C lasses are held in the studios of Texas Christian University in the heart of Fort Worth, "the city where the West begins."
Through a rigorous curriculum focusing on technical and artistic aspects of classical ballet, students reach for new levels of excellence in all aspects of the program. Students participate in a minimum of four classes per day, Monday-Friday, with staggered start and dismissal times beginning at 9 a.m. and ending by 6 p.m. daily. Technique class is offered on Saturdays with some days having an additional class or two. Daily classes are followed by the remaining classes listed below. Additionally, rehearsals are held a few times a week for a final performance showcasing selections from the company repertoire, as well as new choreography set on the students.
- Ballet Technique (daily)
- Men's Technique
- Pas de Deux by invitation only
- Jumps and Turns
- Latin Ballroom
- Dance Related Studies: May include Nutrition, Injury Prevention, Career Planning and/or Mime.
Both three- and five- week sessions are offered, but only students participating in the full program will be included in the final Showcase Performance and may be considered for Texas Ballet Theater's Trainee and Apprentice positions in the Company. Three-week participants do not perform in the showcase but may invite parents and friends to watch select classes the final day of the program.
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The program is under the supervision of Texas Ballet Theater's Artistic Director, Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., and classes are taught by the TBT Artistic Staff, school Faculty and renowned guest instructors from around the world.
Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. - Artistic Director
Mr. Stevenson, a native of Portsmouth, England, received his dance training at the Arts Educational School in London. Upon his graduation he was awarded the prestigious Adeline Genee Gold Medal, the highest award given to a dancer by the Royal Academy of Dancing. At the age of eighteen he partnered Alicia Markova in Where the Rainbow Ends and soon after was invited to join the Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet by Dame Ninette de Valois, where he worked closely with Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillian, and John Cranko. A few years later Sir Anton Dolin invited him to dance with London Festival Ballet where, as a Principal Dancer, he performed leading roles in all of the classical ballets.
In 1967 English National Ballet asked Mr. Stevenson to stage his first, and highly successful, production of The Sleeping Beauty, which starred Margot Fonteyn. In 1968 Rebekah Harkness invited him to New York to direct the newly formed Harkness Ballet. After choreographing Cinderella in 1970 for the National Ballet in Washington, D.C., he joined the company in 1971 as Co-Artistic Director with Frederic Franklin. That same year he staged a new production of The Sleeping Beauty in celebration of the inaugural season of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
In 1976 Mr. Stevenson was appointed the Artistic Director for Houston Ballet. For twenty-seven years, he nurtured the company from a small provincial ensemble to one of the nation's largest dance companies that has performed to critical acclaim throughout the world. He developed Houston Ballet's repertoire by acquiring the works of the world's most respected choreographers, commissioning new works, staging the classics and choreographing original works.
In 1978 during his tenure with the Houston Ballet, Mr. Stevenson traveled to China on behalf of the United States government as part of a cultural exchange program. Since then he has returned almost every year at the invitation of the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing Dance Academy and introduce Western dance forms, including jazz and modern dance to their students. He was instrumental in the creation of the Choreographic Department at the Beijing Dance Academy in 1985 and is the only foreigner to have been made an Honorary Faculty Member at both the Beijing Dance Academy and the Shenyang Conservatory of Music.
In July 2003 Mr. Stevenson became the Artistic Director of Texas Ballet Theater. Since then, the company has experienced tremendous growth, staging both the classics and choreographing original works. The international Company now includes dancers from countries around the world, including England, Cuba, Ukraine, Israel, Brazil and the United States. Texas Ballet Theater's education programs have also grown, as enrollment at the Dallas and Fort Worth Schools have reached full capacity. As of October 2009 Texas Ballet Theater is the resident ballet company at the two premier performance venues in North Texas, the Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth and the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas.
As a choreographer, Mr. Stevenson has created some of the world's most breathtaking ballets, including the full-length works Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Don Quixote and original productions of Peer Gynt (which opened Norway's Bergen Festival Gala in 1983), Dracula, The Snow Maiden and Cleopatra. His repertoire of original works also includes both romantic and neoclassic pas de deux that have received critical acclaim and international awards. Additionally, he has staged his ballets for English National Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opéra Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, La Scala in Milan, Munich State Opera Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, London City Ballet, Ballet de Santiago, and for many companies in the United States.
As a teacher, Mr.Stevenson has trained and influenced thousands of dancers from around the globe. His students have performed with the world's most renowned companies, including The Royal Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, Les Grandes Ballets Canadien, The National Ballet of China, Birmingham Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and more.
For his contributions to the world of international dance, Mr. Stevenson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year's Honors List in December 1999. He has received numerous awards for his choreography, including three Gold medals at the International Ballet Competitions of 1972, 1982 and 1986. In April 2000 he was presented with the Dance Magazine Award, one of the most prestigious honors on the American dance scene. In 2005 he was awarded the Texas Medal of Arts.
Mr. Stevenson although British by birth, is certainly one of the most important and famous figures in the development of regional ballet in the United States. His achievements as a Teacher, Choreographer and Company Director have earned him the love and respect of dancers and audiences everywhere.
Tim O'Keefe - Associate Artistic Director
A native Houstonian, Mr. O'Keefe was awarded a scholarship to Houston Ballet Academy in 1981, joined the Company one year later, was promoted to Soloist in 1985, and was named a Principal Dancer in 1995. In March 1997 Houston Ballet Artistic Director Ben Stevenson created the title role of Dracula for Mr. O'Keefe. He has performed this role across the globe, winning praise from critics in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Toronto. In March 2000 he danced "Caesar" and "Alcebiades" in the world premiere of Mr. Stevenson's Cleopatra. Favorite parts in other works by Mr. Stevenson include the title role in Peer Gynt; "Lorenzo" and the "Lead Matador" in Don Quixote; "Father Frost" in The Snow Maiden; Evening Pas De Deux with Naomi Glass; and "Ugly Stepsister" in Cinderella. Other favorite roles include "Monsieur G.M." in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon; "Danilo" in Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow; "Pan" in Glen Tetley's Daphnis and Chloe; the "Head Mistress" in Graduation Ball; "Madge" in La Syphide; and "Hilarion" in Giselle. He has also performed roles in works by Jiri Kylian, Christopher Bruce, Paul Taylor, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Sean Kelly, and Lila York. Mr. O'Keefe has choreographed two works for Houston Ballet's Cullen Contemporary Series, Fascinating Evening and Uncommon Valor; as well as two works for Houston Ballet Academy, Leaves and Shostakovich Suite. He has also choreographed Love Thing and Ragtime Dance for the Texas Ballet Theater. Last year Mr. O'Keefe choreographed Peter and the Wolf for a joint collaboration with TBT II and Children's Education Program Performing Arts Fort Worth performed at Bass Hall with the Fort Worth Symphony. This is Mr. O'Keefe's twelfth season.
Li Anlin - Assistant Artistic Director
Mr. Li was born in Nanjing, China. At the age of 13 he went to Beijing to study at the Beijing Dance Academy and graduated in 1979 to the Young Dancers Company. He first met and worked with Ben Stevenson while he was a student at the Academy there. In 1982 he joined the Central Ballet of China (now the National Ballet of China) as a Soloist and danced in many cities in China, Thailand and Hong Kong. In 1985 he was invited by Ivan Nagy to join Ballet de Santiago as a Soloist and was soon promoted to Principal Dancer. In 1989 Mr. Stevenson invited him to join Houston Ballet as a Soloist.
During his twenty-one year career as a dancer Mr. Li was featured in many of Mr. Stevenson's ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Dracula, Three Preludes, Four Last Songs, "L", Swan Lake, Peer Gynt, Cleopatra and Don Quixote among others. He also danced in ballets by Sir Kenneth MacMillan ( Elite Syncopations, Manon, and Gloria ); Ronald Hynd ( Papillon, The Merry Widow, Rosalinda ) John Cranko ( Romeo & Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew ); George Balanchine ( Serenade, Agon, Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments ); Vicente Nebrada ( Coppélia, Doble Corchea ), André Prokovsky ( Anna Karenina, The Three Musketeers ), Jiri Kylian ( Sinfonietta ), Christopher Bruce ( Cruel Garden, Journey ) and many others. In 2000 Mr. Li was named Ballet Master for Houston Ballet and helped set and rehearse many of Mr. Stevenson's ballets. He also assisted Mr. Stevenson in the creation of The Fountain of Tears in Beijing and now stages and rehearses Mr. Stevenson's ballets with other ballet companies around the world. In 2003 Mr. Stevenson invited him to Texas Ballet Theater as Ballet Master and in 2005 was named Assistant to the Artistic Director. This is Mr. Li's eleventh season with the company.
Anna Donovan - Principal Ballet Master
A native of Ireland, Ms. Donovan joined Texas Ballet Theater in 2000. At the age of ten, Ms. Donovan won a scholarship to train at the Royal Ballet School in England. From there, she went to Elmhurst Ballet School where she passed all the Royal Academy Examinations with Honors. After performing in Kaiserslautern, Germany, she joined the Irish National Ballet in 1973 and was rapidly promoted to Principal Dancer. During her sixteen-year tenure with INB, she toured extensively in Ireland, Europe and the United States and was recognized for her dramatic abilities and technical prowess. Ms. Donovan has worked with many notable choreographers including Sir Anton Dolin, John Gilpin, Hans Brennaa, Peter Darrell, and Domy Reiter-Soffer. She also had works created for her, one of which, The Playboy of the Western World, was a collaborative production with the traditional Irish music group The Chieftains. This production toured Ireland and was also presented in France, at Sadlers Wells, London and City Center Theater, New York. In 1989, she focused her energies toward teaching and was instrumental in establishing the Professional Dance Diploma Course in Dublin. She joined the staff of Ballet Dallas in 1991 serving as Principal Ballet Mistress/Repetiteur and instructor of the Dallas Conservatory of Ballet. While with Ballet Dallas, she collaborated with Lorraine Graves (Dance Theatre of Harlem), Fernando Bujones, James Clouser, Vivi Flint, and Peter Anastos. Ms. Donovan taught at Booker T Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Dallas for four years and has been invited by many organizations nationwide as a guest instructor. She was nominated and is included in The Who's Who of Teachers in America 2000, 2001, and 2005.
Kathryn Warakomsky - Principal, Fort Worth School
Kathryn Warakomsky, born in Boston graduated with Honors and a BFA in Dance from the State University of New York at Purchase. Ms. Warakomsky has over 20 years performing experience dancing lead roles in all the major classical ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Bayadëre, Coppèlia, La Sylphide and many others. Ms. Warakomsky danced with Ballet de Santiago, Chile as a principal and performed many leading roles there. During Ms. Warakomsky's tenure in Chile she met and worked with Ben Stevenson on some of his ballets including Peer Gynt, Cinderella, The Nutcracker and Four Last Songs. She later joined Houston Ballet rising to principal status and danced all over the world in many different roles. Some of her favorite roles include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Hanna in The Merry Widow, Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Kitri in Don Quixote and Cinderella. She has also performed in numerous contemporary works including Serenade and Western Symphony of George Balanchine, Etudes by Harold Lander, Manon and Gloria by Kenneth MacMillan, Sinfonietta by Jiri Kylian, Dracula, Cleopatra and The Snow Maiden by Ben Stevenson and Cruel Garden by Christopher Bruce among others. Ms. Warakomsky has toured extensively throughout North and South America, China, Canada and Europe. Upon her retirement from the stage, she began teaching at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy where she staged and rehearsed many pieces for the upper school. Ms. Warakomsky has been teaching for Texas Ballet Theater School in Fort Worth since 2003. In January 2007 she became the Principal. Along with Mr. Stevenson, Ms. Warakomsky has developed the Summer Intensive program into a five week residency program attracting students from around the world. The Summer Intensive has brought in over half the company members of Texas Ballet Theater. Ms. Warakomsky has also had the privilege of attending the Vaganova Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia and watching classes at the Bolshoi in Moscow. She is an American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Certified Teacher, Primary through Level 7.
Lyndette Galen - Principal, Dallas School
Lyndette Galen received most of her dance training from Joyce Seaborne, her mother, in South Africa. After immigrating to the States in 1981, Lyndette and Joyce established their own school in Dallas. In 2006, the school merged with Texas Ballet Theater, the professional company, under the direction of Ben Stevenson. Lyndette is principal of the Dallas school. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Natal University, South Africa.
Lyndette is a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance and has entered students for both the grades and vocational examinations with successful results. She has also coached several students for the Youth America Grand Prix regionals and finals in New York. The Texas Ballet Theater School Ensemble has been in the top 12 twice at the YAGP finals in New York. Past students have received contracts with ballet or modern companies, Broadway contracts, dance scholarships to universities, or dance teaching careers.
Carrie Cheng - Instructor, Fort Worth School
Carrie Cheng was born in Miami, Florida and started her training with Thomas Armour of the Miami Conservatory. She continued her training under Dulce Anaya and the Jacksonville Ballet Theater. She earned a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah with a full four year scholarship. She has danced professionally with numerous companies including the Utah Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Boston, North Atlantic Ballet and Ballet Concerto and has made guest artist appearances throughout the United States, Mexico and Taiwan. She has been a guest teacher for summer ballet programs such as Texas Ballet Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Ballet Theatre of Boston. Internationally, she has taught in Taiwan and Macau, China. Cheng has been adjunct ballet faculty at Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College and served on the Board of Directors for the Dance Council of North Texas. She has been on the faculty at Fort Worth Country Day since 1996 and is currently the Director of Ballet. She received a National Honor Roll's Outstanding American Teachers Award in 2005-2006.
Jan Miller - Instructor, Dallas School
Jan Miller was trained under the R.A.D. syllabus by Patricia Cairns in Tacoma, Washington. While still a student, she was awarded “The Best in Ballet” prize at the Pacific Northwest Ballet Competition. At 16, she was personally selected by Robert Joffrey to join his New York apprentice program during which she trained and performed with the Joffrey Ballet and the New York City Opera. From that beginning, she went on to join Grand Theatre du Genève in Switzerland, Ballet Contemporaneo in Caracas, Venezuela, and the Milwaukee Ballet. Miss Miller began her teaching career in New York City at Ballet Arts and Peridance, the New Orleans Conservatory for the Creative Arts and Stephens College before joining Texas Ballet Theater as an advanced instructor on the Dallas school.
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Guest Instructors may include:
Steve Brule began his training with Stanley Hall of the Royal Ballet and Ballet de Paris. He was a soloist with the Frankfurt Ballet and the Houston Ballet where he toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and China. In Houston, under the direction of Ben Stevenson, Mr. Brule eventually became the Assistant Principal of the Houston Ballet Academy. He considers teaching his “first love and true calling” and considers himself fortunate indeed to have learned from one of the greats – Stevenson himself.
For 18 of his 20 years with HBA he directed summer choreographic workshops where choreographers such as Trey McIntyre and Dominic Walsh got their start. He currently holds a fulltime position teaching ballet for the School of Dance at The University of Oklahoma.
Ms. Cravey's professional career began with the Harkness Youth Dancers under the direction of Ben Stevenson. Ms. Cravey toured all of Europe, Asia and the Middle East as Principle Dancer of the Harkness Ballet.
She was invited by Director Vicente Nebrada to become a founding Principle Dancer of the newly formed Ballet de Caracas in Venezuela and toured South America and Central America as well as Europe.
After a serious knee injury Ms. Cravey was invited by Ben Stevenson to teach and become the Principal of his Academy. She enjoyed her position there for 25 years and trained many dancers in Houston Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, American Ballet Theater and many other professional dance companies. She has served as President of the National Association of Schools of Dance during her time at Houston Ballet Academy. She is presently Associate Professor at University of Oklahoma and continues to guest teach nationally and internationally.
John Grensback began dance training at the age of seven with his foster father, Eldon Parish, in Chicago. At the age of 15 years, Mr. Grensback attended The School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City. Upon graduation from SAB, Mr. Grensback joined the New York City Ballet and danced with the company for two seasons. He then joined the Joffrey Ballet where he danced until 1982. In 1982 he was invited to join the Houston Ballet where he became a principal dancer and danced under the direction of Ben Stevenson.
Mr. Grensback retired from the stage in 1990 and moved to the island of Guam with his wife, Megan Murphy. He opened and directed his own studio in Guam until June of 2003. Mr. Grensback taught master classes in Hong Kong, The Philippines, Houston Ballet Academy and at the Joffrey Ballet School. While in Guam he choreographed, produced and directed The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Carmina Burana, The Emperor and the Nightingale, and many other classical and contemporary works. Since his arrival as director of the Oregon Ballet Academy in 2003, John Grensback has had a profound influence on the students of the academy, specifically with his high standard of excellence, his working relationship with teachers and his dedication to each student.
Janie Parker danced professionally for 23 years, 3 with Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève in Switzerland and 20 with Houston Ballet. She has performed leading roles in many of the classics including Swan Lake, Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Les Sylphides - as well as nearly 100 other pieces by contemporary choreographers, such as Balanchine, Stevenson, Robbins, Tomasson, Tetley, Hynd, Ashton, MacMillan, Tudor, van Manen and van Dantzig.
Ms. Parker was the first American to win a gold medal at the USA International Ballet Competition. After her win in 1982, she returned as a guest artist for the 1994 USA IBC Opening Ceremonies. In the full-length film produced at the 1982 competition, To Dance For Gold, she was seen worldwide and became a popular performer, dancing in Mexico, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Cuba, China, Japan, Indonesia, Chile and Guam. Parker’s career began in 1973 with Les Grand Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, a Balanchine satellite company. Three years later, she became a soloist at the Houston Ballet. As a soloist and principal dancer with Houston Ballet from 1976 until 1996, Parker danced leading roles in all the classic works. During her career, she has danced before Princess Margaret, Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Grace, King Olav and Fidel Castro. She has also danced with the International Ballet Festival in Cuba and performed at the Sadler’s Wells Royal Gala. In 1998, she served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the sixth USA International Ballet Competition.
Since she retired from the stage in 1996, Ms. Parker has been coaching and resetting some of Mr. Stevenson’s ballets around the world as well as teaching Pilates in her own studio.
Lauren Anderson, Former Principal Dancer, Houston Ballet
Krissy Richmond, Former Principal Dancer, Hoston Ballet, danced on Broadway
For more information contact 817-763-0207, ext. 112 or email TBT Summer