Ballet Austin, http://www.balletaustin.org
Location: Downtown Austin Texas, The Butler Dance Education Center
501 West 3rd Street Austin, TX 78701
Artistic Director: Stephen Mills
Current Season: 5 playbills including the Fire Bird, The Nutcracker, Belle Redux/ A Tale of Beauty and the Beast, Director’s Choice, Swan Lake
Theatre Residence: None, but performs at the Long Center
Dancers Hired: 21, Ballet Austin also has a second company for apprentices. A lot of ballet companies use second companies as fillers for their main company’s season and, to test dancers as the transition from student to teacher. Ballet Austin employs 10 dancers.
Budget: Unknown. But Ballet Austin does boast a numerous amount of corporate sponsors and underwriters. Financially, Ballet Austin just might be one of the more fiscally responsible companies around.
Affiliated School: Ballet Austin Academy
Annual Tuition: $3,600
Summer Program: yes.
Ballet Austin has been charming audiences for 57 years. Most people don’t really know Ballet Austin as the classical type, as their strong suit comes in contemporary and new works. I think their biggest break through was their Light Project, in fact it was so inspiring, I auditioned for them. I auditioned in January at the company auditions and was offered a traineeship, and a full ride to the summer program.
Unfortunately, after arriving in Texas, within the first week of being there, I realized that Ballet Austin was not for me. It wasn’t because the program was bad, in fact that program had amazing faculty. I was actually quite fond of taking class with Michelle Martin, I was not fond of the guest faculty but that was my opinion. I think I was just not a fan of Texas. I actually think of the group of trainees that I was with, no one actually joined Ballet Austin. I know Ashley Jackson went to join LINES after the summer, and Scott went to Statestreet. I want to say that Brian went to Ballet Met, or some other midwest company. And so on… But that doesn’t mean Ballet Austin isn’t good.
In fact Ballet Austin is amazing. Especially for those dancers who prefer the look and feel of contemporary ballet. Anne Marie Melendez and Paul Michael Bloodgood definitely are Ballet Austin’s charming couple. They are married, but they both possess numerous talents and bring them all to their dancing and the dance community. Orland Julius Canova possess a Balanchine flare, and brings a genuine quality to the stage. The company has definitely aged together, most of the company seems to be around the same age, and actually balancing family and personal life. Like all ballet companies do, I am excited to see the turnover at Ballet Austin and what the next crop of Ballet Austin dancers will bring. I think Stephen Mills definitely has a way of creating his dancers, which possess a very unique look. In comparison to the other Texas companies, I definitely prefer Ballet Austin the most.
5 responses to “Company Profile: Ballet Austin”
Have you seen Houston Ballet? Thoughts?
I have seen Houston Ballet twice, and unfortunately I am just not a big fan. Jessicamariamacfarlane might have more insight.
Houston Ballet is exceptional with each coming season. It’s an exciting time for their dancers and audience, and I highly recommend their mixed programs, especially if Associate Choreographer Christopher Bruce has a piece on the bill! They are more classically trained than Ballet Austin with dancers from all over the world and from other major ballet companies, and they have a large company so they can successfully create the classics on a large scale better than Ballet Austin. But they also spend a large amount of time with contemporary ballet choreographers and have strong Balanchine-ballet influence each year. They are ranked the 5th largest and one of the leading ballet companies in the nation. I highly recommend seeing them live 🙂 Live orchestra 9 times out of 10, too.
Not a fan of Texas 🙁 As a native Texasn, this is disheartening to hear, as other dancers obviously feel the same way. I wonder it is that what we do here that scares great young dancers away… But I’m glad you profiled Ballet Austin and respect their efforts in dance. Personally, they aren’t even on my top 3 favorite Texas companies. I do love their facility though!