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FOR RELEASE JANUARY 22, 2012
CONTACT: SHAUNA TYSOR
713 535 3226
SARAH LAM
713 535 3224
pr@houstonballet.org

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Stanton Welch's La Bayadère:
A Story of Love, Mystery, Fate, Vengeance and Justice 

From February 21-March 3, 2013, Houston Ballet presents Stanton Welch's La Bayadère, a historic classic newly staged by Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch and set in royal India of the past. La Bayadère is a dramatic ballet of eternal love, mystery, fate, vengeance and justice intertwined to tell the story of Nikiya, a temple dancer, her lover Solor, and the vengeance that keeps them apart, at least in this life. 

La Bayadère's third act, the famous Kingdom of the Shades section, showcases 24 female dancers in white tutus, executing 38 synchronized and seamless arabesques while descending onto the stage, and is one of the purest forms of ballet-blanc, or white tutu ballet. "The Kingdom of the Shades is a challenging segment because it requires such control and precision from the corps de ballet women," says Mr. Welch. "There are few works in the classical repertoire that require more precision from the corps de ballet." The Kingdom of the Shades is so popular it is often performed on its own. Houston Ballet first performed The Kingdom of the Shades scene, staged by Ben Stevenson after Marius Petipa, in March 1994 and revived it in 1998.

Mr. Welch choreographed La Bayadère on Houston Ballet in 2010. The piece was his second staging of a 19th-century classic for Houston Ballet, after Swan Lake in 2006. He has choreographed a number of full-length story ballets for The Australian Ballet, including Madame Butterfly (1995), Cinderella (1997) and The Sleeping Beauty (2005); as well as two original evening-length works for Houston Ballet, Tales of Texas (2004) and Marie (2009).

English designer Peter Farmer, who has a long and rich history with Houston Ballet, created the spectacular scenery and costumes for La Bayadère. Mr. Farmer created a total of nine full-length productions for Houston Ballet since 1972 and is one of the few designers to have worked with three of the company's directors: Nina Popova, Ben Stevenson and Stanton Welch.

The costume designs are reminiscent of brightly colored traditional Indian attire, such as harem pants and saris, for the first and second acts. "Peter's scenic design is not a realistic depiction of India. It's like looking through an old picture book from western culture with a view of romanticized India," comments Mr. Welch. "The production has a very painterly look, almost reminiscent of Monet that will give it dreaminess and romance." The lavish production includes 121 costumes, comprised of 568 items. This also includes 26 handmade white tutus for The Kingdom of the Shades scene.