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Photography: Wilson Parish 

The Celebration

The state-of-the-art tent at the Margaret Alkek Williams Center for Dance welcomed over 500 ballet lovers, as well as Houston Ballet dancers, to the 2023 Houston Ballet Ball on Saturday, February 4, 2023. Chaired by Allison and Troy Thacker, the event honored Hallie Vanderhider, a devoted supporter of Houston Ballet and a member of its Board of Trustees.


The Story

Upon entering the venue, the black-tie-clad guests stepped into a southern paradise mirroring the artistic vision behind the ballet Summer and Smoke. Based on the play of the same name by Tennessee Williams, the much-anticipated production will have its world premiere on March 9, 2023, and will be underwritten by Hallie Vanderhider. Richard Flowers and the Events Company captured the essence of the Mississippi marshlands with life-size trees hung with Spanish moss, a painted bayou landscape, and a dance floor tailored to mimic rippling bayou waters. Adding to the ambience, fragrant magnolia branches, cream roses, blue thistles, and southern cattails were perfectly placed throughout.


While enjoying live music and sipping handcrafted cocktails, attendees perused the silent auction items, which featured Jimmy Choo shoes for every season, a private cooking class with Chris Shepherd, a Tootsie’s luncheon, and much more. Sitting down to the three-course dinner prepared by City Kitchen, guests were treated to Mirliton soup; grilled filet of prime-aged beef tenderloin with a tobacco onion, corn succotash, fresh asparagus, and pillowy buttermilk biscuits; and a warm chocolate fondant paired with pistachio crème anglaise, sweet toffee, vanilla ice cream, and shortbread. After dinner, participants danced the night away to the swing tunes of Big Blast and the Party Masters.


The Moments

As a parting gift, attendees received a two-piece set of champagne and cheesecake truffles from Winfield’s Chocolate Bar.


The event raised $1.5 million for Houston Ballet’s mission to inspire a lasting love and passion for dance through performances, artistic excellence, and various educational programs.         


Guests: Allison and Troy Thacker; Hallie Vanderhider; Stanton Welch AM; Jim Nelson; Stephanie Tsuru; Laura and Brannon Robertson; Christopher Venegas; Deborah and Edward Koehler; Margaret Alkek Williams; Richard Flowers; Kristy and Chris Bradshaw; Anne and Albert Chao; Phoebe and Bobby Tudor; Beth and Nick Zdeblick; Roslyn and Derrick Mitchell; Mignon and Stephen Gill; Heidi and Marcus Smith; Dr. Kevin Varner; Jay Jones and Terry Wayne Jones; Leigh and Reggie Smith; S. Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan; Lynn Wyatt; and Houston Ballet company dancers, including Principals and First Soloists: Soo Youn Cho; Jessica Collado, Karina Gonzalez; Yuriko Kajiya; Melody Mennite; Chase O’Connell; Beckanne Sisk; Connor Walsh; Chandler Dalton; Tyler Donatelli; Monica Gomez; and Harper Watters.


About Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet is committed to maintaining and enhancing its status as: A classically trained company with a diverse repertory whose range includes the classics as well as contemporary works; A company that attracts the world's best dancers and choreographers and provides them with an environment where they can thrive and further develop the art form; An international company that is accessible to broad and growing local, national, and international audiences; A company with a world-class Academy that provides first rate instruction for professional dancers and meaningful programs for non-professional dancers; A company with state-of-the-art facilities for performances, rehearsals, and ongoing operations.

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