A familiar face is taking over Houston’s prestigious dance school. Houston Ballet and its artistic director Stanton Welch have announced that longtime veteran Jennifer Sommers will head the acclaimed Houston Ballet Academy.
In this new role, Sommers will oversee all educational programming for Houston Ballet and its academy, including education, training, and community engagement, according to a press release.
Boasting more than a decade with Houston Ballet, Sommers has served as director of education for both the Education and Community Engagement Department and Houston Ballet Academy, per her bio.
Prior to joining Houston Ballet in 2010, Sommers launched a dance program at KIPP Sharpstown College Prep while also teaching and choreographing for the University of Houston.
Previous stops include the faculty of the University of Minnesota Morris from 2005 to 2008, as well as associate director of Raleigh Dance Theatre, and faculty of Meredith College from 2000 to 2005. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance, Performance, and Choreography from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
“I am honored that Stanton has chosen me for this important role and look forward to working even more closely with the talented faculty and staff that comprise Houston Ballet Academy,” said Sommers in a statement. “Our work together will ensure that we deliver on Houston Ballet’s mission to provide superb educational programming that inspires a lifelong love of dance.”
Houston Ballet Academy trains more than 1,000 students each year, producing more than 64 percent of the elite athletes that comprise Houston Ballet’s current professional company. The popular Education and Community Engagement program reaches more than 70,000 individuals in the Houston area annually, per the ballet.