Sept 2016



CONTACT: Christian Brown


Houston Ballet launches a redesigned website following the September opening of its 47th season. The new Houston Ballet website is the latest step to help redefine Houston Ballet’s official brand. The online site shares the same domain as the previous site but has an entirely different look and feel, highlighting the company’s current brand identity and offering twenty-first century features that are visually engaging and user-friendly.

“We’re pleased to present the fully redesigned which will now act as a world-class, innovative, customer-centric online experience that serves all facets of Houston Ballet,” said Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Christian Brown.

Houston Ballet’s official website was first introduced at the start of 2000 and has since undergone several slight visual modifications. This redesign marks the first all-encompassing transformation to the site. The main motivation for redesigning the website occurred as a response to the new logo which was introduced in 2015 in collaboration with international design firm, Pentagram. As of 2015, over 80% of Houston Ballet’s ticket sales have come from, as well as a large percentage of Academy enrollment and donations to the company.

The new immersive online audience experience begins at the homepage. On the redesigned website a full-screen video on a silenced loop will be the first feature to greet visitors. The reformatted navigation bar at the top of the website now focuses on four user-friendly main options: Season & Tickets, Plan Your Visit, About, Explore. And keeping twenty-first century viewing methods in mind, the Houston Ballet website is now designed to automatically collapse and expand to fit the screen dimensions of various tablets, cell phones, and computer screens, eliminating the need for individual applications suited to each device.

Along with several departmental staff members at Houston Ballet, Adage Technologies has been an integral part in the process of redesigning Houston Ballet’s website. This Chicago-based software company, founded in 2001 by current Adage President Roy Chomko, specializes in helping organizations customize and streamline their online sites. 

“It has been a pleasure working with the Houston Ballet team to bring the vision for a new immersive, informative, and inviting website to life,” writes a representative of Adage. “We’re excited for supporters and site visitors to interact with the organization on this new platform that showcases the world-class art that Houston Ballet brings to its community.”

About Adage Technologies

Adage Technologies was founded in 2001 in Chicago as a web and custom software company, the second development company founded by its President, Roy Chomko. In the years since their founding, they’ve shifted to focus exclusively on web design and development. As their creative team has grown, however, they’ve maintained the commitment to quality technical development that has always been central to their roots as a software company. Over their 15 years in business, they’ve outlined a powerful five step process for their website design and development. In 2005, they began building websites using the Ektron content management system, which they used as their primary platform until becoming one of the first North American Episerver Partners in 2009. Since then, Episerver has powered some of their most celebrated ecommerce websites, including the 2015 Episerver B2C Site of the Year for the Metropolitan Opera. Around the same time, they began work on their revolutionary Tessitura integration solution, ACE Platform, which would lead them to becoming the leading American Tessitura integration partner. Through their work with leading associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, they’ve also become a trusted partner for a number of association management systems, including Abila netFORUM. Today, they continue to grow as they remain committed to helping their client solve unique ecommerce challenges. They’ve been identified as a Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Company three of the last four years and they continue to expand their resources, including adding their first satellite office in Birmingham, Alabama in 2016. For more information on Adage Technologies visit

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Sept 2016



CONTACT: Christian Brown


From September 22 - October 2, Houston Ballet will revive artistic director Stanton Welch AM’s signature work Madame Butterfly in a program with his one-act ballet Son of Chamber Symphony. Set to Puccini’s memorable score, in an arrangement by John Lanchbery, Madame Butterfly chronicles the love story of the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San who is betrothed to marry the handsome American, Lieutenant Pinkerton.  The production unfolds dramatically on Peter Farmer’s picturesque sets, which beautifully evoke the mystery and languor of 19th century Japan. Opening the program is the company premiere of Mr. Welch’s Son of Chamber Symphony, set to music by John Adams. Houston Ballet will give seven performances of Madame Butterfly with Son of Chamber Symphony at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Tickets may be purchased by calling 713-227-2787 or by visiting

Houston Ballet’s Son of Chamber Symphony and Madame Butterflyprogram is generously sponsored by: The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

International Acclaim for Madame Butterfly

Premiered by The Australian Ballet in 1995, Madame Butterfly was Mr. Welch’s first full-length ballet.  The two-act work tells the story of the beautiful geisha Cio-Cio San who renounces her faith and her family to wed Lieutenant Pinkerton, the U.S. Naval officer who is betrothed to another woman back in the States.  The centerpiece of the work is a ravishing wedding night pas de deux between Pinkerton and Cio-Cio San, which closes the first act.

Since its premiere, Madame Butterfly has become Mr. Welch’s international signature piece, having entered the repertoires of Houston Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Dance critic Maggie Tonkin of Dance Australia wrote, “This is a rare gem in the ballet repertoire, in which poetic design vividly frames tragic realism” (March 2011).

Madame Butterfly was the first full-length ballet I created for Australia Ballet in 1995,” says Mr. Welch. “The tale of Cio-Cio San takes the audience through her emotional journey. She portrays the dizzying glory of being in love, settles in to wait, displaying her loyalty and devotion to Pinkerton for years, only to be cruelly betrayed at the end. It’s a stunning tale that is highlighted by the gorgeous score arranged by John Lanchbery and designs by Peter Farmer.”

Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times praised Mr. Welch’s production of Madame Butterfly testifying, “His virtue is to match emotion in choreography with corresponding opera passages in the ingenious ballet score. . .” (October 19, 1999).

Son of Chamber
Reinterprets Classical Ballet Movements  

Originally created for The Joffrey Ballet, Son of Chamber Symphony had its premiere at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2012. The inspiration for the three-movement ballet came to Mr. Welch as he searched for music and came across John Adam’s Son of Chamber Symphony. The way Mr. Adams deconstructed the music reminded Mr. Welch of the inner workings of a clock. Using Adams’s Son of Chamber Symphony Welch was able to choreograph movements in both expected and unexpected ways by taking traditional classical ballet movements and interpreting them into something new.

On creating the piece Mr. Welch said, “so much of ballet is about hiding the difficulties and seeking to attain seamless movement. Here I want to show the seams.”

This theme is continued within the costume designs by Travis Halsey. The costumes are literally turned inside out and show all the inner construction and understructure that makes up a garment. In particular, the women wear tutus that, at first glance, appear traditional but in actuality are striking, stylized versions that suggest they have been flipped upside down. 

Sid Smith from the Chicago Tribune enthused, “. . . this intelligent three-part piece is a steely but imaginative take on John Adams' score . . . Welch works tirelessly to meet it head on with inventive, exotic ballet and a darkish, driven world” (February 14, 2013).

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Sept 2016



CONTACT: Christian Brown


From October 21 - 23, Houston Ballet will travel to Los Angeles, CA to take part in Celebrate Forsythe, a program with a never-before-seen approach that salutes three works from distinguished American choreographer William Forsythe. Houston Ballet was personally selected by Forsythe to perform Artifact Suite at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

"Having William Forsythe personally select Houston Ballet to represent his work at The Music Center is an extraordinary honor,” said Houston Ballet Executive Director, Jim Nelson. “Over the past decade we have steadily increased the number of Forsythe ballets in our repertoire, and the opportunity to perform his Artifact Suite in Los Angeles is an exceptional opportunity to showcase our gifted dancers.”

Houston Ballet will perform alongside San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, rounding out a program of three American companies, each hand-picked by Forsythe himself to pay homage to his unique style with confidence. Included in Celebrate Forsythe San Francisco Ballet is set to perform Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016 and Pacific Northwest Ballet will be making their Music Center debut performing The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude.

The company premiere of Artifact Suite recently occurred in September in Houston with rave reviews from Houston Press, Houston Chronicle, and Broadway World. As the third Forsythe piece added to Houston Ballet’s diverse repertoire, the visit to Los Angeles adds exciting momentum to a growing relationship with Mr. Forsythe’s iconic works.

Intended for 35 dancers, Artifact Suite is an abstraction from his evening-length four-act ballet, Artifact, created in 1984 for Ballett Frankfurt. Here Mr. Forsythe shortens the ballet into a stunning once-act piece that preserves all of the original ballet’s striking innovation and power. In Artifact Suite Houston Ballet’s company of 59 dancers extend and break the rules of classical ballet.

Active in the dance field for more than 45 years, and one of the most prolific and influential choreographers of this era, Forsythe has been recognized for revolutionizing the practice of ballet from its traditional association with classical repertoire to a dynamic 21st century art form. Many consider him the greatest innovator in ballet since George Balanchine. Forsythe’s ballets have entered the repertoires of the world’s leading companies, including the New York City Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet of London, the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Royal Swedish Ballet. In March 2003, he received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award for his contribution to the field of dance. Forsythe is currently a Professor of Dance and Artistic Advisory for the Choreographic Institute at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

In addition to Celebrate Forsythe, October’s month-long presentation Fall for Forsythe includes a variety of events that will begin with a two-part exhibition, Focus Forysthe: The Choreographer’s Process on September 29, co-presented by USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and USC Visions and Voices. From October 1-23 The Music Center campus will showcase Forsythe Designed: A Costume Exhibition, a curated exhibit of costumes from Forsythe’s work. Fall for Forsythe continues with a free discussion with Forsythe collaborator, Norah Zuniga Shaw, titled Futures in Motion on October 14 and Site-Specific Forsythe on October 15-16 with two site-specific interactive experiences by Forsythe, Stellenstellen (2016) and Acquisition, presented by LACMA and performed by USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance students.

About The Music Center

The Music Center is Los Angeles’ home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events.  With four iconic theaters and four renowned resident companies – LA Phil, LA Opera, Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles Master Chorale – and recognized for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, The Music Center is a destination where audiences find inspiration in the very best of live performance, as well as nationally recognized arts education and participatory arts experiences.  The Music Center also programs and manages Grand Park, a 12-acre adjacent greenspace, with year-round free programming.  For more information, visit and follow The Music Center on Facebook and Twitter (@MusicCenterLA).

About Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center

Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center is one of the leading presenters of dance on the West Coast. The celebrated series offers significant works by prestigious ballet and contemporary dance artists from around the world. Entering its second decade, Dance at The Music Center continues to be a powerful commissioning force through the support of new works and artists-in-residence projects by today’s most influential companies and choreographers. Performances take place throughout The Music Center, including the historic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the distinctive Ahmanson Theatre, and the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, providing the ideal setting for inspiring dance experiences.


SEPT 2016



CONTACT: Christian Brown


Company Revives George Balanchine’s Theme And Variations

Houston Ballet Premieres of Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances AndWilliam Forsythe’s Artifact Suite

Houston, TX – From September 8 - 18, 2016, Houston Ballet launches its 47th season with a mixed repertory program entitled Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity featuring George Balanchine’s tribute to Imperial Russian Ballet, Theme and Variations, and the company premieres of Jerome Robbins’ dynamic Other Dances, and William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite.    

Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM notes, “I am excited for Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity because all three works are stunning examples of American choreography.  Balanchine is one of the fathers of American ballet; it's fitting that he would appear on this program. He created a new approach to ballet with his insistence on light, speedy footwork that challenged dancers to move in new and unexpected ways. All the while, he never lost sight of the beauty of classical ballet. Theme and Variations is his tribute to the grand classicism of Petipa and the tradition of grand ballet in Imperial Russia.

“Jerome Robbins was one of the true masters of dance.  He had a unique and subtle sense of choreography which is lovely, and Other Dances, which is a new work of his to enter the company’s repertoire, shows his beautiful interpretation of Chopin’s music. William Forsythe is a world renowned choreographer and an important part of the dance scene in this country. Artifact Suite is a powerful piece that shows how he is constantly redefining the boundaries of contemporary dance and is an exciting addition to our repertoire,” remarked Mr. Welch.

Houston Ballet’s Director’s Choice: American Ingenuity program is generously sponsored by: Green Bank.

Majestic Return to Balanchine’s Theme and Variations

George Balanchine created Theme and Variations as the grandest tribute to his alma mater, the Imperial Russian Ballet, which Houston Ballet last performed in 2012.  Balanchine originally created the work for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancers Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch, and it premiered on November 26, 1947 at the City Center in New York City.

Set to the music of Tchaikovsky’s Suite No. 3, in G, Theme and Variations explores classic ballet training, focusing on preparatory movements that were developed to train and warm-up the dancer's body. Taking these steps further, Balanchine produced some very challenging choreography. 

Themes and Variations was intended, as Balanchine wrote, “to evoke that great period in classical dancing when Russian ballet flourished with the aid of Tchaikovsky’s music.”  The final movement of the composer's third orchestral suite consists of 12 variations. The ballet opens to reveal a corps of 12 women and a principal couple. As the ballet moves from variation to variation, the solo performances of the ballerina and her cavalier are interspersed among the corps performances.

Dance critic David Clarke from BroadwayWorld, praised Houston Ballet’s performance of Theme and Variations by writing, “A fantastic reminder of how perfectly poised and regally elegant ballet can be. . . The piece is nothing short of graceful and courtly, majestic and refined” (May 25, 2012).

Although Balanchine once said, “I am more American than Russian,” he still turned to the music of the great Russian composers, notably Stravinksy and Tchaikovsky, for his ballets.  “My teachers were people who knew Tchaikovsky, who talked with him….My first time on stage was in a Tchaikovsky ballet,” he stated. Theme and Variations was also choreographed with a classic Russian ballet in mind, Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty.  Balanchine has mentioned, “Thanks to The Sleeping Beauty, I fell in love with ballet. [Tchaikovsky] is like a father to me.  In everything that I did to Tchaikovsky’s music, I sensed his help.”

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Balanchine (1904-1983) is regarded as the foremost contemporary choreographer in the world of ballet. Balanchine served as ballet master and principal choreographer for New York City Ballet from 1948 until his death in 1983. Balanchine's more than 400 dance works include Serenade (1934), Concerto Barocco (1941), The Nutcracker (1954), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Vienna Waltzes (1977), and Mozartiana (1981).

Along with Theme and Variations (created in 1947, performed by Houston Ballet in 1985, 1987, 1994, 1996, 2004, and 2012), Houston Ballet has 16 works by George Balanchine in its repertory: Agon (created in 1957, performed by Houston Ballet in 1996), Apollo (created in 1928, performed by Houston Ballet in  2004 and 2010), Ballo della Regina (created in 1978, performed by Houston Ballet in 2010, 2015), Ballet Imperial (created in 1941, performed by Houston Ballet in 2013), Concerto Barocco (created in 1941, performed by Houston Ballet in 1971 and 1977), The Four Temperaments (created in 1946, performed by Houston Ballet in 1988, 1997, 2003 and 2014), Jewels (Diamonds, Rubies, and Emeralds) (created in 1967, performed by Houston Ballet in 2010), La Valse (created in 1951, performed by Houston Ballet in 1988, 1996, and 2004), Pas de Dix (created in 1955, performed by Houston Ballet in 1969 and 1970), Prodigal Son (created in 1929, performed by Houston Ballet in 1974), Raymonda Variations (created in 1961, performed by Houston Ballet in 1971), Serenade (created in 1934, performed by Houston Ballet in 1985, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2016), Symphony in C (created in 1947, performed by Houston Ballet in 1992 and 2008), Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (created in 1960, performed by Houston Ballet in 1971 and 1994), and Western Symphony (created in 1954, performed by Houston Ballet in 1986, 1990, 1994, and 2006).

Other Dances, An Iconic Robbins Ballet, Enters The Repertoire

Famed American choreographer Jerome Robbins’ Other Dances is a pas de deux created on legendary dancers Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Set to music by Frédéric Chopin, four mazurkas and one waltz, the piece was specifically crafted to display Makarova and Baryshnikov’s legendary technique and artistry. Other Dances, through its simplicity and virtuosity, pays homage to both Chopin’s Romanticism and the fluidity of classical ballet technique, while also containing playful influences of folk dance. Other Dances had its premiere in 1976 at a New York Public Library for the Performing Arts benefit.

New York-born choreographer Jerome Robbins, one of the first great American ballet masters, had a wide-ranging career in the fields of both theater and dance – as a performer and choreographer in ballet and musical theater, and as a director and choreographer in theater, movies, television and opera. In a career that spanned five decades, he won four Tony Awards, two Academy Awards, an Emmy, and countless other awards for his achievements. He joined Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre) in 1940 and choreographed his first work, Fancy Free, for that company in 1944. This was followed by Interplay (1945) and Facsimile (1946), after which he embarked on a prolific and enormously successful career as a choreographer and later as a director of Broadway musicals and plays. He was simultaneously creating ballets for New York City Ballet, which he joined in 1949 as associate director with George Balanchine. Among his outstanding works for that company were The Guests (1949), The Age of Anxiety (1951), The Cage (1951), The Pied Piper (1951), Afternoon of a Faun (1953), Dances at a Gathering (1969), The Goldberg Variations (1971) and Glass Pieces (1983). 

Houston Ballet has five other works by Jerome Robbins in its repertoire:  The Concert, Afternoon of a Faun, In the Night, Fancy Free, and West Side Story Suite.

Company Premieres Forsythe’s Contemporary Exploration, Artifact Suite

Rounding out the evening is the company premiere of William Forsythe’s dramatic Artifact Suite. Intended for 35 dancers, Artifact Suite is an edited version of an evening-length ballet Artifact created in 1984 for Ballett Frankfurt. Here Mr. Forsythe shortens the ballet into a stunning piece that preserves all of the original ballet’s striking innovation and power.

Artifact Suite is considered a major choreographic achievement that succeeds in deconstructing and reconstructing the rules of traditional ballet without denying its traditional technique. Rules are both extended and broken in this work whose powerful images perturb theatrical imagery and push the play of optical illusions to their limits.

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, dance correspondent Allan Ulrich wrote, “But Forsythe's skewed classicism, the abrupt transitions, the constantly evolving patterns for the 30-member corps and the omnipresent tension simmering under the surface suggest a vision of ballet for the 21st century” (February 26, 2011).

Raised in New York and initially trained in Florida with Nolan Dingman and Christa Long, Mr. Forsythe danced with The Joffrey Ballet and later the Stuttgart Ballet, where he was appointed resident choreographer in 1976. Over the next seven years, he created new works for the Stuttgart ensemble and ballet companies in Munich, The Hague, London, Basel, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Paris, New York, and San Francisco. In 1984, he began a 20-year tenure as director of the Ballet Frankfurt. Under his leadership, the Frankfurt Ballet was transformed from a capable regional troupe into one of Europe’s foremost dance ensembles.

Mr. Forsythe’s ballets have entered the repertoires of the world’s leading companies, including the New York City Ballet, the Paris Opera Ballet, the Royal Ballet of London, the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Royal Swedish Ballet. In March 2003, he received the prestigious Dance Magazine Award for his contribution to the field of dance.  After the closure of the Frankfurt Ballet in 2004, Mr. Forsythe established a new, more independent ensemble, The Forsythe Company in 2005. 

Houston Ballet has two other works by William Forsythe in its repertoire: The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the middle, somewhat elevated.

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August 2016

AUG 2016

HB Announces Academy Director


CONTACT: Christina Bielstein


HOUSTON, TX – Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM announces the appointment of Madeleine Onne as Director of Houston Ballet Academy. Ms. Onne will work
closely with Mr. Welch to continue the high standard of educational and artistic excellence that the Academy has established over the past 61 years. She will lead the Academy’s world renowned faculty, training over 1,000 students each year.
“I’m excited to join the Houston Ballet team as the Academy Director,” says Ms. Onne. “The positive, educational atmosphere that Stanton and his team have created makes it clear - Houston Ballet is my new home. I look forward to working alongside Stanton and the Academy staff to
advance Houston Ballet’s vision of artistic excellence in Houston and abroad.” Born in Stockholm, Ms. Onne established herself in the international dance world as Principal Dancer of the Royal Swedish Ballet (RSB) from 1984 to 2002. There she danced almost all female principal roles in the classical repertoire as well as ballets including Sir Kenneth
MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet and Manon, John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew and Onegin, John Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peer Gynt, and ballets by George Balanchine, Birgit Cullberg, Goh Choo San, Jiří Kylián, Jerome Robbins, and Antony Tudor. Ms. Onne’s distinguished list of honors include, among others, the prestigious Royal medal Litteris et Artibus and The Royal Swedish Opera’s Gold Medal of Honour in recognition of her
years as a Principal Dancer. She is also one of only five women to have received the title of “Dancer of the Swedish Royal Court” from HRH King Carl XVI Gustaf. After serving as Artistic Director of RSB for six years, Ms. Onne became Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet (HKB). Under her leadership, HKB has embarked on 12 tours to China,
Japan, Canada, and North and South America. She commissioned new ballets for the company, and she significantly expanded the company’s repertoire to include some of today’s most important choreographers such as Alexei Ratmansky, Nacho Duato, Fei Bo, Nils Christie,
Krzysztof Pastor and Christian Spuck. “I am pleased to welcome Madeleine to Houston Ballet as our Academy Director,” comments Mr. Welch. “Her extensive background as a performer and her accomplishments as a leader in the international dance world will bring an exciting new outlook to Houston Ballet Academy. As a successful artistic director for two prestigious ballet companies, I can think of no better person to continue the Academy’s high standard of educational and artistic excellence. Our students will benefit greatly under her guidance and coaching.” Additionally, Ms. Onne has served on a number of the Swedish government’s committees responsible for awarding grants to the arts. She has been invited as a jury member for numerous international ballet competitions across the globe, and founded an off-shoot company of RSB called Stockholm 59 Degrees North that has received critical acclaim ever since its debut in 1997.

About Houston Ballet Academy

Since its founding in 1955, Houston Ballet Academy has provided the highest quality ballet training. The Academy's outstanding faculty includes teachers who have performed with Houston Ballet and other prestigious companies throughout the world. The Academy also includes Houston Ballet II, the second company of Houston Ballet comprised of an array of ballet students from around the world. Houston Ballet Academy also engages over 50,000 local students per year in dance through several Education and Community Engagement programs.

For more information, visit

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May 2016

May 31, 2016

Tickets Now On Sale

CONTACT: SARAH LAM 713.535.3226
KIMBERLY CEDENO 713.535.3224


HOUSTON, TEXAS – Be one of the first to purchase the perfect present for the holidays! Tickets for the world premiere of Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker go on sale Wednesday, June 1, 2016. The highly-anticipated, opulent production by Artistic Director Stanton Welch features a slew of new characters, larger-than life scenery, and sparkling choreography. Experience the magic and drama of this beloved holiday classic with tickets starting at just $23! The Nutcracker runs November 25 through December 27 at Wortham Theater Center. To purchase tickets call 713-227-2787 or visiting


“Our new production of The Nutcracker is bigger, brighter, and more spectacular than ever,” said Christian Brown, Houston Ballet’s Director of Marketing and PR. “We had record setting sales last year and that will continue with the new production. I highly recommend that people buy their tickets for The Nutcracker as early as possible to get the best seating and pricing available.”


The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara and her magical nutcracker doll. One Christmas Eve, the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer arrives at the family’s Christmas party and presents Clara with a special gift: a wooden nutcracker. That night Clara awakens to find the room filled with giant mice. The nutcracker comes to her rescue and a fierce battle ensues as the nutcracker leads the toy soldiers against the mice and their leader, King Rat. The nutcracker overcomes King Rat, and then is transformed into a handsome prince who takes Clara on a magical journey.


Houston Ballet's production of The Nutcracker generously sponsored by United Airlines, Houston Methodist, ConocoPhillips, Bank of America, Shell Oil Company, Apache Corporation, Baker Botts L.L.P., and Macy’s.


About Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet is America’s fifth largest ballet company, an ensemble of 57 dancers with an annual budget of $28.5 million and an endowment of just over $69 million (as of September 2015).


Stanton Welch serves as artistic director of Houston Ballet. He has raised the level of the company’s classical technique and commissioned many new works from prominent dance makers. James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, assuming the position of executive director of Houston Ballet in February 2012 after serving as the company’s general manager for over a decade.


Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. The company has appeared in London at Sadler’s Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Ottawa, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, and in Paris at Théâtre des Champs Elysées.


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May 2016

Nutcracker Receives A New Look


HOUSTON, TEXAS – Houston Ballet, America’s fifth largest ballet company, unveiled the first phase of a marketing plan for Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s new production of The Nutcracker which premieres on November 25, 2016. To build upon the anticipation and excitement surrounding the upcoming production Houston Ballet’s marketing team has devised a unique three-phase brand campaign to introduce audiences to the new look and feel of the ballet.


As the company continues to build and create The Nutcracker in the coming months, the new brand campaign will show the logo for the ballet transforming and growing in three phases. For the first phase, a simple sketch of the Nutcracker, the ballet’s namesake, will appear. In the second phase the sketch will become more detailed and embellished until it appears as a fully finished illustration in the marketing campaign’s third, and final, phase. The icon illustration for The Nutcracker was created by the ballet’s designer Tim Goodchild and will appear on all marketing and advertising collateral.


“We saw an opportunity to market The Nutcracker in way that’s different and exciting,” said Christian Brown, Houston Ballet’s Director of Marketing and PR. “This campaign gives us a chance to showcase the extraordinary design work by Mr. Goodchild and build on the sense of anticipation surrounding the production. Our hope is that the Houston community will journey with us as we create the show and see the evolution of logo as a reflection of that progress.”


Mr. Goodchild is an acclaimed British designer who has designed for stage, television, and film. He is a three time Laurence Olivier Award-winner and has designed over 75 productions for London's West End theatre, and over 80 productions internationally. In 1988, he made theatre history by designing the first Anglo-Soviet production of a ballet: Swan Lake. He also designed the ballet A Simple Man for BBC2, which won the 1987 BAFTA Award. Also for BBC2, he designed the musical The Look of Love, directed by Dame Gillian Lynne, and was costume designer for the film The Little Prince. He has designed productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the New Shakespeare Company, Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, English National Opera, Sydney Opera House, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Théatre du Chátelet in Paris, amongst others.


The Nutcracker has a special place in Houston Ballet’s repertory as the first full-length work to enter Houston Ballet’s repertoire in a staging by Frederic Franklin, featuring scenery and costumes by the English designer Peter Farmer. The company gave six performances of The Nutcracker in 1972 at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, and has danced the work each December without fail. In 1976, Houston Ballet presented the production with revised choreography by the company's new artistic director Ben Stevenson. In 1987, a new production with designs by Desmond Heeley, lighting by Duane Schuler, and choreography by Mr. Stevenson was unveiled to a glowing critical response. In 2015 Houston Ballet bid farewell to Mr. Stevenson’s beloved production after 29 years and will premiere its new version of The Nutcracker by Mr. Welch in November 2016.

Houston Ballet's production of The Nutcracker generously sponsored by United Airlines, Houston Methodist, ConocoPhillips, Bank of America, Shell Oil Company, Apache Corporation, Baker Botts L.L.P., and Macy’s.


About Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet is America’s fifth largest ballet company, an ensemble of 57 dancers with an annual budget of $28.5 million and an endowment of just over $69 million (as of September 2015).


Stanton Welch serves as artistic director of Houston Ballet. He has raised the level of the company’s classical technique and commissioned many new works from prominent dance makers. James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, assuming the position of executive director of Houston Ballet in February 2012 after serving as the company’s general manager for over a decade.


Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. The company has appeared in London at Sadler’s Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Ottawa, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, and in Paris at Théâtre des Champs Elysées.


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MAY 2016

Andrew Nielsen Joins Houston Ballet


Houston, Texas - Houston Ballet is pleased to announce that Andrew Nielsen will join its artistic leadership team as Director of Production. Mr. Nielsen will oversee all technical and production management duties for Houston Ballet locally and internationally.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Andrew to Houston Ballet as our new Director of Production. A production department requires a leader with immense talent, creativity, and attention to detail. I believe that Andrew encompasses all these qualities and I look forward to working with him for many years to come,” said Houston Ballet Artistic Director, Stanton Welch AM.

Mr. Nielsen’s past work experience includes leadership roles at American Conservatory Theater, Milwaukee Ballet Company, Fox Theatre (Atlanta) and Atlanta Ballet. Throughout his career Mr. Nielsen has lead teams in the design, construction and tech process of staged productions across the country. At Houston Ballet, Mr. Nielsen will work closely with Artistic Director, Stanton Welch AM, to create and maintain the organization’s long-standing reputation of world-class productions. Joining Mr. Nielsen in Houston are his wife, Raven and two year-old son, Sterling.

“Throughout my career there have been productions, such as Stanton’s Madame Butterfly and A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, that have made a profound impact on me because of their technical precision and artistry,” said Mr. Nielsen. “For this, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Stanton again and am thrilled to join such a prestigious organization. I look forward to working with Houston Ballet to bring new and exciting productions to life.”


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