Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet
Houston Ballet dancers in front of Houston City Hall

The Houston Ballet, operated by the Houston Ballet Foundation, is the fourth-largest professional ballet company in the United States, based in Houston, Texas.[1] The foundation also maintains a ballet academy, the Ben Stevenson Academy, which trains more than half of the company's dancers.[2] As of 2011, the Houston Ballet's endowment at more than $55 million is considered among the largest endowments held for a dance company in the US.[1][3][4] The company, which New York City newspaper The New York Times called "one of the nation’s best ballet companies", produces over 75 performances each year and consists of 54 dancers.[5][6][1][7]



The Houston Ballet has its origins in the Houston Ballet Academy, which was established in 1955 under the leadership of Tatiana Semenova, a former dancer with the Ballets Russes.[8] In 1969, the foundation formed a professional ballet company under the direction of Nina Popova, also a former dancer with the Ballet Russes and the American Ballet Theatre.[9]

From 1976–2003, Englishman Ben Stevenson, a former dancer with Britain's Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, served as artistic director of Houston Ballet.[10] Under Stevenson's leadership, the ballet transformed "from regional to international prominence".[11]

In 1989, Kenneth MacMillan joined the company as artistic associate and worked with the company from 1989 until his death in 1992.[12] Christopher Bruce was named resident choreographer. Bruce, who currently holds the title of associate choreographer, has set nine works on the company, including four pieces created especially for Houston Ballet.[13] In March 1995, Trey McIntyre assumed the position of choreographic associate.[14] McIntyre has created seven world premieres for the company, including his first full-length production of Peter Pan.[15]

In July 1995, the Houston Ballet became the first full American ballet company invited by the Chinese government to tour the country.[10] An estimated 500 million people witnessed Houston Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet when the company's opening night performance was telecast live on Chinese television.[16]

Center for Dance

Houston Ballet Center for Dance'

In 2011, the Company moved into its new Center for Dance which had its grand opening on April 9, 2011.[17] The facility increases the number of dance studios from six to nine, and include a "black box dance laboratory" for presentations as well as rehearsals.[18] The Center more than doubles the space that Houston Ballet had at its previous location.[19] It is the largest dance facility of its kind in the United States and cost $46 million.[20][21][22]


  1. ^ a b c History
  2. ^ "Academy Overview – Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy". http://www.houstonballet.org/academy/academy_overview/. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  3. ^ "Columbia Law School : Magazine : inspiring-minds". http://www.law.columbia.edu/magazine/54667/inspiring-minds?layout=magazine.print. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  4. ^ "Endowment Snapshot: Houston Ballet – Endowments – The Chronicle of Philanthropy- Connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas". http://philanthropy.com/article/Endowment-Snapshot-Houston/127711/. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  5. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – Houston Ballet". http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3838. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  6. ^ "Dancers". Houston Ballet. http://www.houstonballet.org/Inside_Houston_Ballet/Dancers/. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Houston Ballet Knows How To Use a Vampire Wisely – New York Times". http://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/13/books/houston-ballet-knows-how-to-use-a-vampire-wisely.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  8. ^ "Tatiana Semenova Papers". http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uhsc/00023/hsc-00023.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  9. ^ Cunningham, Carl (November 8, 2009). "Houston Ballet: The Fledgling Years 1967–1976". Playbill Arts. http://www.playbillarts.com/features/article/8200.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  10. ^ a b "Information about Houston Ballet". The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/artists/?entity_id=4912&source_type=O. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  11. ^ Pasles, Chris (June 12, 2003). "Houston Ballet names director". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jun/12/news/wk-quick12.4. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  12. ^ "PlaybillArts: Features: Houston Ballet Presents Song of the Earth". http://www.playbillarts.com/features/article/8590.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  13. ^ Bremser, Martha (1999). Fifty contemporary choreographers. ISBN 9780415103633. http://books.google.com/?id=PMoJI880ifEC&pg=PA46&dq=christopher+bruce+houston+ballet#v=onepage&q=christopher%20bruce%20houston%20ballet&f=false. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  14. ^ "Dance". http://www.uncsa.edu/dance/alumni.htm. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  15. ^ "A tall order for Trey McIntyre: choreographer sets Houston Ballet's Peter Pan". Dance Magazine. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1083/is_3_76/ai_83450418/. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  16. ^ Chapman, Betty T. (December 27, 2009). "Houston Ballet Co. continues to grow by leaps and bounds". Houston Business Journal. http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2009/12/28/story17.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  17. ^ "Center For Dance". http://houstonballet.org/CenterForDance/. 
  18. ^ "Houston Ballet’s new dance center reaching milestone – Your Houston News: News". http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/river_oaks/news/houston-ballet-s-new-dance-center-reaching-milestone/article_0381bc44-9cc7-530d-8c23-ab51b3266b40.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  19. ^ HBNewsSpring2011FINAL.pdf, http://www.texanfrenchalliance.org/storage/HBNewsSpring2011FINAL.pdf, retrieved 2011-09-09 
  20. ^ "Houston Ballet breaks ground on new downtown home – Houston Chronicle". http://www.chron.com/entertainment/article/Houston-Ballet-breaks-ground-on-new-downtown-home-1731162.php. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  21. ^ "Houston Ballet Center for Dance / Gensler | SocializArq". http://socializarq.com/architecture-news/houston-ballet-center-for-dance-gensler. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  22. ^ "Houston Ballet's New Center for Dance Opens Saturday, April 9, 2011 – HOUSTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –". http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/houston-ballets-new-center-for-dance-opens-saturday-april-9-2011-118021734.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 

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