Artists of Houston Ballet in Stepping Stones
Artists of Houston Ballet in Stepping Stones
Photo by Amitava Sarkar/Courtesy of Houston Ballet

Egyptian Cat Statues, Comedy and Seriously Bare-Chested Men in Skirts in Houston Ballet's Mixed Rep

As statues of Egyptian cats watched their every move, artists of the Houston Ballet performed Jiri Kylián's Stepping Stones, inspired by watching Australian aboriginal dancers and talking to them about the importance of their traditions.

It was opening night at the Wortham for Director's Choice: Legends and Prodigy and in addition to the renowned Kylián's work there was also Grosse Fuge by Hans van Manen, and Year of the Rabbit by Justin Peck (a Houston Ballet premiere.)

Rhys Kosakowski and Charles-Louis Yoshiyama in Stepping Stones
Rhys Kosakowski and Charles-Louis Yoshiyama in Stepping Stones
Photo by Amitava Sarkar/Courtesy of Houston Ballet

Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen is known for his masculine emphasis and Grosse Fuge (1971)  gave the male dancers the chance to show off with bare-chested physiques on display balanced by sweeping black Japanese skirts — all rendered to Beethoven's music.

Artists of Houston Ballet in Grosse Fuge
Artists of Houston Ballet in Grosse Fuge
Photo by Amitava Sarkar/Courtesy of Houston Ballet
Jessica Collado and Christopher Coomer in Grosse Fuge
Jessica Collado and Christopher Coomer in Grosse Fuge
Photo by Amitava Sarkar/Courtesy of Houston Ballet

The entire corps de ballet got to be the true focus of the audience's attention in Year of the Rabbit. The choreography by Justin Peck actually allowed them to overwhelm the principals — actually as Peck designed the piece to do.  This work has been acclaimed everywhere it has been performed and dancers describe it as just fun to do.

Artists of the Houston Ballet in Year of the Rabbit
Artists of the Houston Ballet in Year of the Rabbit
Photo by Amitava Sarkar/Courtesy of Houston Ballet

Still haven't decided whether to go? Here's a peek at some of the dancers in motion.

Performances continue through  March 26 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Wortham Center, 501 Texas. For information call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $25-$195.

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