James Stafford and Deborah Keyser


Indianapolis, IN

Dance Training

Dance Creations Academy
Houston Ballet Academy
Houston Ballet II

Year Joined



2023 - Soloist
2023 - Corps de Ballet

Favorite Role

Stanton Welch's Clear – it follows me – got a chance to do it in HBII as a lead, again last season (2023) at Wortham Theater Center, this past summer at Chautauqua, and then performing it in NYC at the 20th Fall For Dance Festival. Clear has been with me this whole time. Definitely a challenge now since I’m doing the whole thing. In HBII I just did the solos, I didn’t do the partnering and the pas at the end. Putting everything I learned together, it’s a challenge but I’m enjoying it a lot.

A Defining Moment

The whole [John Neumeier] A Midsummer Night's Dream run. This is the most proud of myself I’ve been.  There is so much being asked of me and there’s not a lot of time to get it all in. You really have to focus as much as possible. Stay calm and focus in. If I can see it in my head then I know I can communicate it. 


Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Eric Best began dancing around three years old. His older brother was into musical theater and he would stand outside a dance studio trying to copy movements outside, when one day the instructor invited him in and he was in it from there. As a pre-teen he really began to gravitate towards ballet. Encouraged to explore summer intensive programs, Best attended NYC Ellison Ballet, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and Houston Ballet Academy before joining Houston Ballet II in 2021.  That year he attended Jacob's Pillow where a Zoom meeting with Stanton Welch turned into his first promotion into the Company. 


Naazir Muhammad

Aaron Daniel Sharratt