Houston Ballet Announces Its 2017-18 Season With Classic Turns and Modern Premieres Alike

Artists of Houston Ballet in Don Quixote
Artists of Houston Ballet in Don Quixote Photo by Amitava Sarkar

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Artists of Houston Ballet in Don Quixote
Photo by Amitava Sarkar
In its 2017-18 season, Houston Ballet will feature the Houston Ballet premiere of Mayerling by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, the return of Ben Stevenson's Don Quixote and Artistic Director Stanton Welch's own Swan Lake, it was announced today.

Other highlights of the upcoming season include Welch's The Nutcracker, which he debuted to considerable acclaim at the end of last year, as well as William Forsythe’s Pas/Parts 2016, George Balanchine’s Symphony in C and Carousel (A Dance) from the recent Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon OBE.

Here's the complete season lineup announcement from the Houston Ballet:
Houston Ballet Premiere
Powder | Stanton Welch AM | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Carousel (A Dance) | Christopher Wheeldon OBE | Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II
Symphony in C | George Balanchine | George Bizet
©The George Balanchine Trust
September 8 – 17

The 2017/18 Season opens with an exhilarating mixed-repertory program featuring a collection of three works that reflect different traditions and expressions in ballet. Originally commissioned for Birmingham Royal Ballet, Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s Powder is a sensuous ballet for 14 dancers that explores the expressiveness of Mozart’s iconic “Clarinet Concerto in A Major.” The enchanting ballet Carousel (A Dance) by award-winning British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon OBE returns, created as a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein and their beloved Broadway musical, Carousel (1945). Wheeldon poignantly adds his charming touch to this familiar score. And Houston Ballet revives George Balanchine’s first commission for Paris Opera Ballet, Symphony in C. Choreographed to French composer George Bizet’s ravishing “Symphony in C Major,” this neoclassical ballet radiantly showcases the full company’s technical aptitude and poise.

Houston Ballet Premiere
Mayerling | Sir Kenneth MacMillan | Franz Liszt, arrangement by John Lanchbery OBE
September 21 – October 1

The 2017/18 Season will bring the Houston Ballet premiere of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling. This 3-act narrative ballet is based on the historic 1889 incident involving the murder-suicide of the sole heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Crown Prince Rudolf, and his 17-year-old mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera. Set to John Lanchbery’s powerful arrangement of Franz Liszt compositions, Sir Kenneth’s last full-length ballet boldly requires dancers to fully embody intense characters through dramatic acting and dancing. Houston Ballet is pleased to be the first North-American company to perform this historic and lavish production about disastrous obsession and unrequited love.

Swan Lake | Stanton Welch AM | Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
February 22 – March 4

Houston Ballet presents the return of Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s Swan Lake. In one of the world’s most beloved ballets, the everlasting love between Prince Siegfried and the maiden-turned-swan, Odette is tested by the evil knight Rothbart and his black swan enchantress, Odile. Stanton Welch’s Swan Lake, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, features luxurious sets and costumes by the late Kristian Fredrikson inspired by Pre-Raphaelite art.

World Premiere
Songs of Last Century | Stanton Welch AM | Various
North-American Premiere
Filigree and Shadow | Tim Harbour | 48Nord
Houston Ballet Premiere
Tulle | Alexander Ekman | Mikael Karlsson
March 8 – 18

Three exhilarating contemporary works enter Houston Ballet’s growing international repertoire, featuring prominent 20th century songs and contemporary electronic scores. The world premiere of Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s Songs of Last Century highlights a collection of songs by popular musicians across several decades, with costumes and sets by longtime collaborator Holly Hynes. The fast-paced work Filigree and Shadow brings another Australian choreographer, Tim Harbour, into the Houston Ballet family. Created for Australian Ballet, this work is filled with contemporary complexity in what Dance Magazine reviewed as “rooted in psychological territory.” And after his successful company premiere of Cacti last season, Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman returns to Houston Ballet with his unique and humorous twenty-first century homage to ballet, Tulle. This documentary style work about ballet’s history utilizes witty voice-over commentary and three large onstage LED screens to ask, “What is ballet?”

The Four Seasons | Stanton Welch AM | Antonio Vivaldi
Houston Ballet Premiere
Pas/Parts 2016 | William Forsythe | Thom Willems
Houston Ballet Premiere
In Dreams | Trey McIntyre | Roy Orbison
May 24 – June 3

An assortment of unique expressions in dance rounds out a mixed repertoire program not to be missed. Artistic Director Stanton Welch’s elegant elegy to Vivaldi’s famed collection of violin concertos The Four Seasons returns to Houston Ballet. Experience spring, summer, autumn, and winter in this poignant narrative that embraces the passage of time from a woman’s perspective. The esteemed choreographer William Forsythe returns to set Pas/Parts 2016, a contemporary ballet that expands and explores the boundaries of human movement to Thom Willems’ pulsating score. Originally created for Paris Opera Ballet then reformatted for San Francisco Ballet, Pas/Parts 2016 alternates between the many exciting movement dualities found in dance today. And Houston Ballet veteran and former Choreographic Associate Trey McIntyre also makes his return, setting his contemporary ballet In Dreams with songs by the legendary musician, Roy Orbison. McIntyre’s bold choreography pairs the movement of ballet, the soul of bluegrass, and the swagger of rockabilly.

Don Quixote | Ben Stevenson OBE | Ludwig Minkus, arrangement by John Lanchbery OBE
June 7 – 17

Returning after 12 years, Houston Ballet is pleased to conclude the 2017/18 Season with the revival of former Artistic Director Ben Stevenson’s Don Quixote. Enjoy the charming flare of seventeenth century Barcelona, Spain as imagined in the original novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The tale follows the elderly adventurer Don Quixote and his search for his idyllic woman, Dulcinea, only to be caught between the budding romance of temperamental Kitri and mischievous Basilio. Audiences are sure to enjoy this famously jovial ballet, full of dazzling choreography, sets, and costumes.

The Nutcracker | Stanton Welch AM | Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
November 24 – December 28

The holiday season reignites with Stanton Welch’s spectacular production of The Nutcracker. Enjoy all the splendor of this timeless classic, with opulence brighter than ever. Journey with Clara, Drosselmeyer, Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a magical adventure through a growing Christmas tree, interactive snow scene, and whimsical Kingdom of Sweets. The music, costumes, and hundreds of delightful characters will bring out the child in everyone!

Jubilee of Dance
December 1
7:30 p.m.

It’s the exclusive, one-night-only event that showcases the company’s extraordinary talent and versatility. In one program, the company takes us through a fast-paced journey of excerpts from seasons past and seasons to come. Celebrate with us – this is Houston Ballet at its best.

Academy Spring Showcase
April 27 – 7 p.m.
April 28 – 1 p.m.

Houston Ballet Academy has made its mark in professional ballet training year after year. With each Spring Showcase performance, hundreds of young dancers light up the stage with new works and highlights from full-length ballets. See these students shine in what is always a remarkable display of exceptional talent and hopeful futures.

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