Houston Ballet
The Houston Ballet, operated by the Houston Ballet Foundation, is the fourth-largest professional ballet company
Ballet company
A ballet company is a group of dancers who perform ballet, plus managerial and support staff. Most major ballet companies employ dancers on a year-round basis, except in the United States, where contracts for part of the year are the norm...

 in the United States, based in Houston, Texas. The foundation also maintains a ballet academy, the Ben Stevenson Academy, which trains more than half of the company's dancers. As of 2011, the Houston Ballet's endowment at more than $55 million is considered among the largest endowments
Financial endowment
A financial endowment is a transfer of money or property donated to an institution. The total value of an institution's investments is often referred to as the institution's endowment and is typically organized as a public charity, private foundation, or trust....

 held for a dance company in the US. The company, which New York City newspaper The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 called "one of the nation’s best ballet companies", produces over 75 performances each year and consists of 54 dancers.


The Houston Ballet has its origins in the Houston Ballet Academy, which was established in 1955 under the leadership of Tatiana Semenova
Tatiana Semenova
Tatiana Semenova was the founding director of the Houston Ballet Academy.Semenova was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, but moved with her family to Paris, France when she was five...

, a former dancer with the Ballets Russes
Ballets Russes
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company from Russia which performed between 1909 and 1929 in many countries. Directed by Sergei Diaghilev, it is regarded as the greatest ballet company of the 20th century. Many of its dancers originated from the Imperial Ballet of Saint Petersburg...

. In 1969, the foundation formed a professional ballet company under the direction of Nina Popova, also a former dancer with the Ballet Russes and the American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre
American Ballet Theatre , based in New York City, was one of the foremost ballet companies of the 20th century. It continues as a leading dance company in the world today...


From 1976–2003, Englishman Ben Stevenson
Ben Stevenson
Ben Stevenson, OBE , is a former ballet dancer with Britain's Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, co-director of National Ballet in Washington, D.C...

, a former dancer with Britain's Royal Ballet and English National Ballet
English National Ballet
English National Ballet is a classical ballet company founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin and based at Markova House in South Kensington, London, England. Along with the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet, it is one of the four major ballet companies in Great...

, served as artistic director of Houston Ballet. Under Stevenson's leadership, the ballet transformed "from regional to international prominence".

In 1989, Kenneth MacMillan
Kenneth MacMillan
Sir Kenneth MacMillan was a British ballet dancer and choreographer. He was artistic director of the Royal Ballet in London between 1970 and 1977.-Early years:...

 joined the company as artistic associate and worked with the company from 1989 until his death in 1992. Christopher Bruce
Christopher Bruce
Christopher Bruce is a choreographer and performer born in Leicester on 3 October 1945. He was Artistic Director of the Rambert Dance Company until 2002....

 was named resident choreographer. Bruce, who currently holds the title of associate choreographer, has set nine works on the company, including four pieces created especially for Houston Ballet. In March 1995, Trey McIntyre
Trey McIntyre
Trey McIntyre is an American dancer and choreographer. McIntyre was born in Wichita, Kansas. He trained at North Carolina School of the Arts and Houston Ballet Academy...

 assumed the position of choreographic associate. McIntyre has created seven world premieres for the company, including his first full-length production of Peter Pan. In 2003, Australian choreographer Stanton Welch
Stanton Welch
-Early Life:Welch was born in Melbourne to Marilyn Jones and Garth Welch, two prominent Australian dancers.-Career:Welch was initially trained at the dance school run by his parents...

was appointed as Artistic Director and has created numerous works for Houston Ballet

In July 1995, the Houston Ballet became the first full American ballet company invited by the Chinese government to tour the country. An estimated 500 million people witnessed Houston Ballet's production of Romeo and Juliet when the company's opening night performance was telecast live on Chinese television.

Center for Dance

In 2011, the Company moved into its new Center for Dance which had its grand opening on April 9, 2011. The facility increases the number of dance studios from six to nine, and include a "black box dance laboratory" for presentations as well as rehearsals. The Center more than doubles the space that Houston Ballet had at its previous location. It is the largest dance facility of its kind in the United States and cost $46 million.
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