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Houston Ballet takes to the streets for innovative new digital performance

Houston Ballet takes to the streets for innovative new digital show

Houston Ballet Play downtown
Play takes place on Houston streets. Photo courtesy of Houston Ballet

As CultureMap has reported, in-person stage shows and live performances in Houston are back in a big way. But for those still reticent about attending events in packed venues, digital offerings remain, such as the latest from Houston Ballet.

Dubbed Play, the ballet’s new digital offering — available on all its channels — is a sneak peek of its upcoming performances, per a release. For the piece, artistic director Stanton Welch reimagined a movement Play called “Run On,” and set it to music from electronic demigod Moby. The scenes play out on the streets of Houston.

Some 26 Houston Ballet dancers don business suits and perform at six locations: Houston Ballet’s Center for Dance, Fish Plaza in front of the Wortham Theater Center, Allen’s Landing, Lyric Garage, Market Square Tower, and on Preston Street in Downtown Houston.

“Much of Play is about capturing the daily grind and frustrations of the white-collar worker and it felt fitting to bring this piece off the stage and into streets and office buildings of Houston while our downtown was still hauntingly quiet,” Connor Walsh, ballet principal dancer, noted in a statement. “Ironically the same mindless routines that the piece pokes fun at are a part of that sense of normalcy that we’ve all missed during the pandemic.”

For those who still favor in-person dance, the ballet promises that audiences can view parts of Play onstage during the upcoming Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance, running September 30-October 3.

Both the digital project and in-person performances of Play are dedicated to Jesse “Jay” H. Jones II, a pivotal ballet figure, the ballet adds.