Dancing Down Under

Houston Ballet Takes Center Stage in Melbourne

Stanton Welch’s critically-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet dazzles Australian audiences.

By Jeanne Lyons Davis July 1, 2016

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Connor Walsh and Karina Gonzalez in Houston Ballet's Romeo and Juliet

Image: Jeff Busby

Houston Ballet bid adieu to the Bayou City (temporarily!) and set sail for Australia to debut Artistic Director Stanton Welch's Romeo and Juliet to sold-out Aussie audiences. This is a homecoming for Welch, as the Melbourne native has close family ties with The Australian Ballet (Welch, his father and brother were former dancers for the company and his mother, Marilyn Jones, was the former artistic director).

“I am thrilled that Houston Ballet will travel to Australia for the first time,” Welch said. “It’s almost like everything has come full circle with the company performing in my homeland. Australian audiences are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about dance, and I look forward to having the chance for Houston Ballet to show Melbourne what we do here in Texas. I am sure Australian audiences will appreciate and understand the commitment and artistic excellence that we strive so hard for here.”

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Image: Jeff Busby

Houston Ballet performed the world premiere of Welch’s Romeo and Juliet in February 2015. Set to an exquisite score by Sergei Prokofiev and designed by renowned Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno, audiences and critics alike applauded the tour de force performance.

The two ballet companies has maintained a close relationship since Welch joined the Houston Ballet in 2003. He is the Resident Choreographer of The Australian Ballet and founded a collaborative program that shares artists between the two companies. In November and December of 2014, The Australian Ballet sent principal artists Leanne Stojmenov and Daniel Gaudiello to Houston to perform as leads in The Nutcracker, and Houston Ballet sent principal dancers Karina Gonzalez and Connor Walsh to Sydney to perform in The Australian Ballet’s performances of Welch’s La Bayadère.

This Australia tour further builds Houston Ballet's international presence. Since 2000, Houston Ballet has toured around the globe, including London, Moscow, Spain, France and Canada. 

Thru July 9 at the Arts Centre Melbourne State Theatre. australianballet.com.au

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