Texas Ballet Theater II was created by Artistic Director Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., to further the training of the Company’s Apprentices and Trainees by providing individualized coaching and additional performance opportunities. These young dancers gain technical skills and artistic experience through specialized rehearsals and performing lead roles in a varied repertoire. Training in this customized and nurturing environment prepares these talented dancers for entry into a rigorous professional atmosphere when they are offered a company contract. TBT II also provides a venue for aspiring choreographers to create new pieces with these eager and talented dancers.
TBT II had its premiere performance in Fall 2012, presenting “Pas de Six” from Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake, the pas de deux from Don Quixote, End of Time by Mr. Stevenson and Holy by Timothy O’Keefe. Specialized coaching by the Artistic Staff and many hours of dedicated rehearsal time leading up to this performance gave the dancers the confidence to shine and perform as professionals. Other performances have included dancing at Scott Theater with the Youth Dance Festival and at the Eisemann Center in North Dallas with Texas Ballet Theater School Dallas. In addition, Timothy O’Keefe choreographed a new “Peter and the Wolf” for the TBT II dancers which premiered February 2013. TBT II dancers performed with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Symphony Conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya at Bass Hall in eight shows spanning 4 days for over 7500 school children. These shows are now an annual part of TBT II’s performance schedule.
For the dancers, the most attractive feature of TBT II is performing in main stage productions such as Ben Stevenson’s annual The Nutcracker. TBT II dancers usually perform in all full-length productions staged during the season and, on occasion, the Apprentices and Trainees will be cast to learn a mixed repertoire piece.
TBT II dancers take class and rehearse with the Company on a daily basis. In addition, they have the opportunity to take evening classes during the regular school program at TBT. Trainees receive a weekly stipend; Apprentices are paid as Company members with a salary with benefits. Furthermore, all dancers receive a shoe allowance.
TBT II has big goals for its future: to dance for local elementary students who visit the studio as part of their school curriculum, exposing the younger audience to the magic and artistry of dance; to bring more new choreographic works to life; and to enhance the strength of the Company by learning from their unique TBT II experiences.