Houston Matters

New Floor Keeps Houston Ballet Dancing After Harvey

With its Wortham Center home closed for flood repairs, the company may have to relocate of all it shows this season to alternate venues – venues that don’t necessarily have the proper dance floor. But a generous donation has ensured the show will go on.

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  • Sara Webb and Simon Ball in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Carousel (A Dance),” which will be featured in Houston Ballet’s mixed-repertory program, “Poetry in Motion,” Oct. 26 & 27 at The Hobby Center. (Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar)
    Sara Webb and Simon Ball in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Carousel (A Dance),” which will be featured in Houston Ballet’s mixed-repertory program, “Poetry in Motion,” Oct. 26 & 27 at The Hobby Center. (Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar)
  • Sara Webb and Simon Ball in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Carousel (A Dance),” which will be featured in Houston Ballet’s mixed-repertory program, “Poetry in Motion,” Oct. 26 & 27 at The Hobby Center. (Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar)
    Sara Webb and Simon Ball in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Carousel (A Dance),” which will be featured in Houston Ballet’s mixed-repertory program, “Poetry in Motion,” Oct. 26 & 27 at The Hobby Center. (Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar)
  • Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, Stanton Welch, and Houston Ballet Trustee, Lynn Wyatt (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Houston Ballet)
    Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, Stanton Welch, and Houston Ballet Trustee, Lynn Wyatt (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Houston Ballet)
  • Houston Ballet’s new portable dance floor is specifically made for ballet companies by Harlequin.   It has 181 (4x8) panels of maple veneer surface with shock-dampening rubber blocks on the back – between the panel and the stage floor.  These wood panels have a special interlocking mechanism that ensures a smooth surface.  The wood panels are then covered with a vinyl surface.  The floor is portable and will allow the company to perform at different venues throughout the season, as well as on tour. (Photo Credit: Harlequin Floors)
    Houston Ballet’s new portable dance floor is specifically made for ballet companies by Harlequin. It has 181 (4x8) panels of maple veneer surface with shock-dampening rubber blocks on the back – between the panel and the stage floor. These wood panels have a special interlocking mechanism that ensures a smooth surface. The wood panels are then covered with a vinyl surface. The floor is portable and will allow the company to perform at different venues throughout the season, as well as on tour. (Photo Credit: Harlequin Floors)
  • Houston Ballet’s new portable dance floor is specifically made for ballet companies by Harlequin.   It has 181 (4x8) panels of maple veneer surface with shock-dampening rubber blocks on the back – between the panel and the stage floor.  These wood panels have a special interlocking mechanism that ensures a smooth surface.  The wood panels are then covered with a vinyl surface.  The floor is portable and will allow the company to perform at different venues throughout the season, as well as on tour. (Photo Credit: Harlequin Floors)
    Houston Ballet’s new portable dance floor is specifically made for ballet companies by Harlequin. It has 181 (4x8) panels of maple veneer surface with shock-dampening rubber blocks on the back – between the panel and the stage floor. These wood panels have a special interlocking mechanism that ensures a smooth surface. The wood panels are then covered with a vinyl surface. The floor is portable and will allow the company to perform at different venues throughout the season, as well as on tour. (Photo Credit: Harlequin Floors)
  • Artists of Houston Ballet performing on their new portable dance floor at The Hobby Center in September 2017 during the company's production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s "Mayerling." (Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar)
    Artists of Houston Ballet performing on their new portable dance floor at The Hobby Center in September 2017 during the company's production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s "Mayerling." (Photo Credit: Amitava Sarkar)

When the Wortham was damaged by Harvey, Houston Ballet was left with no floor to dance on – literally.

That's because dancers can't perform on just any floor. It has to be even and smooth, but with some traction to avoid slipping, and it has to provide cushioning for their leaps and jumps.

"Without it, it wouldn't be safe ... They might risk serious injury," according to Angie Lane. She is Chief Development Officer for Houston Ballet, whose old portable dance floor wasn't large enough to cover the stages of other Houston venues.

Enter longtime Houston Ballet trustee, Lynn Wyatt, who immediately stepped in after Harvey to underwrite a larger, portable floor. This type of specialty surface can cost in the tens-of-thousands and has an interlocking technology, allowing the company to break it down and take it anywhere.

"This way the dancers will never stop rehearsing and the season will go on, and I'm just thrilled to be part of it, personally, I really am," says Wyatt.

With the new floor, Houston Ballet was able to open its season last month at The Hobby Center, and will use it again at The Hobby for performances of Poetry in Motion this Thursday, October 26 and Friday, October 27, as well as for The Nutcracker in December, which will have part of its run at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugarland.

The company hopes to announce updated venues and dates for the rest of its season in early November.

Listen to the complete interview with Lynn Wyatt on her passion for Houston Ballet and her donation, below:

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Listen to the complete interview with Angie Lane on Houston Ballet's new floor and recovery after Harvey, below:

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Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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