Ben Stevenson OBE
Ben Stevenson served as artistic director of Houston Ballet from 1976 to 2003, raising the company from a regional troupe of twenty-eight dancers to an internationally acclaimed ensemble of over fifty artists. During his tenure, he developed Houston Ballet’s repertory by acquiring the works of the world’s most respected choreographers, commissioning new works, staging the classics and choreographing original works. For his contributions to international dance, Mr. Stevenson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors List in December 1999. In April 2000, he was presented with the Dance Magazine Award. In July 2003, he was appointed artistic director emeritus of Houston Ballet, and the company's affiliated school was renamed Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy in recognition of his enormous contribution to both Houston Ballet's professional company and its school. In his position as artistic director emeritus, he continues to stage his works for Houston Ballet and for other companies nationally and internationally. Mr. Stevenson, a native of Portsmouth, England, received his dance training at the Arts Educational School in London. Upon his graduation, he was awarded the prestigious Adeline Genée Gold Medal, the highest award given to a dancer by the Royal Academy of Dancing. He performed with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and English National Ballet where, as a principal dancer, he performed leading roles in all the classics. In 1968, Rebekah Harkness invited him to New York to direct the newly formed Harkness Youth Dancers. After choreographing Cinderella in 1970 for the National Ballet in Washington, D.C., he joined the company in 1971 as co-director with Frederic Franklin. In 1976, Mr. Stevenson was appointed artistic director of Houston Ballet. Over the next twenty-seven years, he choreographed for Houston Ballet distinguished versions of the full length works Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Don Quixote, and original productions of Peer Gynt, Dracula, The Snow Maiden, and Cleopatra. In July 2003, Mr. Stevenson assumed the artistic directorship of Texas Ballet Theater in Fort Worth, Texas where he continues to serve as Artistic Director with Associate Artistic Directors Tim O'Keefe and Lin Anlin.