Ballet dancer

Meet the Houston Ballet dancer who performed an iconic Sylvie Guillem role while still in the Corps

With her curly red tresses, Houston Ballet soloist Alyssa Springer can look like she stepped out of a Botticelli painting, making her a natural choice in classic story ballets. But look at her in her contemporary work and you’ll see the great bones of her versatile technique. A favorite of guest choreographers, Springer was promoted to demi-soloist in 2017 and soloist earlier this year. She continually stands out for her acting skills and her ability to adapt her style to whatever the choreographer in the room needs.

Company:
Houston Ballet

Age:
27

Hometown:
Orange County, California

Training:
Houston Ballet Academy and private coaching with John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow

Springer with Houston Ballet director Charles-Louis Yoshiyama in Jiří Kylián Dream time.

Amitava Sarkar, courtesy of Houston Ballet.


Breakout role:
Springer wowed audiences in William Forsythe In the middle, a little raised in 2014 while still in the body. She danced the iconic role created by Sylvie Guillem. “He was so encouraging,” she says. “He pushed me to push my limits, but he also wanted me to enjoy the process.”

First item on her to-do list:
“I know it sounds cliché, but I gotta dance Gisele. There is so much to learn from her about forgiveness and unconditional love. The range of emotions creates such a dramatic arc.

What she is working on:
Balancing the humanity and physicality of its characters. “I want my dancing to feel natural, to connect with the audience, and to really share authentic emotions and experiences,” Springer says. An example is Princesse de Lamballe in Stanton Welch’s Married. “I had to remind myself that this was a real person who had a tragic end.”

Springer with Houston Ballet performers at Trey McIntyre’s Jacob’s Pillow In the dreams.

Christopher Duggan, courtesy of Houston Ballet.

What the director says:
“You’re always drawn to his charisma and his vulnerability on stage,” Welch says. “She shows great strength in her acting ability, bringing maturity to her roles.”

Putting things into perspective:
After Springer danced the Sugar Plum Fairy last season, she received a letter from a 5-year-old girl who drew a picture of her. “It was such a reminder that I could inspire the next generation.

In the wings:
Springer can be found with her dog, Bella, a rescue dachshund mix. Or, if she’s visiting family in California, she could be riding. “I’ve been horseback riding since I was a kid.”

Go digital:
She is also learning to code and has created a personal website. “I came across coding and thought it might be a useful skill,” she says. “I find it so rewarding when the jumble of letters and symbols I enter becomes a web page!”