Graceful and strong at the same time, with a style that masks the difficulty of the dance, Houston Ballet principal dancer Randy Herrera glides effortlessly from role to role (his favorite is Basilio in Don Quixote). Herrera is both smooth and explosive in his performances, with effortless jumps and pirouettes. The Acapulco-born Herrera was with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago before he joined the Houston Ballet as a soloist in 2001. He was promoted to first soloist in 2006, and then became a principal dancer earlier this year. Herrera, who has won several international awards and most recently represented the Houston Ballet in the 2006 International Ballet Competition, sparkled during Houston Ballet's last season, playing the lead in the company's performances of Velocity and Wild Life.