Welch replaces long-time director Ben Stevenson, who built the company from a regional troupe into the nation's fifth-largest. He's brought in a wave of new teachers and coaches, but hasn't yet shaken up the dancer roster much. He's slightly beefed up the male ranks, testing out four new men, two of whom are principals.
Perhaps more significant, just three of the company's six new apprentices were trained in Houston -- indicating that the Stevenson mantra of building a company from the inside, so important in Houston Ballet's formative years, has been relaxed.
The company's prim British ballet technique is also evolving. Bears thinks audiences will see a different company this season, with more freedom in their upper bodies.
I found this part of the article a little unsettling:
The pace is swift. Like Welch and other young ballet choreographers, McIntyre is hungry to reshape tradition.
Story ballet plots typically boil down to a few points told through mime, embellished with corps dances and variations that can eat up several hours -- a drag to audiences who also watch MTV and play video games.
If sitting through Swan Lake is such a drag for today's audience members (and I'm not talking about those bad productions), then they shouldn't be watching ballet at all.