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Press Acclaim

HOUSTON BALLET
PRESS ACCLAIM

"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.” –- Margaret Willis, The Dancing Times of London

 "The dancers are strong and committed, and there is s real sense of community in the company. Directed by Australian choreographer Stanton Welch, the company forms an integral part of local society and culture, and the city can be justly proud of this jewel at its heart....There is some beautiful pas de deux work in Edwaard Liang’s Murmurations that would not disgrace a MacMillan ballet, and the dancers rise superbly to the opportunity to show muscular, athletic work in a fluid, lyrical style...The dancing by the men in this piece was of a particularly high standard.”  --Amanda Jennings, Dance Europe

"Three talented choreographers. Three brilliant musical scores. Three stunningly different artistic challenges for one great company. These make Houston Ballet’s latest program, Women@Art, an infinite success....Angular Momentum is a gem for Houston Ballet and a deeply experimental piece that furthers the contemporary ballet repertory. Other companies will want to perform it. With 27 dancers, it not only makes an enormous impact, but also exploits the many attributes of the ensemble.  “ -- Tedd Bale, Culturemap

“The company rose to the occasion (of dancing Twyla Tharp’s Brahms-Haydn Variations for the first time) magnificently.  Amy Fote, sadly retiring at the end of the season, together with Simon Ball, was outstanding, and the partnership of Karina Gonzalez and Connor Walsh introduced a frisson to the mix....The work is a treasure in any company’s repertoire.” -- Maggie Foyer, Dance Europe

"Houston Ballet thrives with Stanton Welch's vision." --Dance Magazine

“From there it was on to an almost giddy firestorm of bravura technique in William Forsythe's aptly titled ballet, "The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude," a fiendishly difficult work brilliantly performed by members of the Houston Ballet. The ballet's title says it all, as three women in hooplike tutus of chartreuse (Jaquel Andrews, Melody Herrera and Sara Webb) and two men (Connor Walsh and Joseph Walsh) -- shooting stars, all -- moved through choreography of exceptional difficulty and quirkiness at unimaginable speed. The five giddiness-inducing dancers were not just models of perfection, but met every challenge with that sense of sheer fun that comes wit h sublime skill and buoyant confidence.” --Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times

"....one of the nation's best ballet companies." --Sam Howe Verhovek, The New York Times

“In its debut performances this week at the Joyce Theater, Houston Ballet – under the artistic direction of Australian-born Stanton Welch – impressed even the notoriously reticent New York opening night audience with pristine technique, immaculate precision, and lightning speed that rival any other ballet company in America……These sublime dancers attack every move with such reassuring power and conviction that you’re never in doubt they’ll triumph.”
--Gus Solomons Jr, Chelsea Now

“The Texas troupe's brilliant, evening-length evocation of the life of French queen Marie Antoinette had a natural audience -- which is to say, one didn't needn't know much about dance steps or classical music to see that this ballet is an astounding work of theater….One of the best group scenes came in the second act, with a fabulous, frivolous banquet that descended into a drunken food fight, but not before the dancers unleashed a series of virtuosic displays -- and revealed the astounding depth of talent in the nation's fourth largest ballet company. “ --Mark Lorando, The New Orleans Times-Picayune

"....a strong, reinvigorated company whose male contingent is particularly impressive, a well-drilled corps and an enviable selection of soloists and principals."  --Hilary Ostlere, The Financial Times, London

".....one of the largest, most successful arts organizations in America....one of America's most vibrant ballet companies." --Allen Robertson, The Times, London

"Houston Ballet had the grand-finale spot and made the most of it.  Performing a throbbing modern score by Michael Torke, choreographer and artistic director Stanton Welch began with a striking set of dark geometric shapes and inventive lighting....The driving rhythms, sheer force of the dancers' athletic prowess and go-for-broke actions of his remarkable corps of male dancers (Where did he get them all?) built to a cumulative climax, a latter-day ‘Bolero.'" --Jean Battey Lewis, The Washington Times

"One of the first things that hits you about this company is the technical strengths not just of the principals, but throughout the ranks. Watching artistic director Stanton Welch take class on a Sunday morning before a matinee, one could not help but marvel at the multiple turns tossed off by the young women in the corps....The three new works shown in this program will be followed by no fewer than four more Houston premieres.  Can any other major ballet company in the world match that?  I wonder..." --Emma Manning, Dance Europe

"Other ballet companies just perform for you.   Houston Ballet wants to take you out on a date and then make out with you in the back of the car.  The company, which performed a triple bill at the National Arts Centre last night, is seductive, passionate, shamelessly flirtatious, and sexy as hell....The men are particularly dazzling, they all seem to be able to whip out five or six pirouettes on a dime." --Natasha Gauthier, The Ottawa Citizen

"Houston has become one of the biggest success stories of American ballet - a company that used its generous oil dollar sponsorship to maintain a huge and unusually popular repertory of works" --The Guardian, London

"Stanton Welch's version of Swan Lake is not only more dramatically interesting than most, it is also a beautiful, contemporary version that should fly high for years, giving Houston Ballet a new full-length classic with which to dazzle audiences." -- Marene Gustin, Dance International

"It (performance of Stanton Welch's Velocity at The Kennedy Center) was a show of strength for the Houston dancers, particularly for the men, to whom Welch gave some sharp, snappy sequences (and it was nice to see true choreography for men, rather than a string of jumps and turns)." --Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

"By providing so many solo roles (even the national dances in the ballroom scene have become solos for the princesses auditioning for the prince's hand), Stanton Welch has produced a version (of Swan Lake) reflective of the wealth of talent embraced by the 52 dancers of today's Houston Ballet....with productions such as the new Swan Lake to offer, it is a company the wider world deserves to see."--William Littler, The Toronto Star

"Artistic director Stanton Welch's new Swan Lake, with spectacular costumes and sets by the late Kristian Fredrikson is a fresh read on a classic story....   this is an emotionally rich, visually stunning, uplifting production." -- Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine

"The stellar ensemble of Houston Ballet - America's fourth largest ballet company - concluded the evening with the intrepid Velocity (2003), a tour de force created by Stanton Welch as a sequel to his earlier work Divergence.  The pace of this piece is conveyed by its title. Danced to a selection of vibrant minimalistic compositions of American composer Michael Torke, Velocity sets the cast in perpetual motion with an exhilarating speed. Here, the choreographer makes the classical ballet steps look not only ultra modern but also highly athletic.

"Welch, the 38-year-old Australian choreographer who became artistic director of Houston Ballet in 2003, compares Velocity with "a butterfly mating ritual, in which only the strongest that can fly highest will mate." His rigorous choreography pushes the dancers to the limits and commands the true virtuosic performers. --Oksana Khadarina, www.ballet.co.uk

"Houston Ballet in Christopher Bruce's Ghost Dances is stunning.  And Bruce's choreography is brilliant.  It's rare to see the combination of innovative and challenging choreography with technically and emotionally mature dancers.  Houston Ballet has the dancers, and Bruce should be a household word.  The 30-minute ballet...restored my faith in the power of dance." -- Kathryn Greenway, The Gazette, Montreal

"First and foremost among its assets is the company's high caliber of dancing.  Vitality, clarity and speed seem so prodigiously distributed among the dancers that it is difficult to pick favorites." -- George Jackson, The Washington Post