Ballet Is Back at the Wortham Theater Center

The Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance Onstage Dinner marks the triumphant return of the Houston Ballet to the Wortham Theater Center

Jim Nelson, Jamie and Mark Loveland; Photo by Wilson Parish
Jim Nelson, Jamie and Mark Loveland; Photo by Wilson Parish

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Margaret Alkek Williams; Photo by Wilson Parish
Margaret Alkek Williams; Photo by Wilson Parish

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Yuriko Kajiya, Akemi Saitoh; Photo by Wilson Parish
Yuriko Kajiya, Akemi Saitoh; Photo by Wilson Parish

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Jim Nelson, Jamie and Mark Loveland; Photo by Wilson Parish
Jim Nelson, Jamie and Mark Loveland; Photo by Wilson Parish

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Photos by Wilson Parish
Jim Nelson, Jamie and Mark Loveland; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Margaret Alkek Williams; Photo by Wilson Parish
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2021 Houston Ballet Onstage Dinner; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Allison and Troy Thacker; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Beth Madison, Ralph Burch, Vicki West; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Beth Muecke; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Brannon and Laura Robertson; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Cabrina Owsley, Kelli Blanton; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Connor Walsh, Leigh and Reggie Smith; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Donatella Benckenstein, Martha and Marvin McMurrey; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Edward and Deborah Koehler; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Hallie Vanderhider, Fady Armanious; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Ileana and Michael Trevino; Photo by Wilson Parish
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James Jordan and Shawn Stephens; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Jo and Jim Furr; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Kelley and Stephen Lubanko; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Kent A. Shaffer, Sara Kuy; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Leigh Smith, Jesse H. Jones, II; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Leticia Loya, Paul Loya; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Lilly Cullen, Corinne Davis; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Lynn Wyatt; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Phoebe and Bobby Tudor; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Richard Flowers, Angel Rios; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Mitchell B. George and Stanley Curtis, Jr.; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Stanton Welch AM, Judge Lina Hildago; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Stephanie Tsuru, Kristina Sommerville; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Ted and Melza Barr; Photo by Wilson Parish
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Yuriko Kajiya, Akemi Saitoh; Photo by Wilson Parish
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The Celebration

On Friday, September 30, 2021, The Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance Onstage Dinner was held on the Brown stage of the Wortham Theater Center to celebrate the return of Houston Ballet and the opening of its 2021-2022 season. Chairs, Jamie and Mark Loveland, welcomed in-person guests for the company’s return to the stage after 18 months.
 

The Story

Dressed in cocktail attire, the nearly 200 attendees were overjoyed to attend both The Margaret Alkek Williams Jubilee of Dance performance and the dinner. Opening remarks were delivered by Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Ballet Board President Leigh Smith. The performance premiered Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM’s, In Good Company, underwritten by Leticia Loya. It also included excerpts from fan favorites, Divergence and Play.
 

A dramatic lift of the stage’s red curtain only moments after the conclusion of the performance revealed tables draped in black linens with scarlet centerpieces, a tribute to Divergence created by Bergner and Johnson. Highlights of the delectable dinner prepared by Jackson and Company include a crab and charred Meyer lemon salad, beef tenderloin with Hudson Valley foie gras, and a strawberry Champagne terrine.
 

The Moments

A special tribute during the performance celebrated Principal Dancer Melody Mennite’s twentieth year with Houston Ballet, and Stanton Welch AM honored Jamie and Mark Loveland, Leticia Loya, and Margaret Alkek Williams with heartfelt remarks while the guests gathered in Orchestra before sitting down to dinner.
 

Raising nearly $250,000, the event was a record-breaking success for Houston Ballet. Occasions such as this have been crucial during the challenges presented by Hurricane Harvey and the pandemic. As the company returns to the stage, their funding ensures its ability to continue bringing ballet to an appreciative audience.
 

Guests: Stanton Welch AM, Jim Nelson, Margaret Alkek Williams, Leticia Loya, Leigh and Reggie Smith, Jesse H. JonesII, Phoebe and Bobby Tudor, Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan, Deborah and Edward Koehler, Laura and Brannon Robertson, Kent A. Schaffer and Shara Kuy, Stephanie Tsuru, Hallie Vanderhider, Akemi Saitoh, Melza and Ted Barr, Richard Flowers and Angel Rios, Jo and Jim Furr, Martha and Marvin McMurrey, Cabrina Owsley, Lilly Cullen, Lynn Wyatt, Mitchell B. George and Stanley Curtis Jr., Kelley and Stephen Lubanko, Beth Muecke, Allison and Troy Thacker, and Ileana and Michael Treviño.
 

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.