Houston Ballet II, CSO to join forces in Saturday performance

Company members of Houston Ballet II perform “Play” Wednesday in the Amphitheater. Houston Ballet II returns to the Amp, with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. HG Biggs/Staff Photographer

Julia Weber & Sarah Russo
Staff writers

Houston Ballet II is getting ready to leap back onto stage at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the Amphitheater.

Saturday’s performance, wrapping the company’s Week Seven residency, will welcome four company dancers, three of whom trained in the Houston Ballet Academy and danced with Houston Ballet II, said academy director Jennifer Sommers.

Following the group’s performance Wednesday evening performance, Houston Ballet II will return to the Amp stage, this time joined by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director and Principal Symphonic Conductor Rossen Milanov. 

As a conductor, Milanov said performing with a ballet is different from traditional orchestra programs. He highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation for performances such as this one.

“(There’s) collaboration with the dancers and vision of the choreographer,” Milanov said.  “And in any collaborative art form, the orchestra is one of the essential parts.”

In order to fully prepare for a performance like this, Milanov said he needs to “familiarize (himself) with the choreography” along with the music and needs to understand the dancers’ ability.

Sommers said the program will have a classical pas de deux and two group dances, which will include solos, pas de deux and smaller group sections within them.

Chautauquans can expect another night of dynamic, skilled performances from the Academy’s dancers. Saturday’s performance will include the Swan Lake White Swan pas de deux, choreographed by Stanton Welch.

In addition to this piece, the dancers will perform Clear and A Time to Dance, also choreographed by Welch. Visiting company dancers will join the Academy for these two pieces.

A Time to Dance will usher in a new section of the ballet, choreographed by Welch specifically for the performance at Chautauqua Institution, Sommers said. This section will be performed with dancers from the Institution.

Sommers said she believes that Chautauquans will be impressed by the simultaneous emphasis on classicism and boundary-pushing approach to ballet. She said she hopes audience members will enjoy all that Houston Ballet II has to offer and expects that attendees will leave with a range of favorite pieces.

Sommers is excited for Chautauquans to experience the Houston Ballet II, which she called “a choreographer’s Eden” quoting Welch.

“We maintain tradition while creating the future,” she said.


The author Julia Weber

Julia Weber is a rising junior in Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in art history. Originally from Athens, Ohio, this is her first summer in Chautauqua and she is thrilled to cover the theater and dance performances. She serves as the features editor for Ohio University’s All-Campus Radio Network, a student-run radio station and media hub, and she is a former intern for Pittsburgh Magazine. Outside of her professional life, Julia has a newly adopted cat, Griffin, and she is an avid fan of live music and a dedicated ceramicist.