Stanton Welch Houston Ballet Artistic Director
In July 2003, the acclaimed Australian choreographer Stanton Welch assumed the leadership of Houston Ballet, America’s fourth largest ballet company, as artistic director. Since his arrival, Mr. Welch has transformed Houston Ballet by raising the level of classical technique, infusing the company with new energy, drive and vision; introducing works by distinguished choreographers to the repertoire; and attracting some of the world’s best coaches to Houston to work with the dancers. He has created works for such prestigious international companies as Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Royal Danish Ballet.
Mr. Welch was born in Melbourne to Marilyn Jones, O.B.E., and Garth Welch, A.M., two of Australia’s most gifted dancers of the 1960s and 1970s. In 1986 he began his training at the late age of seventeen, quickly winning a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School. In 1989 he was engaged as a dancer with The Australian Ballet, where he rose to the rank of leading soloist, performing such principal roles as Des Grieux in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, Lensky in John Cranko’s Onegin, Camille in Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow, and Alan Strang in Equus. He has also worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jiří Kylían, Nacho Duato, and Maurice Béjart.
Mr. Welch’s choreographic career developed during his time with The Australian Ballet. In 1990 he received his first choreographic commission from the company, marking the beginning of a series of commissioned works over the next fourteen years and developing his diverse choreographic style. For The Australian Ballet he has created The Three of Us (1990); Of Blessed Memory (1991), for which he was voted best new choreographer in 1992 by readers of the British magazine Dance & Dancers; Divergence(1994), which has been preformed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and City Center in New York; full-length productions of Madame Butterfly (1995) and Cinderella (1997); Red Earth (1996); X (1999); andVelocity (2003). In 2005, Mr. Welch created a lavish new staging of The Sleeping Beauty for The Australian Ballet. Madame Butterfly has become a signature work for Mr. Welch internationally, and is in the repertoires of Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Atlanta Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, and Boston Ballet.
In 1995, Mr. Welch was named resident choreographer of The Australian Ballet. That same year, he was commissioned to create Corroboree(Wildlife) for The Australian Ballet to perform at “United We Dance,” a dance festival in San Francisco celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter and featuring major companies from across the world premiering new works.
Mr. Welch has been extremely active internationally, receiving numerous commissions from the world’s leading companies. For Houston Ballet, he has choreographed Indigo (1999), Bruiser (2000), Tales of Texas (2004),Blindness (2004), Bolero (2004), Nosotros (2005), Brigade (2006), a spectacular new staging of Swan Lake (2006), The Four Seasons (2007),Punctilious (2007), The Core (2008), A Doll’s House (2008), Mediæval Bæbes (2008), Marie (2009), Elements (2009), 40 (2009), La Bayadère(2010) and The Ladies (2010). For San Francisco Ballet: Maninyas (1996),Taiko (1999), Tu Tu (2003), Falling (2005) and Naked (2008). For American Ballet Theatre: Clear (2001), two one-act ballets as part of Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison (2002); and a new version ofCarmina Burana as part of the evening-length work HereAfter (2003). For BalletMet: Evolution and Don Quixote, both full-length works.
For Atlanta Ballet: A Dance in the Garden of Mirth (2000). For Royal Danish Ballet: Ønsket (1998) and Ander (1999). For Birmingham Royal Ballet: Powder (1998). For Moscow Dance Theatre: Green (2000) andOPUS X (2001), both created for Ms. Nina Ananiashvili’s group.
Mr. Welch has also staged works for Colorado Ballet; Cincinnati Ballet; Tulsa Ballet; Texas Ballet Theater; The Royal Ballet School; Singapore Dance Theatre; Royal New Zealand Ballet; and Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY.