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HOUSTON, TX - Houston Ballet has been recognized during 2011 by the American Marketing Association's Houston Chapter as the top Houston marketer in two categories: Arts: Performing and Retail and Consumer Products/Services for Houston Ballet's Nutcracker Market. The Marketer of the Year 2011 Best of Category winners were determined by a vote of AMA Houston members combined with votes from a distinguished panel of local marketing practitioners and educators.  Over 150 companies, organizations and institutions were nominated.  Houston Ballet is America's fourth largest ballet company, and has been hailed by The New York Times as "one of the nation's best ballet companies."

As winner in two categories, Houston Ballet will compete against 33 other category winners in AMA Houston's 2011 Marketer of the Year program. A panel of marketing leaders from outside the Houston area will review information submitted by category winners to select Houston's 2011 Marketer of the Year. The Best of Category winners will be honored at the Marketer of the Year event on March 12, 2012 at the Alley Theatre during which the 2011 Marketer of the Year will be revealed.

"We are honored to be recognized by the American Marketing Association for the company's marketing efforts," commented Houston Ballet Executive Director James Nelson. "In 2011, Houston Ballet experienced our highest sales ever in the company's 39 year history of performing The Nutcracker, with almost 73,000 audience members sharing the magic of this holiday tradition. Thanks to the generous support of shoppers from Houston and across the nation, total attendance at the Nutcracker Market in November 2011 was up 15.2%, attracting 107,753 shoppers. With the opening of our beautiful new Center for Dance in April 2011, we have entered a golden period in Houston Ballet's history. We are grateful for the recognition by AMA, and for the passionate support of the Houston community, which makes all this possible."

This year's Marketer of the Year keynote speaker is Jim Compton, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for United who will speak on Marketing the World's Largest Airline. Compton is responsible for overseeing United's domestic and international sales, corporate development and alliances, marketing, reservations, network pricing and revenue management, scheduling and distribution. Previously, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Continental Airlines. Compton had a major role in the 2010 merger of United and Continental - chairing the committee charged with planning the consolidation of all systems, policies and programs. The 2010 Marketer of the Year, the University of Houston Athletic Department - UH Cougars, will be on hand to announce this year's winner. Prior winners include Blinds.com (2009), Kelsey-Seybold Clinic (2008), the Houston Zoo (2007), Weatherford International (2006) and the Houston Symphony (2005).  

For more information about AMA Houston's Marketer of the Year, visit www.amahouston.org (Events/Marketer of the Year). For more information about Houston Ballet, visit www.houstonballet.org.

About AMA

AMA Houston is the area's premier professional marketing organization and the nation's second largest chapter. AMA Houston provides marketers the ability to remain competitive in today's business environment through networking events, special interest groups and real-world educational programs. Named Chapter of the Year five times in the last eight years by AMA's international headquarters, AMA Houston serves 1,000 members with diverse marketing expertise from a variety of industries.

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 52 dancers with a budget of $19.2 million (making it the United States' fourth 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 $57.6 million (as of May 2011).

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 and Nicolo Fonte. The administrative leader of the company is executive director James Nelson. 

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, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center, 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 The Financial Times on March 6, 2006, dance critic Hilary Ostlere praised Houston Ballet as "a strong, reinvigorated company whose male contingent is particularly impressive, a well-drilled corps and an enviable selection of soloists and principals."

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 over 22,000 Houston area students (as of the 2010-2011 season). Houston Ballet's Academy has 419 students and has had four academy students win prizes 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.