two ballet dancers on stage


two ballet dancers on stage
Aaron Robison & Victoria Marr Photograph : Andrew Ross

Aaron Robison Joins as a Soloist

Soo Youn Cho Joins as a Demi Soloist

ballet dancer in arabesque on satrge
Soo Youn Cho Photograph : Rosalie O’Connor

HOUSTON, TEXAS– Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch announced plans today for the company’s 2012-2013 season, including promotions and additions of new dancers. Aaron Robison, previously a principal dancer with Barcelona Ballet (formerly Corella Ballet), begins his first full season as a soloist with Houston Ballet. Soo Youn Cho, formerly a principal dancer with Tulsa Ballet, also joins Houston Ballet as a demi soloist. Houston Ballet’s roster now stands at 55 dancers.

New Company Members

Aaron Robison was born in Coventry, England, but brought up in Barcelona. He trained with La Compania Juvenil de Ballet de Catlunya, at the Conservatorio de Barcelona and at the Royal Ballet School. In 2004, Mr. Robison received a number of prestigious awards including: Young British Dancer of the Year; gold medal in the Seoul International Ballet Competition; and the Encouragement award at the Prix de Lausanne. He joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2004 and was promoted to first artist in 2008. In 2010, he joined the Corella Ballet as a soloist and was promoted to principal in 2011. Mr. Robison now joins Houston Ballet as a soloist. He has performed roles in many contemporary and classical works including: Peter Wright’s Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty; Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Two Pigeons; George Balanchine’s Who Cares, Agon, Violin Concerto, and Theme and Variations, Serenade; David Bintley’s E=MC2, Cyrano, Take Five, Still Life at the Penguin Cafe, Hobson’s Choice, and The Shakespeare Suite; John Cranko’s Card Game, Brouillards, and Pineapple Poll; Stanton Welch’s Clear, Powder, Ninette De Valois, and Checkmate; Kenneth Mac Millan’s Romeo and Juliet and Elite Syncopations; Hans van Manen’s Twilight and Grosse Fugue; Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin; Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda; Christopher Wheeldon DVG and For Four; Twyla Tharpe’s In the Upper Room, and Ninette de Valois’s Checkmate. Garry Stewart created the principal couple role in Centre and it’s Opposite for Mr. Robison, and David Bintley created the roles for him in Take Five and E=mc2.


“I have known Aaron since he was a student at the Royal Ballet School. Even then, he has always had a great deal of potential with strong classical technique. He performed my work Powder when he was a soloist with the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2009, and danced my 2001 work Clear, set to the music of Bach, when he was a principal with Corella Ballet. He dances with a compelling poignancy and with each performance he continues to astonish the audience with the elevation of his jumps,” remarks Mr. Welch.


Soo Youn Cho was born in In Cheon, Korea. She trained at the Sun-Hwa Arts School, Canada National Ballet School with a full scholarship from the 2002 Prix de Lausanne, and John-Cranko Ballet School in Stuttgart, Germany. Ms. Cho has earned numerous awards: In 2001, she won a gold medal at the Korea Ballet Competition; bronze medal at the 2002 Varna Competition in Bulgaria; and in 2005 she won a gold medal at the Tanzolymp in Berlin. She danced professionally with Leipziger Ballet in Germany before joining Tulsa Ballet in 2007 where she was promoted to principal in 2010. Ms. Cho now joins Houston Ballet as a demi soloist. Her repertoire includes principal roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Nutckacker; John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew; Ben Stevenson’s Dracula; Stanton Welch’s Bruiser; Balanchine’s Theme and Variations; Ma Cong’s Blood Rush and Carmina Burana; Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations; William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; Hans van Manen’s Black Cake; Nacho Duato’s Remansos; Jorma Elo’s Slice to Sharp; Jiří Kylián’s Petit Mort and Six Dances; Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove and Nine Sinatra Songs; James Kudelka’s There, Below; Young Soon Hue’s This is Your Life; and Andre Prokovsky’s The Great Gatsby. Ms. Cho has worked with Val Caniparoli, Stanton Welch, Marcello Angelini, and Massimiliano Volpini.


“What initially impressed me about Soo Youn Cho was her charming demeanor. As rehearsals continued I noticed she had a very strong and natural acting ability plus a strong clean classical technique. She has an enormous amount of experience in performing many principal and soloist roles and possesses a great artistic maturity in her work.” commented Ballet Master Steven Woodgate.


New members of the corps de ballet include Houston Ballet II graduates Chun Wai Chan, Shahar Dori, and Jacquelyn Long.


Houston Ballet II graduates Liana Carpio, Satoko Konishi, Dylan Lackey, Zecheng Liang, Madeline Skelly, and Alyssa Springer join the company as apprentices. Derek Dunn also joins the company as an apprentice. Mr. Dunn trained at The Rock School for Dance Education and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Senior Division at the Youth America Grand Prix.


Promotions: Harper Watters

Apprentice Harper Watters has been promoted to corps de ballet. Mr. Watters was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Dover, New Hampshire where he began his dance training at the Portsmouth School of Ballet. Mr. Watters joined Houston Ballet as an apprentice in 2011. Mr. Watters has danced roles in ballets such as Stanton Welch’s Fingerprints, Blue, Brigade and The Long and Winding Road. In 2011 Watters placed 6th overall and received the contemporary dance award at the 2011 Prix de Lausanne.


Houston Ballet has six ranks of dancers: apprentice, corps de ballet, demi soloist, soloist, first soloist, and principal, the top level in the company.


About Houston Ballet

On February 17, 1969 a troupe of 15 young dancers made its stage debut at Sam Houston State Teacher’s College in Huntsville, Texas. Since that time, Houston Ballet has evolved into a company of 55 dancers with a budget of $20.5 million (making it the United States’ fourth largest ballet company by number of dancers), a state-of-the-art performance space built especially for the company, Wortham Theater Center, the largest professional dance facility in America, Houston Ballet’s $46.6 million Center for Dance which opened in April 2011, and an endowment of just over $57.6 million (as of May 2011).

Australian choreographer Stanton Welch has served as artistic director of Houston Ballet since 2003, raising the level of the company’s classical technique and commissioning many new works from dance makers such as Christopher Bruce, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Julia Adam, Natalie Weir and Nicolo Fonte. Executive director James Nelson serves as the administrative leader of the company, a position he assumed in February 2012 after serving as the company’s general manager for over a decade.


Houston Ballet has toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Over the last decade, the company has appeared in London at Sadler’s Wells, at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Ottawa, in six cities in Spain, in Montréal, at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in New York at City Center and The Joyce Theater, and in cities large and small across the United States. Houston Ballet has emerged as a leader in the expensive, labor-intensive task of nurturing the creation and development of new full-length narrative ballets.


Houston Ballet Orchestra was established in the late 1970s and currently consists of 61 professional musicians who play all ballet performances at Wortham Theater Center under music director Ermanno Florio.


Houston Ballet’s Education and Outreach Program has reached over 20,500 Houston area students (as of the 2011-2012 season). Houston Ballet’s Academy has 509 students and has had four academy students win prizes at the prestigious international ballet competition the Prix de Lausanne, with one student winning the overall competition in 2010.



New Company Members

Aaron Robison            Soloist

Soo Youn Cho            Demi Soloist

Chun Wai Chan          Corps de Ballet

Shahar Dori                 Corps de Ballet

Jacquelyn Long           Corps de Ballet

Liana Carpio               Apprentice

Derek Dunn                Apprentice

Satoko Konishi           Apprentice

Dylan Lackey              Apprentice

Zecheng Liang            Apprentice

Madeline Skelly          Apprentice

Alyssa Springer           Apprentice



Harper Watters            Corps de Ballet