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Houston Ballet Honors Ben Stevenson By Using His Version of Sleeping Beauty

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In honor of Artistic Director Emeritus Ben Stevenson 's 80th birthday, the Houston Ballet is presenting a revival of his four-act staging of The Sleeping Beauty, and First Soloist Katharine Precourt, dancing the lead role of Aurora, calls it “a joy to dance.”

Precourt, who on alternate dates will dance the roles of the Lilac Fairy (everything good) and Carabosse (evil fairy, comes with monsters), says she forgets how challenging the steps are, because the story and its choreography are so good.

Precourt, who grew up in San Diego and started dancing at a very young age, was also a competitive figure skater. When she was ten, coaches on both sides said she had to choose between them, and she went with ballet, eventually being accepted into the Houston Ballet company.

Unable to pick her favorite among all the roles, Precourt says the way she carries herself while playing the evil fairy is completely different from when she's the princess.

“There's a different take the moment she steps on the stage. She's the one that wasn't invited to Aurora's christening. She's bad from the beginning. She wants to show that and places the curse on Aurora. It's very fun; it's a role that's sometimes danced by men in other versions. In this version, she's a woman and she's quite beautiful; she has this really pretty tutu and she's on pointe so she's still a fairy, but still evil.”

"The Lilac Fairy embodies everything good," Precourt says. "In some ways she's the highest fairy. She's  the one who takes the Prince to meet Aurora. "She's the one who counteracts Carabosse's curse. Carabosse puts a curse on Aurora saying she'll die, but the Lilac Fairy says, oh no, she's not going to die. She's going to prick her finger and she's going to sleep for 100 years."

Since everyone knows the story, Precourt says that no one will lose his or her way as the dancers make their way across the stage to Tchaikovsky's memorable music.

Performances are scheduled for February 25 through March 6 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays at the Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $20 to $197. 

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