La Bayadère ("The Temple Dancer"), newly staged by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, was unveiled by Houston Ballet on February 25, 2010 at Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas.
Set in royal India of the past, La Bayadère is a dramatic ballet of eternal love, mystery, fate, vengeance and justice intertwined to tell the story of Nikiya, a temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart, at least in this life.
"We wanted a grand classical ballet as the centerpiece for the 40th anniversary season, and this will be a big Bollywood-like production. It's a colorful story that's sexy,provocative and very dramatic," commented Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch.
The choreography for La Bayadère's famous Kingdom of the Shades section remains intact in Mr. Welch's staging as the third act of the production. This world-renowned part of La Bayadère 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.
English designer Peter Farmer created the scenery and costumes for the production. The costume designs focus on brightly colored traditional Indian attire, such as harem pants and saris, for the first and second acts. Houston Ballet Music Director Ermanno Florio and the late music librarian Robert Bridges tailored the score by Ludwig Minkus for Mr. Welch's production.
Music by Ludwig Minkus La Bayadère, as arranged by John Lanchbery
Choreography by Stanton Welch, after Marius Petipa
Scenic and Costume Design by Peter Farmer
Design Assistant to Peter Farmer: Diane Page
Lighting Design by Francis Croese
World Premiere on February 25, 2010, by Houston Ballet in the Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas.
Houston Ballet's The Kingdom of the Shades scene from La Bayadère Premiere: on March 10, 1994 by Houston Ballet in the Brown Theater at Wortham Center in Houston, Texas.
Dancer: Mireille Hassenboehler
Dancers: Amy Fote, Barbara Bears and Mireille Hassenboehler
Dancers: Melody Herrera and Connor Walsh
All photos: Pam Francis