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Dance-Maker Stanton Welch Celebrates Ten Years at Houston Ballet

For some, dance is truly in the blood.

Stevenson directed Houston Ballet for 27 years, and from the looks of things, the company has another long-term director-choreographer as its guidepost. But even if one were to look only at Welch's first ten years, his impact has already been felt. "I think he is a choreographer who has pushed the art form of ballet into the 21st century," says McAllister. "His work spans the gamut from one-act to narrative-length works, and he has reinterpreted classics as well as created original pieces. He is prolific and innovative, and his works reveal the strengths of his dancers, often surprising them in the process."

There's the Center for Dance, the Ben Stevenson Academy, and the continued efforts to bring Houston Ballet to both national and international audiences. But Welch isn't just working for the advancement of dance; rather, he sees his work as part of a citywide initiative to provide stimulating, challenging programming across all arts disciplines. "There's something pioneering about Houston, about wanting to create," he observes. "You can see it in all the art forms, at the Menil, the opera, the symphony. These are extremely brave organizations, and we are matching what they are doing."

Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Melody Mennite as Marie Antoinette, another one of Stanton Welch's strong-willed and complex women.
Pam Francis
Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Melody Mennite as Marie Antoinette, another one of Stanton Welch's strong-willed and complex women.
Former Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Amy Fote in Madame Butterfly, Stanton Welch's first full-length ballet.
Amitava Sarkar
Former Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Amy Fote in Madame Butterfly, Stanton Welch's first full-length ballet.

Having a world-class ballet company isn't a luxury for a city that plans to leave a mark on the national cultural landscape; it's a necessity. "If you look back at the great empires of the world — the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinese — their greatness is reflected in their art. It captures the essence of that area. It's like leaving a footprint," he says. "That's what we're all here for, to leave an impression."

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