Tu Tu, created by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch, received its Houston Ballet premiere on February 22, 2007 at Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas. Set to Maurice Ravel's Concerto for Piano in G major, the dancers were outfitted in brilliantly colored tutus and briefs. Created for San Francisco Ballet in 2003, Tu Tu was Mr. Welch's third work for that company. At its premiere, Octavio Roca of the San Francisco Chronicle enthused, "Stanton Welch's very musical Tu Tu also is very funny...It is a strikingly original work." (May 3, 2003)
The lively and colorful ballet is a large ensemble work in three movements featuring 22 dancers. A humorous and sexy romp, Tu Tu is full of life with cheeky, athletic partnering that showcases the superb classical technique of Houston Ballet's artists. "This is a playful, humorous look at classical ballet," explained Mr. Welch. "Tu Tu is tart and very tongue-in-cheek."
Designed by Holly Hynes, the stunning costumes were inspired by Gustav Klimt's gold-hued paintings. Austrian-born Klimt (1862-1918) was a well-known Art Nouveau painter who became famous for his sensual depictions of women. The tutus and briefs worn by the dancers feature a dazzling array of colors: gold, turquoise, red and orange. Bare midriffs and striped retro-fashioned shorts ramp up the sex appeal.
"Tu Tu is based on paintings by Klimt. I tried to capture the luscious feeling of Klimt's work in the costume design and choreography," commented Mr. Welch.
Music by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Piano concerto in G Major
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Costume Designs by Holly Hynes
Lighting by Lisa Pinkham
Houston Ballet Premiere on February 22, 2007, by Houston Ballet in the Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center in Houston, Texas.
Dancers: Sara Webb and Connor Walsh
Dancers: Barbara Bears, Mireille Hassenboehler and Sara Webb
Dancers: Mireille Hassenboehler
All Photos: Drew Donovan