Magic is what got Prospero in trouble in the first place. That's the assessment of Houston Ballet principal Ian Casady, who will dance that role when, for the first time ever, the Houston Ballet will perform The Tempest, Shakespeare’s classic tale of magic, revenge and forgiveness in a two-hour, full-length co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Prospero's obsession with magic meant he neglected some of his duties as Duke of Milan, Casady says, leaving the door wide open for his brother and some of his cronies to usurp his crown. As a result, the sorcerer has spent the last 12 years practicing his magical powers and plotting revenge.
Big themes abound in this story, making it perfect for ballet with all its emotion and thundering sounds. The ballet opens with a storm conjured up by Prospero to shipwreck his brother and King Alonso of Naples, who happen to be in the area.
“There’s so much to pull from," Casady says. "The story is all there and there’s such great poetry and imagery to use as inspiration. The storm in the beginning is really fantastic.”
Partnered with fellow principal Karina Gonzalez as Miranda, Casady says he also relishes the fact that his character has a narrative arc and, by the end, abandons extracting vengeance from all who have wronged him.
At one point, he'll get to dance in thigh-high boots — a pretty commanding image.
Caliban and Ariel will be there as well in a journey that sticks fairly close to the Shakespeare original, Casady says. Choreography is by the acclaimed David Bintley, artistic director of the Birmingham company.
Performances are scheduled for May 25 through June 4 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For information, call 713-227-2787 or visit houstonballet.org. $25 - $195.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.