Houston Ballet Presents Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker

Marco Polo

Sara Webb & Emily Bowen in Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker
[Photo: Amitava Sarkar]

Houston Ballet presents its annual production of The Nutcracker, already in progress through December 27, a tradition that began in 1972. According to the company:

“In 1976, Houston Ballet presented the production with revised choreography by the company’s new artistic director Ben Stevenson. In 1987, the current production with designs by Desmond Heeley, lighting by Duane Schuler, and choreography by Mr. Stevenson was unveiled to a glowing critical response…[and has been] seen by over 1,000,000 people since its premiere 24 years ago.”

Charles-Louis Yoshiyama in Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker

Charles-Louis Yoshiyama in Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker
[Photo: Amitava Sarkar]

The production sounds quite impressive with such special effects as a “Christmas tree which ‘grows’ to 40 feet, 200 pounds of ‘snow’ falling during the snow scene, and the firing of a cannon onstage.” The dancers are accompanied by the Houston Ballet Orchestra under music director Ermanno Florio.

For related video:

Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker

Interview with Artistic Director Stanton Welch about The Nutcracker

Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker Market [Source: Houston Ballet]

Like many large ballet companies, such as English National Ballet, Houston Ballet has found creative ways to address the enormous funding needs of maintaining a major arts organization. In 1981, Houston Ballet launched Nutcracker Market, a “Holiday Shopping Wonderland”, featuring numerous merchants and a large crew of volunteers. Not only is it a great approach to fundraising but it’s an excellent way to kick off the season of The Nutcracker.

One sign of Houston Ballet’s success, now overseen by Artistic Director Stanton Welch, was their move earlier this year into an impressive new Center for Dance in downtown Houston. On a related note, my post about this news was the first at All World Dance following my welcoming announcement!

Official Site: Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

All World Dance: Videos