On Pointe

Houston Ballet pirouettes for spring season with vibrant NYC collab + rarely seen gem

Houston Ballet pirouettes with vibrant NYC collab + rarely seen gem

Dance Theatre of Harlem Alexandra Hutchinson, Ingrid Silva and Daphne Lee
Alexandra Hutchinson, Ingrid Silva and Daphne Lee of Dance Theatre of Harlem, which will showcase and Originals show called Orange. Photo by Rachel Neville

Continued shipping issues and port delays have affected virtually everything over the last year — and the Houston Ballet is no exception.

Houston's premier dance company announced that it has changed up its planned production of Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly and replaced it with a rarely seen gem, citing shipping delays as the reason.

Audiences will have a reprisal of August Bournoville's La Sylphide as the season's closing show, running June 16 through 26. In addition, the ballet announced new works to its Originals program, slated for June 2 through 12.

La Sylphide is the story of James, a young Scotsman betrothed to Effie. On the morning of his wedding day, a slyph wakes him with a kiss. Only James can see the imaginary being, and her existence interferes with the wedding plans.

The show originally premiered in November 1836 by the Royal Danish Ballet, and is considered the first major romantic period ballet. It's also the oldest from that era that's still performed. It was last seen on the Houston Ballet stage 14 seasons ago.

“We are thrilled to announce these excellent additions to our spring programming,” said Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM in a press release announcing the season switch-up. “From our first performance of La Sylphide in more than a decade, to our collaboration with the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem, this season is only growing with even more world class ballet for our audience to enjoy. We cannot wait for patrons to experience the lineup of incredible performances that await in the coming months.”

In addition to La Sylphide, the ballet will add three other repertory works to Originals. These include Welch's Orange, which will be performed with Dance Theatre of Harlem, along with his Joplin, and a world premiere by Houston Ballet principal dancer Connor Walsh.

Those pieces join the previously announced premiere of a one-act ballet by principal dancer Melody Mennite with music by Rene Aubry, Ezio Bosso, and Max Richter. Walsh's new work features music composed and conducted by Dallas native Quinn Mason. He'll be the first Black conductor to lead the Houston Ballet Orchestra. 

Orange marks the first time the Houston Ballet has performed with Dance Theatre of Harlem. The piece is part of Welch's color series, an exploration of the colors of the chakra, where orange embodies maturity. His other color ballets, Blue, Indigo, and Green were set to the works of Vivaldi.

For tickets and more information, visit houstonballet.org.