Barbara Bears, winner of the silver medal at the 1991 International Ballet Competition, was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and received her early dance training from Victoria Leigh and James Franklin. Ms. Bears joined Houston Ballet as a corps member in 1988 and that same season was selected by Sir Kenneth MacMillan to dance the lead in his ballet Gloria. Ms. Bears was promoted to a principal dancer in 1995 and after 20 years with the Houston Ballet retired in 2009. Ms. Bears’ classical repertoire included the leading roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Widow, Manon, Onegin, and Madame Butterfly. Houston Ballet’s diverse repertoire of classical, neo-classical and contemporary ballets afforded Ms. Bears the opportunity to perform works by Glen Tetley, George Balanchine, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Christopher Bruce, Jiří Kylián, Anthony Tudor, Nacho Duato, Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, William Forsythe, and Mark Morris. Ms. Bears had the honor of dancing under the directorship of both Ben Stevenson and Stanton Welch. With choreographers at the helm Ms. Bears created roles in over 30 different ballets. In 2001, Ms. Bears was honored to be featured on the cover of both Dance Magazine and Pointe Magazine. Following her retirement, Ms. Bears began teaching and has since then been coaching for Houston Ballet Academy, Houston Ballet II and Houston Ballet. In 2016, Ms. Bears joined the artistic staff of Houston Ballet as ballet master.