Houston Ballet's transformation into a fresh and fiery company is spearheaded by artistic director Stanton Welch, who arrived in 2003 from The Australian Ballet. Welch has successfully fused classical ballet with a fresh modern approach that audiences and critics alike have responded to with great enthusiasm. "For Houston Ballet fans, Welch has almost certainly been the 'it' they were looking for" says Continental Magazine (February 2005).
Founded in 1969, Houston Ballet is America's fourth largest ballet company featuring 54 dancers who have won gold and silver medals at international ballet competitions. The company performs a wide variety of ballets, ranging from classics like The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, and Swan Lake to exciting new ballets commissioned from some of the world's most prestigious contemporary choreographers.
The company's affiliated school, Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy, has emerged as one of America's foremost dance training institutions, producing dancers who have gone on to appear with such prestigious companies as Houston Ballet, The Australian Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. The Ben Stevenson Academy supplies over 40 percent of the company's dancers.
Houston Ballet serves as a cultural ambassador for the city of Houston on its many international tours. Over the last decade, Houston Ballet has performed in London, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York City, Canada, and Washington, D.C.