Magazine article Pointe

Texas Ballet Theater

Magazine article Pointe

Texas Ballet Theater

Article excerpt

Ben Stevenson brings his passion for telling stones to Texas Ballet Theater.

Ballet has many faces, and Texas Ballet Theater Artistic Director Ben Stevenson finds himself drawn to scores of them. "I love doing abstract work and one-act ballets." Stevenson begins. So how have story ballets become so central to his company? "Doing musicals and working with theater directors gave me a way to tell stories. I got into doing story ballets, and people know me for them. If you do something and do it well, people want you to keep doing it," he says.

Whether elegant, tortured, explosive, or romantic, Stevenson's full-length story ballets have become the essence of TBTs repertoire. As artistic director, Stevenson shepherds his dancers as a company of passionate, thinking artists. "It's not only about the steps," TBT dancer André Silva explains. "It's not just about how many turns you can do or how high you can jump. You can't just be a technician-you have to be the whole package."

Silva's words echo Stevenson's lifelong adoration of the dramatics of performance, which is reflected in the many story ballets that now comprise the TBT repertoire, including Giselle, Coppélia, Cleopatra and Peer Gynt. Stevenson's vision for the future of TBT reveals an unwavering dedication to both dancers and the art of dance. "What I want is to make a good place for dancers with stronger contracts-longer contracts with better pay. Dancers work incredibly hard. Without them there is no company," Stevenson says emphatically. "And, eventually, I hope to build a repertoire all our own."

The dancers of TBT are consummate performers, infused with Stevenson's infectious spirit. "Even without a plot, dancers have to have something in their heads [to draw from]," he explains. The dancers of TBT take Stevenson's sentiment to heart. "Our strength is performing, and that's because of Ben-straight out because of Ben," says TBT dancer Carolyn Judson. …

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