Karina González And Charles-Louis Yoshiyama Star In Houston Ballet’s Manon

The lead dancers discuss Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s famed work which is Houston Ballet’s season opener.


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Male and female Houston Ballet dancers pose for a photo
Dancers Karina Gonzalez & Charles-Louis Yoshiyama who dance the lead roles in Houston Ballet’s Manon
So shocking was Manon when it debuted in London in the 1974 that one critic wrote "Basically, Manon is a slut and Des Grieux is a fool and they move in the most unsavoury company."

Sir Kenneth MacMillan's adaptation of the 1731 Abbé Prévost novel, danced to music of Jules Massenet (but not from his opera of the same name), could hardly be described as a, "fairy tale ballet" like Swan Lake or The Sleeping Beauty; Manon is a heroine of questionable morals and both she and her lover Des Grieux are criminals by the ballet's close.

However, the evening-length story ballet has rooted itself very firmly in the standard repertoire of most large ballet companies. Built around several major pas-de-deux for the two lovers, the work has garnered an enduring reputation as a favorite among both audiences and dancers.

Houston Ballet has opened its 2015-16 season with MacMillan's Manon. Principal Karina González and first soloist Charles-Louis Yoshiyama are dancing the lead roles for the last time during this Sunday's matinée performance at the Wortham Center's Brown Theater.

Karina and Charles-Louis talk with Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn about dancing this tragedy.