By: Hal de Becker




April is going to be a busy month for Terpsichore at UNLV. The Performing Arts Center (PAC) and the University’s dance department will each be presenting appealing programs.


‘Houston Ballet II’ will perform classical and contemporary works at the PAC’s 1500 seat concert hall, and the dance department follows its recently successful production, “Let’s Dance”, with a new program entitled “The Last Dance”.


Houston Ballet has an illustrious history and is ranked fourth among America’s major ballet companies.It was founded in 1955 by Tatiana Semenova, a former Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancer.But it was under the tenure of choreographer/director Ben Stevenson, the troupe’s artistic director from 1976 to 2003, that the company gained national prominence.


In 1989 Sir Kenneth MacMillan of Britain’s Royal Ballet fame became artistic associate of Houston Ballet, a position he held until his death in 1992.During those years he added greatly to the troupe’s development and luster.


Houston Ballet’s academy focuses primarily on the Russian Vaganova system of classical ballet but also includes instruction in the RAD and Ceccheti methods.Its guest teachers include Violette Verdy formerly of NYCB and Paris Opera Ballet and John Eliasen of the Danish Ballet.


In addition to classical instruction, the contemporary schools of Martha Graham, Jose Limon and Merce Cunningham are also taught.Mark Morris is one of the guest instructors for contemporary classes.


‘Houston Ballet II’ is an outgrowth of the academy and is the organization’s second company.It provides its older, most gifted students with opportunities to perform works spanning the classical and contemporary repertoire.


The “Last Dance” refers to senior students of UNLV’s dance department who will soon be graduating. Fifteen students will audition what may be their final choreographies at the University. After careful consideration by faculty members nine of the works will be chosen for presentation on the program.


The program will include ballet, jazz, modern and more.It will be performed on campus in studio/theater 111 of the Fine Arts Building April 26, 27, 28.Each of the youthful dance artists is sure to put their best foot forward for this significant event.

Ticket information for ‘Houston Ballet II’ and “The Last Dance” is available at the UNLV box office or by phone at 895-2787.PAC’s website covering the entire season’s performances