate Mr. Kylián as a student and choreographer which lead to him setting his first work for Stuttgart Ballet in 1970. Mr. Kylián joined Nederlands Dans Theater in 1973 as a guest choreographer, and was appointed artistic director in 1978.

After joining Nederlands Dans Theater he created and realized over 60 productions for the company, including such works as: Sinfonietta (1978), Forgotten Land (1981), Bella Figura

(1995), and Last Touch (2003). In 1995 Mr. Kylián celebrated 20 years as artistic director with Nederlands Dans Theater with the large-scale production Arcimboldo as well as receiving Holland’s highest honor, Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau. In 1999 Mr. Kylián retired as artistic director, but still has an active role as resident choreographer and artistic advisor with the company.

Houston Ballet has eight other works by Mr. Kylián in its repertoire, including Symphony in D, Sinfonietta, Forgotten Land, Svadebka, Falling Angels, Soldiers’ Mass, Sechs-Tanze and Petite Mort.

Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge, originally created for Netherlands Dance Theater on April 8, 1971, is an abstract, contemporary work for eight dancers. Grosse Fuge examines love and relationships, a common theme in van Manen’s choreography. It is set to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Op. 133 and Cavatina Op. 130, one of the composer’s last works for string quartet.

Pulitzer-Prize winning author and musician Edmund Morris recently observed that Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge is “deliberately harsh music that is cruel to play and cruel to listen to. It’s like Beethoven wanted to push the body always beyond its own limits.”

Beethoven’s aggressive music is reflected to some degree in van Manen’s choreography, which features vigorous male partnering, and strong group and ensemble work. The costumes, designed by van Manen, are notable for the long, divided, Martha Graham-like skirts worn by the male dancers.

Mr. Welch commented, “Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge is one of his finest works and one of the first of his that I saw, and it’s a pleasure to bring it back to Houston. We last performed the ballet twelve years ago and it quickly became a loved work for both the dancers and the audience. Grosse Fuge is considered one of his most noteable works, and the way he underscores the piece with a subtle commentary on conflict within interpersonal relationships and gender roles is superb.”

Mr. van Manen began to work with the Netherlands Dance Theater in 1960, first as a dancer, next as a choreographer, then as the artistic director (from 1961 to 1971). For the following two years he worked as a freelance choreographer, then joined Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam in 1973. Outside of the Netherlands, he has staged his ballets for many international companies. In September 1988 Mr. van Manen rejoined Netherlands Dance Theater as a resident choreographer. In the course of his career, he has created more than 100 works, 58 of which have been for Netherlands Dance Theater. Mr. van Manen has also been awarded numerous prizes. In 1991 he received the Sonia Gaskell Prize for his entire body of work. In 1992—his 35th year as a choreographer— he was knighted by the Queen of the Netherlands in the Order of Orange Nassau.

Houston Ballet has three other works by Mr. van Manen in its repertory, Adagio Hammerklavier, Five Tangos, and Solo.

Rounding out the program is the company premiere of Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit. The ballet was Mr. Peck’s second work for New York City Ballet, and is a collaboration with American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. The ballet is set to Mr. Steven’s astrology-inspired electronica album and song cycle Enjoy Your Rabbit. Year of the Rabbit is an elaboration of Mr. Peck’s Tales of a Chinese Zodiac, which he created in 2010 for the New York Choreographic Institute.

At the world premiere of Year of the Rabbit New York Times writer Brian Seibert enthused, “The plenitude is delightful rather than oppressive, because of the freshness and because of Mr. Peck’s precocious command of structure. To be offered so many wonders in succession is heady, but it is Mr. Peck’s brilliant transitions that make the mind want to keep up and help it do so.” (October 7, 2012).

Justin Peck is currently a soloist dancer and the Resident Choreographer with New York City Ballet and has been hailed as an important new voice in 21st-century choreography. Mr. Peck,

originally from San Diego, California, moved to New York at the age of 15 to attend the School of American Ballet. In 2006 he joined New York City Ballet.

Since his debut as a choreographer in 2009, he has created works for the New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, the Miami City Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Guggenheim Museum, NY Fall For Dance, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, and more. In 2013, he was nominated for the International Benois De La Danse Award for new choreography. In 2015, Peck’s ballet Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won the Bessie Award for Outstanding Production.

In July of 2011, he was appointed by Peter Martins as the first active Choreographer-in- Residency of the New York Choreographic Institute for the 2011/2012 annual season. In 2014, Peck was appointed Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet, making him the second choreographer in the history of the Institution to hold this position.

Magic and Love Come Together in David Bintley’s The Tempest

From May 25 – June 4, 2017 Houston Ballet presents the American Premiere of David Bintley’s magical ballet The Tempest. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Mr. Bintley has created a fantastical production based on the bard’s well-known play.

The Tempest takes place on a remote island where Prospero, a sorcerer and the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using his magical powers. He conjures up a storm (the tempest) in order to shipwreck his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples on the island. Prospero’s actions bring about a story of love and redemption.

Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, is most commonly thought to have first been performed sometime between 1610 – 1614. It did not receive much attention until adapted versions of the play surfaced after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660. In the mid-19th century,

theater productions began reinstating the full-length of Shakespeare’s words to the work, which lead to a reexamination of the play by critics and scholars. Now the play is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest works and serves as a stunning example of the bard’s ability to juggle the struggle between the light and romantic and darker, more compelling themes. This critical acclaim has inspired artists over the years and The Tempest has been adapted numerous times in a variety of art forms: operas, orchestral works, paintings, poetry, and films.

Mr. Bintley’s talent at creating beautiful works routed in classicism led Dance Magazine to proclaim, “Whether Bintley is choreographing on a grand scale or in miniature, whether a piece has an intricate plot line or is plotless, there are certain characteristics intrinsic to his ballets, no matter how different they are in style and substance. Each shares a riveting theatricality, strong visual sense, intelligent craftsmanship, emotional resonance, and prominent roles for dancers.”

A native of Huddersfield, England, Mr. Bintley began his training at the age of four. In 1973 he joined the Royal Ballet Upper School, where he was influenced by Dame Ninette de Valois and Frederick Ashton. He cites Valois and Ashton as his heroes, and his love for the communicative style of English ballet that they forged springs from the training they gave him. He joined Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet in 1976, where he made his mark playing character roles such as Alain and Widow Simone in Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée and the Ugly Sister in Cinderella. At the same time, his choreographic ambition was encouraged, beginning with The Outsider in 1978 and continuing through his first major narrative ballet The Swan of Tuonela in 1982. In 1983, he became resident choreographer of Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, but left three years later to take up the same position at The Royal Ballet. Mr. Bintley resigned from the Royal Ballet in 1993 and left to work abroad. In 1995, he returned home as artistic director of his old company, now based in Birmingham and renamed Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Since his appointment, he has shaped a company where the dancers share his philosophy of continuing to preserve the classical repertory while introducing new work made in the same idiom. At the same time, he has continued to be a prolific choreographer, with a natural impulse towards story telling that has made popular hits of works such as Carmina Burana (1995), Far From the Madding Crowd (1996) and Beauty and the Beast (2003). In 2010 Mr. Bintley

accepted the role of artistic director of the National Ballet of Japan, creating Aladdin (2008) and The Prince of Pagodas (2011), while simultaneously holding the position of artistic director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.

The music for The Tempest was composed by well-known British composer Sally Beamish. Ms. Beamish was born in London. Initially a viola player, she moved from London to Scotland in 1990 to develop her career as a composer. Her music embraces many influences: particularly jazz and Scottish traditional music. The concerto form is a continuing inspiration, and she has written for many internationally renowned soloists.

Her music is performed and broadcast internationally, and since 1999 she has been championed by the BIS label, who have recorded much of her work. Recent commissions include Dance Variations: Percussion Concerto No 2, for percussionist Colin Currie, with the Bergen Symphony Orchestra, Scottish and Swedish Chamber Orchestras, and Stanford Lively Arts, California. Her string quartet for the Elias Quartet, Reed Stanzas, received its premiere at the 2011 BBC Proms, and won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award.

The Tempest is a co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet and the second work of Mr. Bintley’s to enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire. The company previously performed Mr. Bintley’s Aladdin in 2014.

Houston Ballet’s performances of The Tempest sponsored by: Chevron.

Houston Ballet Caps the Season with Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère

From June 8 – 18, 2017 Houston Ballet caps its season with Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère (“The Temple Dancer”), a historic classic set in royal India of the past. La Bayadère is a dramatic ballet of eternal love, mystery, fate, vengeance and justice, featuring spectacular scenery and costumes by the acclaimed English designer Peter Farmer. This lavish production recounts the story of Nikiya, a temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart — at least in this life.

La Bayadère’s third act, the famous Kingdom of the Shades section, showcases 24 female dancers in white tutus, executing 38 synchronized and seamless arabesques while descending onto the stage, and is one of the purest forms of ballet-blanc, or white tutu ballet. “The Kingdom of the Shades is a challenging segment because it requires such control and precision from the corps de ballet women,” said Mr. Welch. “There are few works in the classical repertoire that require more precision from the corps de ballet.” The Kingdom of the Shades is so popular it is often performed on its own. Houston Ballet first performed The Kingdom of the Shades scene, staged by Ben Stevenson after Marius Petipa, in March 1994 and revived it in 1998.

At the ballet’s premiere in 2010, Marene Gustin writing for Houston Press praised the Kingdom of the Shades scene by stating, “This is one of the most beautiful corps de ballet segments Houston Ballet has ever put onstage. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and worth the price of admission in itself” (March 3, 2010).

Mr. Welch choreographed La Bayadère on Houston Ballet in 2010. “La Bayadere is a grand 19th-century classical ballet, and Peter Farmer has given us a big, visually stunning, Bollywood- like production. It’s a colorful story that’s sexy, provocative and very dramatic,” observed Mr. Welch.

English designer Peter Farmer, who has a long and rich history with Houston Ballet, created the spectacular scenery and costumes for La Bayadère. Mr. Farmer created a total of nine full- length productions for Houston Ballet since 1972 and is one of the few designers to have worked with three of the company’s directors: Nina Popova, Ben Stevenson and Stanton Welch.

The costume designs are reminiscent of brightly colored traditional Indian attire, such as harem pants and saris, for the first and second acts. The lavish production includes 121 costumes, comprised of 568 items. This also includes 26 handmade white tutus for The Kingdom of the Shades scene.

The ballet’s updated look and feel, while maintaining the classical elements it’s famous for, has made the production an international success. Houston Ballet toured La Bayadère to Calgary and Edmonton in Canada, and the ballet has also entered the repertoires of The Joffrey Ballet and The Australian Ballet to critical acclaim.

Houston Ballet’s performances of La Bayadère sponsored by: Chevron and Norton Rose Fulbright.

About Houston Ballet

On February 17, 1969 a troupe of 15 young dancers made its stage debut at Sam Houston State Teacher’s College in Huntsville, Texas. Since that time, Houston Ballet has evolved into a company of 59 dancers with a budget of $28 million (making it the United States’ fifth largest ballet company by number of dancers), a state-of-the-art performance space built especially for the company, Wortham Theater Center, the largest professional dance facility in America, Houston Ballet’s $46.6 million Center for Dance which opened in April 2011, and an endowment of just over $69 million (as of September 2015).

Australian choreographer Stanton Welch has served as artistic director of Houston Ballet since 2003, raising the level of the company’s classical technique and commissioning many new works from dance makers such as Christopher Bruce, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Julia Adam, Natalie Weir, Nicolo Fonte, and Edwaard Liang. Executive Director James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, a position he assumed in February 2012 after serving as the company’s General Manager for over a decade.

Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Over the past fifteen years, the company has appeared in London at Sadler’s Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal and Ottawa, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Hamburg Ballet Days, and in cities large and small across the United States. Houston Ballet has emerged as a leader in the expensive, labor-intensive task of nurturing the creation and development of new full-length narrative ballets.

Writing in Dancing Times in June 2012, dance critic Margaret Willis praised Houston Ballet and highlighted the fact that “During his own tenure, (Stanton) Welch has upped the standard and Houston Ballet now shows off a group of 55 dancers in splendid shape. With fast and tidy footwork, they are technically skillful and have strong, broad jumps and expansive, fluid movements. The dancers’ musicality shines through their work, dancing as one with elegance and refinement – and they are a handsome bunch too!…if ballet were an Olympic sport, see Houston Ballet well on the way to achieving gold.”

Houston Ballet Orchestra was established in the late 1970s and currently consists of 61 professional musicians who play all ballet performances at Wortham Theater Center under music director Ermanno Florio.

Houston Ballet’s Education and Outreach Program has reached approximately 39,500 Houston area students (as of the 2014-2015 season). Houston Ballet’s Academy has over a thousand students and has had four academy students win awards at the prestigious international ballet competition the Prix de Lausanne, with one student winning the overall competition in 2010. For more information on Houston Ballet visit www.houstonballet.org.

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HOUSTON BALLET

2016-2017 SEASON OVERVIEW

All performances listed here are in Wortham Theater Center.

  1. DIRECTOR’S CHOICE: AMERICAN INGENUITY featuring:

    THEME AND VARIATIONS (1947)

    Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in G major, Op. 55

    Choreography by George Balanchine (1904-1983) Costume Designs after Karinska

    Lighting Design by Tony Tucci

    OTHER DANCES (1976)

    Houston Ballet Premiere

    Music by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) Choreography by Jerome Robbins Costume Design by Santo Loquasto Lighting Design by Jennifer Tipton

    ARTIFACT SUITE (2004)

    Houston Ballet Premiere

    Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Eva Crossman-Hecht Choreography by William Forsythe

    Costume and Lighting Design by William Forsythe

    Houston Ballet launches its 47th season with a mixed repertory program entitled Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity, featuring George Balanchine’s tribute to Imperial Russian Ballet, Theme and Variations, and the company premieres of Jerome Robbins’ dynamic Other Dances, and William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite.

    At 7:30 pm on September 8, 10, 16, 17, 2016

    At 2:00 pm on September 11, 18, 2016

  2. MADAME BUTTERFLY (1995)

Music by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), arrangement by John Lanchbery (1923-2003) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Designs by Peter Farmer Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham

SON OF CHAMBER SYMPHONY (2012)

Houston Ballet Premiere

Music by John Adams, Son of Chamber Symphony

Choreography by Stanton Welch Costume Design by Travis Halsey

Lighting Design and Scenic Concept by Jack Mehler

A signature work for Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch since its creation in 1995, Madame Butterfly depicts the story of a beautiful Japanese geisha who gives up her faith and her family to marry an American naval lieutenant. Set to Puccini’s powerful score with exquisite costumes and sets by Peter Farmer, Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly is a stunning achievement in neoclassical ballet that has been an international success, with performances on three continents. Opening the program is Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony, a deconstruction of classical ballet set to music by John Adams.

At 7:30 pm on September 22, 24, 30, October 1, 2016

At 2:00 pm on September 25, October 1, 2, 2016

THE NUTCRACKER (World Premiere) Music by Peter I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Design by Tim Goodchild

Houston Ballet presents the highlight of the 2016-17 Season with a joyous new production of The Nutcracker by Stanton Welch. With grand sets and costumes by acclaimed British designer Tim Goodchild, a Christmas tree that touches the sky, and an expanded cast of characters, this exquisite production features everyone and everything audiences love about The Nutcracker.

November 25 – December 27, 2016

JUBILEE OF DANCE

Houston Ballet will present Jubilee of Dance, a one-night-only event showcasing the depth and range of the company in a program of premieres and high-energy excerpts from signature works and beloved classics. Tickets are also available for the Jubilee of Dance Onstage Dinner immediately following the performance where patrons have the opportunity to dine and mingle with company dancers.

At 7:00 pm on Friday, December 2, 2016

III CINDERELLA (1997)

Music by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Designs by Kristian Fredrikson (1940-2005) Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham

The story has been a favorite for generations, but make no mistake, this is not your childhood Cinderella. More tomboy than princess, Stanton Welch’s title character is a striking woman of substance, determination and spunk. She’s in control, fighting the oppression and will of her evil stepmother with wit and vigor. And when she finds true love she grabs it – and wisely holds on with both hands.

At 7:30 pm on March 2, 4, 10, 11, 2017

At 2:00 pm on March 5, 12, 2017

At 1:30 pm on March 4, 11

  1. DIRECTOR’S CHOICE: LEGENDS AND PRODIGY featuring: STEPPING STONES (1991)

    Houston Ballet Premiere

    Music by John Cage and Anton Webern Choreography by Jiří Kylián

    Scenery and lighting by Michael Simon Costume Design by Joke Visser

    GROSSE FUGE (1971)

    Music by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

    Grosse Fuge, Op. 133; Cavatina, Op. 130 Choreography and costume design by Hans van Manen Scenic Design by Jean-Paul Vroom

    Lighting Design by Jan Hofstra

    YEAR OF THE RABBIT (2012)

    Houston Ballet Premiere

    Music by Sufjan Stevens, Orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson

    Enjoy Your Rabbit Choreography by Justin Peck Costume Design by Justin Peck

    Lighting Design by Brandon Stirling Baker

    Houston Ballet offers up a mixed repertory program Director’s Choice: Legends and Prodigy, featuring three company, dancer, and audience favorites. Jiří Kylián created Stepping Stones during a visit to Australia as a reflection on man’s desire to preserve his heritage. Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge showcases Houston Ballet’s strong male lineup and proves unequivocally why he is Holland’s most famous choreographer. Justin Peck joins Houston Ballet’s repertoire with Year of the Rabbit, a ballet that showcases the corps de ballet.

    At 7:30 pm on March 16, 18, 24, 25, 2017

    At 2:00 pm on March 19, 26, 2017

  2. THE TEMPEST (2015)

    American Premiere

    Music by Sally Beamish Choreography by David Bintley

    Costume and Scenic Design by Rae Smith

    At 7:30 pm on May 25, 27, June 2 & 3, 2017

    At 2:00 pm on May 28, June 4, 2017

  3. LA BAYADÈRE (2010)

(“The Temple Dancer”)

Music by Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917) La Bayadère, Arranged by John Lanchbery (1923-2003) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Designs by Peter Farmer

Lighting Design by Francis Croese

A brilliant fire god, opium dreams and a crashing temple. Stanton Welch’s colorful staging of La Bayadère is classical ballet with a touch of Bollywood. La Bayadère dramatizes the love story of Nikiya the temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart – at least in this life. With lavish scenery depicting the jungles of India and costumes by Peter Farmer, La Bayadère features mesmerizing classical performances highlighted by the famous Shades scene, staged for the entire corps de ballet.

At 7:30 pm on June 8, 10, 16, 17, 2017

At 2:00 pm on June 11, 17, 18, 2017

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Full season subscriptions, with tickets to six productions, range in price from $129 to $999 depending on seat location and date of performances. To subscribe, call (713) 5-BALLET (713-522-5538) or purchase online at www.houstonballet.org.

SINGLE TICKETS

Single tickets go on sale Monday, August 1, 2016 and may be purchased by calling 713 227 2787 (713- 227 2787) or purchased online at www.houstonballet.org.

 

HOUSTON BALLET

2016-2017 SEASON OVERVIEW

All performances listed here are in Wortham Theater Center.

  1. DIRECTOR’S CHOICE: AMERICAN INGENUITY featuring:

    THEME AND VARIATIONS (1947)

    Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in G major, Op. 55

    Choreography by George Balanchine (1904-1983) Costume Designs after Karinska

    Lighting Design by Tony Tucci

    OTHER DANCES (1976)

    Houston Ballet Premiere

    Music by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) Choreography by Jerome Robbins Costume Design by Santo Loquasto Lighting Design by Jennifer Tipton

    ARTIFACT SUITE (2004)

    Houston Ballet Premiere

    Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Eva Crossman-Hecht Choreography by William Forsythe

    Costume and Lighting Design by William Forsythe

    Houston Ballet launches its 47th season with a mixed repertory program entitled Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity, featuring George Balanchine’s tribute to Imperial Russian Ballet, Theme and Variations, and the company premieres of Jerome Robbins’ dynamic Other Dances, and William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite.

    At 7:30 pm on September 8, 10, 16, 17, 2016

    At 2:00 pm on September 11, 18, 2016

  2. MADAME BUTTERFLY (1995)

Music by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), arrangement by John Lanchbery (1923-2003) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Designs by Peter Farmer Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham

SON OF CHAMBER SYMPHONY (2012)

Houston Ballet Premiere

Music by John Adams, Son of Chamber Symphony

Choreography by Stanton Welch Costume Design by Travis Halsey

Lighting Design and Scenic Concept by Jack Mehler

A signature work for Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch since its creation in 1995, Madame Butterfly depicts the story of a beautiful Japanese geisha who gives up her faith and her family to marry an American naval lieutenant. Set to Puccini’s powerful score with exquisite costumes and sets by Peter Farmer, Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly is a stunning achievement in neoclassical ballet that has been an international success, with performances on three continents. Opening the program is Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony, a deconstruction of classical ballet set to music by John Adams.

At 7:30 pm on September 22, 24, 30, October 1, 2016

At 2:00 pm on September 25, October 1, 2, 2016

THE NUTCRACKER (World Premiere) Music by Peter I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Design by Tim Goodchild

Houston Ballet presents the highlight of the 2016-17 Season with a joyous new production of The Nutcracker by Stanton Welch. With grand sets and costumes by acclaimed British designer Tim Goodchild, a Christmas tree that touches the sky, and an expanded cast of characters, this exquisite production features everyone and everything audiences love about The Nutcracker.

November 25 – December 27, 2016

JUBILEE OF DANCE

Houston Ballet will present Jubilee of Dance, a one-night-only event showcasing the depth and range of the company in a program of premieres and high-energy excerpts from signature works and beloved classics. Tickets are also available for the Jubilee of Dance Onstage Dinner immediately following the performance where patrons have the opportunity to dine and mingle with company dancers.

At 7:00 pm on Friday, December 2, 2016

III CINDERELLA (1997)

Music by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Designs by Kristian Fredrikson (1940-2005) Lighting Design by Lisa J. Pinkham

The story has been a favorite for generations, but make no mistake, this is not your childhood Cinderella. More tomboy than princess, Stanton Welch’s title character is a striking woman of substance, determination and spunk. She’s in control, fighting the oppression and will of her evil stepmother with wit and vigor. And when she finds true love she grabs it – and wisely holds on with both hands.

At 7:30 pm on March 2, 4, 10, 11, 2017

At 2:00 pm on March 5, 12, 2017

At 1:30 pm on March 4, 11

IV DIRECTOR’S CHOICE: LEGENDS AND PRODIGY featuring: STEPPING STONES (1991)

Houston Ballet Premiere

Music by John Cage and Anton Webern Choreography by Jiří Kylián

Scenery and lighting by Michael Simon Costume Design by Joke Visser

GROSSE FUGE (1971)

Music by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Grosse Fuge, Op. 133; Cavatina, Op. 130 Choreography and costume design by Hans van Manen Scenic Design by Jean-Paul Vroom

Lighting Design by Jan Hofstra

YEAR OF THE RABBIT (2012)

Houston Ballet Premiere

Music by Sufjan Stevens, Orchestration by Michael P. Atkinson

Enjoy Your Rabbit Choreography by Justin Peck Costume Design by Justin Peck

Lighting Design by Brandon Stirling Baker

Houston Ballet offers up a mixed repertory program Director’s Choice: Legends and Prodigy, featuring three company, dancer, and audience favorites. Jiří Kylián created Stepping Stones during a visit to Australia as a reflection on man’s desire to preserve his heritage. Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge showcases Houston Ballet’s strong male lineup and proves unequivocally why he is Holland’s most famous choreographer. Justin Peck joins Houston Ballet’s repertoire with Year of the Rabbit, a ballet that showcases the corps de ballet.

At 7:30 pm on March 16, 18, 24, 25, 2017

At 2:00 pm on March 19, 26, 2017 V THE TEMPEST (2015)

American Premiere

Music by Sally Beamish Choreography by David Bintley

Costume and Scenic Design by Rae Smith

At 7:30 pm on May 25, 27, June 2 & 3, 2017

At 2:00 pm on May 28, June 4, 2017

VI LA BAYADÈRE (2010)

(“The Temple Dancer”)

Music by Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917) La Bayadère, Arranged by John Lanchbery (1923-2003) Choreography by Stanton Welch

Scenic and Costume Designs by Peter Farmer Lighting Design by Francis Croese

A brilliant fire god, opium dreams and a crashing temple. Stanton Welch’s colorful staging of La Bayadère is classical ballet with a touch of Bollywood. La Bayadère dramatizes the love story of Nikiya the temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart – at least in this life. With lavish scenery depicting the jungles of India and costumes by Peter Farmer, La Bayadère features mesmerizing classical performances highlighted by the famous Shades scene, staged for the entire corps de ballet.

At 7:30 pm on June 8, 10, 16, 17, 2017

At 2:00 pm on June 11, 17, 18, 2017

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Full season subscriptions, with tickets to six productions, range in price from $129 to $999 depending on seat location and date of performances. To subscribe, call (713) 5-BALLET (713-522-5538) or purchase online at www.houstonballet.org.

SINGLE TICKETS

Single tickets go on sale Monday, August 1, 2016 and may be purchased by calling 713 227 2787 (713- 227 2787) or purchased online at www.houstonballet.org.

# # #

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