Arts / Performing Arts

Lynn Wyatt Comes to the Rescue, Saving the Houston Ballet

Diva Keeps Dancers on Their Toes Despite Harvey’s Destruction

BY // 10.17.17
photography Courtesy of Houston Ballet

Houston Grand Opera, the Alley Theatre and Houston Ballet have long felt the love from the city’s leading performing arts patron, Lynn Wyatt. This fall, she has stepped in with a generous gift that will keep the ballet company on its toes in the best of circumstances despite the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey.

Flood waters ravaged Wortham Theater, the ballet’s home, not only destroying costumes, shoes and props, but also taking away, in essence, the theater stage specially designed for the rigors of the dance. The Wortham won’t be opening until mid-May at the earliest, sending the ballet and other performing arts groups scrambling for new venues.

Just as Houston Grand Opera has had to improvise and build what it has dubbed the “Resilience Theater,” transforming an exhibit hall in the George R. Brown Convention Center, so Houston Ballet needed a portable dance floor to ensure dancer safety and performance level as it seeks alternative venues across the city.

La Wyatt came forward to underwrite the cost of the portable dance floor that can also be used when Houston Ballet goes on tour. The arts patron and the ballet company moved quickly after Harvey, obtaining the flooring in time for the season launch of Mayerling at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in September. The pliable floor will be used when the company presents Poetry in Motion October 27 and 27 and the extraordinary Jubilee of Dance on November 7 in Sarofim Hall of the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. In December, the company will open The Nutcracker in Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Center, December 10-23, and move the production to the Hobby Center for performances December 30 through January 6.

Wyatt has been a Houston Ballet supporter for more than 30 years and has served on the board for most of those years. In 2013 she was the ballet ball honoree and, just to name one of her major contributions to the company, in 2015 she underwrote the cost of production of Stanton Welch’s world premier of “Giselle.”

While the ballet is moving venues, Houston Grand Opera is transforming the convention center exhibit hall into an intimate theater for “unconventional opera.” This temporary home for the first three productions of the 2017-2018 season will hold approximately 1,700 seats with a combination of stadium and floor seating. Surprisingly, every seat will be less than 100 feet from the stage, “giving audiences more insight into and connection with the theatrical process,” according to HGO.

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