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LMCtech

Rebellion at Houston?

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I heard through the grapevine today the the dancers at Houston Ballet are not happy with their new leader. Has there been any comments on this in the Houston/ Texas press?

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I haven't read anything in the press -- perhaps someone else has?

I did want to put up a brief caution. LMCTech's question is absolutely within bounds, but I'd like to be sure to limit the discussion of this question to PUBLISHED reports, rather than grapevine ones.

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There are some who aren't happy and some who are thrilled. Alot of them are trying it out to see how it goes.

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Can anyone enlighten us as to what likely adjustments Mr. Welch will make, things he will look for, changes he might make?

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I'm sure there will be changes of some sort, but from reports and interviews published so far, and the statements of the Houston board, the reason they chose Welch is so that there would NOT be changes. They want to continue as things are, apparently -- keep Stevenson's ballets in repertory, and continue a commitment to full-length story ballets. I'm sure there will be differences, but it sounds as though the intention is to retain the framework.

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Have there been any reports of dancers or staff being let go? I have heard blessed little from Houston and was hoping that heralded a smooth transition.

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I have seen no news reports of changes -- staff being let go, etc.

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Haven't heard of anyone being let go or even leaving willingly for that matter, speaking of staff in addition to dancers. There's been some restructuring on the academy side, but nothing major...some positions added, etc. As for the artistic side, I've heard nothing to indicate displeasure and haven't seen any major changes in staff, but will watch as we approach July when the change in AD officially takes place.

As for the new season, quite a few things we haven't seen, and frankly, I like the new season. Houston tends to be rather conservative in taste as far as the ballet patrons go, however, I think there's a much wider audience to be reached and this may be the beginning of that.

Haven't been around much in the past several months (wow...I even show as a "new memeber"!). Hope everyone is well. I'll try to keep you all better updated on the goings-on in Houston.;)

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Good to see you again, sissone. I hope you will stick around and report on what you're seeing in Houston. It's an important company, and I'm sure there are people here who want to know what's going on there.

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thanks sissone. i THOUGHT welch didn't officially take over till july - but i wasn't sure enough to say it. glad YOU did. :D

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Alexandra, thanks so much for the welcome back. I promise to be around more. Miss you all terribly. After the collapse of my former employer I've not been able to justify the expense of classes and season tickets, thus anything ballet-related was near torturous for me, though I would come in and lurk on occasion. I miss it all so very much.

LMCtech, promise to keep the info coming from Houston! I'm anxious to see our new AD's contributions to our company.

Grace, you were correct....Stanton Welch officially arrives in the beginning of July, though he will be in during company auditions before then as well as I've heard from within.

Will keep my ear to the ground and keep you all informed on the goings-on here.

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I'm sure there will be changes of some sort, but from reports and interviews published so far, and the statements of the Houston board, the reason they chose Welch is so that there would NOT be changes.  They want to continue as things are, apparently -- keep Stevenson's ballets in repertory, and continue a commitment to full-length story ballets.  I'm sure there will be differences, but it sounds as though the intention is to retain the framework.

I was browsing through old threads on Houston Ballet and came upon this one again. All I can say to that now is this: Ha. I wish.

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I have NEVER seen a take over of the artistic side of a company where there are no changes. The Artistic Director has to have the support from the Board for he or she to have some ability to put their imprint on the company. The Board may select an AD with similar vision but it is not fair to expect a carbon copy. It is 9 times out of 10 painful for some folks involved. Change is hard but in my experience usually is positive. But of course there are those exceptions where an AD has ruined a good thing! A year or two of adjustment is usually necessary before it is fair to judge.

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I wasn't expecting a carbon copy, but I was hoping for a season that more closely resembled the one they pulled together this year. I am not liking the line-up for the upcoming season, which has been said to be an indication of what his plans are for the company and the first time Welch really makes his mark (or something along those lines). Well, it HAS been a year. Welch is still young and I am still waiting to see how successful the company will become under his direction, but for now, I'm going to be a bit pessimistic. The trend seems to be a leaning towards a more contemporary and experimental-focused company, which may or may not be a good thing. Telling from some of the stuff I've seen this year, I can't say I'm particularly fond of this trend. Also, the Houston audience does tend to be on the conservative side, favoring well-established ballets over contemporary ones, and this may not go over well for them, although it would be great if it could bring in new viewers.

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I'm with you, Old Fashioned! I really liked how this season was put together. But for next season, there's really nothing I'm chomping at the bit to see. When I saw how the season looked, I pretty much said, "Well, I may not go at all." And that's not good for the ballet. The dancers, in my opinion, have danced remarkably well this past year, and I hate the thought of no one going to see them simply because the ballets being danced are not of interest.

Also -- I do know of at least one dancer who has been let go. But until it is published somewhere I won't give the name. I hope it's okay for me to say this, since I haven't specified the dancer. :)

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The dancers, in my opinion, have danced remarkably well this past year, and I hate the thought of no one going to see them simply because the ballets being danced are not of interest.

You read my thoughts exactly, Pugbee. I'm only truly interested in seeing Giselle and the Lifar piece.

It was published in the Chronicle that Julie Gumbinner and Lucas Priolo will be leaving for Texas Ballet Theatre, and I do know of a few others who are also leaving, although it hasn't been let out to the public yet.

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Almost certainly nothing to do with "rebellion", but I've picked up a Houston Chronicle artical of 4 June which says that one of my former Royal Ballet favourites, Phillip Broomhead, is retiring at the end of the current month (which effectively means after the performance on 20 June, I think), and will become one of the company's ballet masters.

Jane

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I think you will truly enjoy Maina Gielguld's Giselle! It is gorgeously staged and produced. (Well, it was in Boston anyway!)

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Thanks, Joseph, I'm definitely looking forward to Giselle. I've read good things about Maina's staging.

Yep, I listened to a radio interview with Broomhead that he is retiring. It's certainly a gain for the artistic staff; he has been doing a lot of coaching this season, and I hear he's a great teacher.

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Broomhead is a wonderful teacher. He gives such great classes and he really inspires. Especially his wacked out extension which is incredible. And the way he demonstrates combinations in the center, its almost as if you dont want him to stop! The Artistic staff is very lucky to have him, as well as Maina who is a fabulous teacher and coach.

** I wish the season for next year was different, but the only thing I am looking forward to seeing is Christopher Bruces piece. After seeing Ghost Dances I have fallen in love with his choreography and movement.

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Rosaline

I once heard Phillip say that, when he arrived at the Royal Ballet School, he wasn't very flexible, so he stretched everyday. It must have worked, because I remember his extension, and HEARING his leg hit the back of his head mid-cabriole from several rows back at Covent Garden.

I would love to see him teach, but I think it's unlikely. I've being trying to arrange a secondment to Houston from work, but it's not going to happen; all I've managed is an invitation to Albania!

Jane

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According to the Houston Press, Broomhead is leaving the company to join Ben Stevenson in Fort Worth:

Houston Press article (last paragraph)

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That is a mistake in the article! Lucas Priolo and Julie Gumbinner will be going to TBT, while Phillip will continue at HB as ballet master! Simple mistake!

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