At the Ballet Barre

A lewd ballet: Young professionals embrace the attitude in a rare behind-the-scenes look

A lewd ballet: Young professionals embrace the attitude in Play

Caroline Allison, frmo left, Adrienne Pauly, Cynthia Thaker and Jennifer Ju at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Caroline Allison, from left, Adrienne Pauly, Cynthia Thaker and Jennifer Ju at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Sandi Ramirez and Karina Barbieri Houston Ballet Ballet Barre
Sandi Ramirez, left, and Karina Barbieri at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Ting Bresnahan, left, and Marina Willets at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Ting Bresnahan, left, and Marina Willets at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Lela Brodsky, from left, Connor Walsh and Nao Kusuzaki at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Lela Brodsky, from left, Connor Walsh and Nao Kusuzaki at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Jayne Spurgeon, left, and Lori Lang at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Jayne Spurgeon, left, and Lori Lang at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Nao Kusuzaki, from left, David Rassin, Ting Bresnahan and Marina Willets at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Nao Kusuzaki, from left, David Rassin, Ting Bresnahan and Marina Willets at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Cody Spinks, left, and Mark Ash at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Cody Spinks, left, and Mark Ash at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Marni Zarin, from left, Lela Brodsky, Jessica Collado and Niki Sekandari at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Marni Zarin, from left, Lela Brodsky, Jessica Collado and Niki Sekandari at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles. Photo by Morris Malakoff
2 at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Houston Ballet Center for Dance at night. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Caroline Allison, frmo left, Adrienne Pauly, Cynthia Thaker and Jennifer Ju at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Sandi Ramirez and Karina Barbieri Houston Ballet Ballet Barre
Ting Bresnahan, left, and Marina Willets at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Lela Brodsky, from left, Connor Walsh and Nao Kusuzaki at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Jayne Spurgeon, left, and Lori Lang at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Nao Kusuzaki, from left, David Rassin, Ting Bresnahan and Marina Willets at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Cody Spinks, left, and Mark Ash at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
Marni Zarin, from left, Lela Brodsky, Jessica Collado and Niki Sekandari at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013
2 at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance's Ballet and Bubbles October 2013

Everyday gestures of brushing teeth, applying makeup and eating breakfast, combined with lewd signs such as giving the middle finger and mouthing aggressive indecencies, makes Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch's Play a strong statement to experience up close.

In the company work, set to contemporary grooves by Moby, Welch draws his movement vocabulary from city life. The costumes are based on present-day attire; the ballet shoes are designed to resemble sneakers. Needless to say, this ballet's intent isn't to haul you away to a fantastical land of swans and dancing toys — unless such characters smoke, play video games and have a desire to "stick it to the man (or woman)."

All those details were vividly intensified when a clique of young balletomanes were invited to watch a rehearsal at the Houston Ballet Center for Dance, a session that's part of the professional corps' prep for a run at the Joyce Theater in New York City later this month.

"Ballet and Bubbles," one of Ballet Barre young professionals yearly program offerings, opens the doors to the inner workings of the art form in hopes of choreographing a connection between dancers and supporters.

No social gathering, of course, is complete without hunger fighting goods. A spread from Sambuca that included light bites of flat iron steak, chicken parmigiana, margarita shrimp and a trio of sinful desserts, alongside what seemed like an endless supply of flutes bubbling with sparkling wine, followed the presentation.

Prattling on with Ballet Barre chair Christine Transier and hubby Chris and commingling with dancers — among them Karina Gonzalez, Charles Yoshiyama, Ian Casady, Joseph Walsh, Oliver Halkowich and Jessica Collado — were Caroline Allison, Adrienne Pauly, Cynthia Thaker, Jennifer Ju, Ting Bresnahan, David Rassin, Marni Zarin and Lela Brodsky.