Ballet Imperial is the latest Balanchine work Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch has added to the company's repertoire, something he's done every year he's been here. ''As a dancer and a choreographer, I grew to love Balanchine's work,'' Welch tells us. ''It's filled with musicality. It doesn't matter if you're in the corps de ballet or a principal, you always feel like you're really dancing in his ballets.''
With all of the works available for Welch to choose from, it might seem unusual for him to select a full company piece, complete with tutus. ''There are very few classical tutu ballets and yet they are by far our audience’s favorite works. ''There's a real beauty and elegance to them. I think when a dancer is in a tutu, they dance differently.'' He goes on to add jokingly, ''If you have tutus onstage, you have a standing ovation almost [as soon] as the curtain goes up.''
The company has performed Jerome Robbins's The Concert before. Welch says it's popular with both the audience and dancers, and a personal favorite of his. ''A lot of choreographers have humor in their work, but it's rare to find something that actually makes you laugh out loud. The Concert certainly does. The thing about The Concert is that it makes fun of … how seriously we all take ourselves all the time. It's one of those ballets I saw as a child; I'm 44 now and I still laugh each time I see it. That's pretty impressive.''
7:30 p.m. May 30, June 1, 7 and 8, 2 p.m. June 2, 8 and 9. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713‑523‑6300 or visit houstonballet.org. $19 to $180.
Thu., May 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., June 1, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 2, 2 p.m.; Fri., June 7, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., June 8, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., June 9, 2 p.m., 2013