Houston, TX – April 30-May 9, 2015, Houston Ballet returns to Canada to perform Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s acclaimed staging of La Bayadère (“The Temple Dancer”). This dramatic ballet, set in royal India, tells the story of the forbidden love between temple dancer, Nikiya, and her lover, Solor. Featuring a tale of eternal love, mystery, fate, vengeance and justice, along with spectacular scenery and costumes by the acclaimed English designer Peter Farmer, it is a ballet not to be missed. Houston Ballet will be in Calgary April 30-May 2 at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium and in Edmonton May 8-9, 2015 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. For more information and tickets, visit http://albertaballet.com/.
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,” says 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.
Writing for the Houston Chronicle, dance critic Molly Glentzer praised the well-known scene saying, “My heart rushed . . . in the early moments of the famous Kingdom of the Shades scene . . . Houston Ballet’s corps, looking its best ever, danced the scene with a compelling air of otherworldly detachment on the dancers’ faces and meditative clarity in their gracefully rounded port de bras.” (February 27, 2010).
Mr. Welch choreographed La Bayadère for 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.
Houston Ballet has toured to Canada regularly over the last decade, making appearances most recently in Montreal (in April 2014 performing Stanton Welch’s Marie) and in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre (in October 2012 performing Marie.).
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 55 dancers with a budget of $24.5 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 June 2014).
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 last decade, 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, 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 33,500 Houston area students (as of the 2013-2014 season). Houston Ballet’s Academy has 950 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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WHAT: LA BAYADÈRE (2010)
(“The Temple Dancer”)
Music by Ludwig Minkus (1826-1917) La Bayadère, Arranged by
John Lanchbery (1923-2003)
Used by permission of Mario Bois and Theodore Presser, publishers.
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Scenic and Costume Designs by Peter Farmer
Lighting by Francis Croese
Houston Ballet presents Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère, a historic classic set in royal India of the past. La Bayadère is a dramatic ballet of eternal love, mystery, fate, vengeance and justice intertwined. It chronicles the love story of Nikiya, a temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart — at least in this life.
April 30-May 2, 2015 Houston Ballet at Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium,
Calgary, Alberta, Canada Calgary, AB, Canada
For additional information, visit: http://albertaballet.com/
May 8-9, 2015 Houston Ballet at Northern Alberta Jubilee
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Auditorium, Edmonton, AB, Canada
For additional information, visit: http://albertaballet.com/
For more information on La Bayadere visit: http://albertaballet.com/upcoming-performances/la-bayadere-the-temple-dancer-houston-ballet/126.html
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