By Maddie Grussendorf

(credit: Texas Ballet Theater/

Texas Ballet Theater begins its 2011-2012 season this October with four “Works of Artistry.” Artistic Director, Ben Stevenson, brings four shows to the DFW including two classics, one spoof, and Ben Stevenson’s twist on Dracula. But that’s not everything. The season is ending in an innovative way with the introduction of a new concept: Portraits Ballet Festival.

The season begins with a ballet classic, Giselle, but for those of us in North Texas it will be an original treat. Giselle has yet to be seen in North Texas, and audience members will witness it for the first time through Stevenson’s artistic rendition. Giselle tells the classic story of girl meets boy, then girl falls for boy, but ends with an unsavory twist. Giselle, who is a young peasant girl, finds true love with the young Duke Albrecht of Silesia while he is disguised as a peasant named Loys. Giselle of course falls madly in love with him, only to be driven to madness, and eventually death, once she finds out he has deceived her. The ballet follows Giselle’s ghost into an otherworldly forest while she tries to protect her lost love from Willis, a group of evil female spirits. Giselle is running from October 21-23 at Bass Performance Hall. Purchase tickets here.

Following Giselle is a holiday favorite that everyone has either seen on stage or read in a storybook. Stevenson brings The Nutcracker to both Bass Performance Hall and the Winspear Opera House starting in November. We’re all familiar with the story of Clara, her magical Nutcracker Prince, and the 40-foot Christmas tree. The Nutcracker has something for everyone: the toy soldiers for the boys, the waltzing flowers for the girls, and the ability to recapture that feeling of magic for all the adults. But Stevenson brings something new for the adults as well: The Nutcracker’s pop-culture remix, The Nutty Nutcracker. This year marks the third year that this naughty nugget will take its stand on the stage, as it replaces children’s dancing sugarplums with “adults only” humor and mayhem. The original Nutcracker will be performed at Bass Performance Hall from December 9-24th and the Winspear Opera House from November 25th-December 4th. The Nutty Nutcracker is a make-or-miss performance and will be shown for one night only at Bass Performance Hall on December 23. Purchase  tickets for The Nutcracker click here. Purchase tickets for The Nutty Nutcracker here.

(credit: Texas Ballet Theater/

Stevenson’s Dracula follows The Nutcracker combo, aiding to any overzealous holiday hangover that you might have. This February Stevenson represents red in a whole new way partnering the music of Franz Liszt with the timeless tale of vampire love. However this time Dracula’s bride might bite back. Dracula is running from February 24 – 26th at Bass Performance Hall. Purchase tickets here.

Stevenson’s four “Works of Artistry” are the bulk of the 2011-2012 TBT season. But the season continues on even after those productions in a brand new way. The season will close with a new concept: Portraits Ballet Festival. During two weekends in April, six short works will be performed at the Wyly Theatre. Weekend one, running April 20-22nd, will include: George Balanchine’s Apollo, Ben Stevenson’s neoclassical Bartok, and World Premiere with choreography done by company member Carl Coomer. Weekend two, running April 27-29th, will include: Ben Stevenson’s Image, highlighting the life of Marilyn Monroe; Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, meshing African rhythms and Bach; and World Premiere with choreography done by company member Peter Zweifel. Purchase tickets here.