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HBII Dancers Then Tour to Toronto
to Appear In the International Ballet Festival,
Assemblée Internationale 2013, April 28 - May 4 

HOUSTON, TEXAS - On Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 at 1:30 p.m., Houston Ballet II, Houston Ballet's second company, will present its 2013 Spring Showcase in the Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston. Tickets start at $26 and may be purchased by calling 713 227 ARTS (713 227 2787) or online at www.houstonballet.org. All proceeds raised by the performances will benefit Houston Ballet's Academy.

Houston Ballet II is the second company of Houston Ballet, America's fourth largest ballet company.  Immediately following its appearances in the Spring Showcase in Houston, the dancers of Houston Ballet II will depart for Toronto, where they will perform in the prestigious international ballet festival, Assemblée Internationale 2013 (AI13), April 28 - May 4, 2013.  Hosted  by Canada's National Ballet School (NBS), the festival will feature young dancers from many of the world's most elite dance training institutions, including:  The Royal Ballet School, Paris Opera Ballet School, the National Ballet School from Havana, Cuba' The Australian Ballet School, and San Francisco Ballet School. Students from participating schools will perform both a piece of existing repertoire, representative of their school's culture, as well as a student-created choreography, which will be performed by a blended cast of students from each of the partner schools.

The Spring Showcase at Wortham Theater Center unique opportunity for Houston Ballet II to perform for their home audience after a busy schedule of touring. Over the last year, Houston Ballet II has given performances in Houston with Houston Symphony and with Musiqa, the nationally acclaimed contemporary music ensemble, toured to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Alexandria, Louisiana and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Academy Director Shelly Power with Houston Ballet II's Ballet Master Claudio Muñoz and Ballet Mistress Sabrina Lenzi carefully select each piece for the Spring Showcase to fully showcase the abilities of every dancer.

The highpoint of the evening will be an encore performance of Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch's classical showpiece Studies, set to music by Carl Czerny and showcasing 226 students from all levels of the academy.

2013 marks the 1st year that the upper school of Houston Ballet Academy will be performing more with Houston Ballet II dancers.

The 2013 Spring Performance will also include Mr. Welch's Brigade, a challenging neoclassical ballet set to "Soirées Musicales" and "Matinées Musicales" by English composer Benjamin Britten. Twenty-six dancers will appear in blue military-inspired costumes created by Holly Hynes. Houston Ballet premiered Brigade in September of 2006.

Also on the program, Coppélius, the Magician, a free adaptation using excerpts based on the full-length ballet Coppélia choreographed by HB II Ballet Master Claudio Muñoz set to music by Leo Delibes. This one act ballet showcases the students of Level 7 and Level 8, the more advance training of the Academy, alongside the dancers of Houston Ballet II.


Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy

Houston Ballet's Academy is the official school of Houston Ballet and supplies more than 50% of the professional company's dancers. Houston Ballet Principal Dancers Ian Casady, Mireille Hassenboehler, Melody Mennite, Sara Webb, Connor Walsh and Joseph Walsh were all once students of the academy. As one of the most respected dance training institutions in America, graduates of the academy have gone on to dance with numerous leading companies, including American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, BalletMet, Memphis Ballet, State Street Ballet, Ballet Florida, Pacific Northwest Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada.

The academy's main school division takes students from introduction to ballet through a full course of ballet study. The rigorous program offers classes in technique, pointe work, pas de deux, character dance and music. Students as young as four take creative dance, and six year olds take pre-ballet, both of which lay the foundation for further study of classical ballet. Students follow a structured sequence of training phases designed to enhance their technical skills, stamina and discipline.

Stanton Welch assumed leadership of the company and the academy in July 2003. As artistic director, Mr. Welch is extremely involved in the Academy and is committed to the development of its students. Academy students have had the opportunity to perform with the professional company in Mr. Welch's premieres of Marie and La Bayadère along with Ben Stevenson's staging of The Nutcracker among others. 




Music by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Matinées Musicales, Op. 24
Soirées Musicales, Op. 9
By agreement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., publisher and copyright owner.
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Scenic Design by Thomas Boyd
Costume design by Holly Hynes
Lighting Design by Christina R. Giannelli

Music by Léo Delibes (1836-1891)
Choreography by Claudio Munoz, after Arthur Saint Leon
Costume Design by Desmond Heeley
Lighting by Lisa J. Pinkham

Music by Carl Czerny (1791-1857)
Choreography by Stanton Welch
Pianists: Katherine Burkwall-Ciscon and Steven Tran

In the Spring Showcase, the gifted young artists of Houston Ballet's professional training program perform works that spotlight their multitude of talents. They will dance a variety of ballets, some created on professional companies, others choreographed especially for the program and for the young dancers. Come, see if you can spot the stars of tomorrow.

WHEN: 7:00 PM Friday, April 26, 2013
1:30 PM Saturday, April 27, 2013

WHERE: Cullen Theater at Wortham Theater Center
501 Texas Avenue in downtown Houston, TX.

TICKETS: Start at $26. Call (713) 227 ARTS or 1 800 828 ARTS
Tickets are also available at www.houstonballet.org and Houston Ballet Box Office at Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. (at Smith St.)

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit Houston Ballet at www.houstonballet.org.