The Houston Ballet's adventurous programming and performances earned the company a 2013 Texas Medal of the Arts in the field of Dance. Awarded by the Texas Cultural Trust, the medal recognizes the group's creativity, talent and contribution to the state's arts scene.
Central to the company's success has been Stanton Welch, the Houston Ballet artistic director of since 2003. From the first work he created for the company, Indigo in 1999, to the recent landmark evening-length work Marie (2011), Swan Lake (2006) and this year's newly staged The Rite of Spring, Welch has pushed the boundaries both for his dancers and the audience. This season alone, Welch added six new works to the group's repertoire, including two world premieres. The season's company premieres include George Balanchine's Ballet Imperial, Mark Morris's Pacific and Twyla Tharp's The Brahms-Haydn Variations. Peter Pan and La Bayadère, both works created especially for Houston Ballet, are on the season's remaining schedule.
James Nelson, executive director of the Houston Ballet says via press materials, "Houston Ballet is honored to be awarded the Texas Medal of Arts in the field of dance. We are thrilled to join the ranks of such legendary Texas artists such as ZZ Top, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Wilson, Walter Cronkite, Lyle Lovett, Clint Black, and Tommy Tune who have received The Texas Medal of the Arts in the past."
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The Ballet joins this year's other honorees including Houston favorite James Surls (Visual Arts), the Tuna Guys (Theater) Gene and Charlotte Jones (Individual Arts Patron), Big Thought (Arts Education), Kimbell Art Foundation (Foundation Arts Patron) and Texas Monthly (Corporate Arts Patron). A gala celebration is set for early March in Austin where each of the honorees will receive their award.