Ballet academy

Houston Ballet Announces Melissa Bowman as Director of New Houston Ballet Academy

Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM and Houston Ballet Academy Principal Vicki Attard are pleased to announce that the Academy’s Elementary School Principal Melissa Bowman has been named the next Principal of the Houston Ballet Academy, overseeing a variety of programs designed to support students from their first introduction. to movement through a full cycle of ballet studies. Ms. Bowman will immediately step into her new role with the Houston Ballet Academy as Assistant Director, while working hand-in-hand with Director Vicki Attard. The transition will continue throughout the summer and on June 4, 2018, Ms. Bowman will assume the title of Director of the Academy.

Welch said, “Houston Ballet Academy is the very foundation of Houston Ballet, where we are building our future company. From performing with prestigious companies around the world to her tremendous work as a dance teacher, Melissa has an impressive resume. but more importantly, she is passionate about Houston Ballet’s dedication to the development of young dancers.”

Bowman began her classical ballet training at age six with Lois Ellyn, formerly of New York City Ballet, and at age eleven began training with Stanley Holden and Margaret Graham Hills, both of London’s Royal Ballet. At fifteen, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join the corps de ballet of the American Ballet Theatre, where she danced for the next seven years. During her rich performing career, she founded her own ballet company, the Emerson Dance Theatre, and danced with the Bern Ballet in Switzerland and Leipzig where she launched her career as an arts administrator. . Returning to the United States in 1999, she has since been a choreographer for the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, assistant director of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of America Ballet Theater and, with her husband Richard, founded the Danse Conservatory and the California Dance. Theater Youth Ballet where she served as Artistic Director for five years before joining Houston Ballet as Director of the Academy Lower School.

Ms. Bowman said: “Every step of my career has led me to this amazing opportunity. It is an incredible honor to lead the prestigious Houston Ballet Academy to even greater heights and play an even greater role in preparing the dancers of tomorrow.

The Houston Ballet became a company of 59 dancers with a budget of $33 million (making it the fifth largest ballet company in the United States). With a state-of-the-art performance space purpose-built for the company, which is the largest professional dance facility in America, the $46.6 million Houston Ballet Center for Dance opened in April 2011, with an endowment of just over $74.1 million (as of July 2017).

Australian choreographer Stanton Welch AM has been Artistic Director of Houston Ballet since 2003, raising the standard of the company’s classical technique and commissioning works from dance makers such as Christopher Bruce, Alexander Ekman, William Forsythe, Ji?í Kylián, Trey McIntyre, Julia Adam, Edwaard Liang and George Balanchine. Executive Director James Nelson is the company’s chief administrative officer, a position he assumed in February 2012 after serving as the company’s managing director for more than a decade.

The Houston Ballet has toured extensively nationally and internationally. Over the past fifteen years the company has performed in London at Sadler’s Wells, the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia, six cities in Spain, Montreal and Ottawa, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, New York at the City Center and The Joyce Theatre, at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, at the Arts Center Melbourne State Theater in Melbourne, Australia, in Los Angeles at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and in cities large and small across the States -United. The Houston Ballet has become a leader in the costly and laborious task of fostering the creation and development of comprehensive new narrative ballets.

write in Dance times in June 2012, dance critic Margaret Willis praised Houston Ballet and noted that “During her own tenure, (Stanton) Welch raised the bar and Houston Ballet now shows a group of dancers in full form.With quick and careful footwork, they are technically adept and have strong, wide leaps and expansive, flowing movements.The dancers’ musicality shines through in their work, dancing together with elegance and refinement – and they are also a beautiful group!… if ballet was an Olympic sport, see the Houston Ballet well on its way to winning gold.”

The Houston Ballet Orchestra was established in the late 1970s and consists of 61 professional musicians who perform for Houston Ballet performances at the Wortham Theater Center under the direction of Music Director Ermanno Florio.

Houston Ballet’s education and community engagement program reaches more than 60,000 people in the Houston area each year. The Houston Ballet Academy teaches over a thousand students each year, and approximately 50% of the current company was trained by the Academy.

For more information about Houston Ballet, visit

Photo credit: Jaime Lagdameo