Vitacca Ballet Artists Sean Aaron Carmon and Melanie Ridley

After months of darkness, The Bender curtain rises again Feb. 27, this time for “A Night at the Ballet” featuring the Vitacca School for Dance.

Both the professional artists of Vitacca Ballet and the pre-professional studio company will perform Saturday, Feb. 27, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15.

And, as a special treat, the newly refurbished Humble Museum will be open to Bender guests prior to the performance. There is no charge to visit the museum.

Kelly Ann Vitacca is renowned for the advanced ballet technique and modern and contemporary movement that her gifted pre-professional dancers have brought to the Bender stage in their past performances and now, for the first time, she is bringing her professional dance company to the Lake Houston audience.

“Vitacca School of Dance has a reputation for nurturing excellence in young artists. Kelly Ann Vitacca’s attention to detail and artistry is unmatched and her company is a gift to our city,” said Jennifer Wooden, who oversees activities at both the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center and the Humble Civic Center.

“I am eager to see the long-awaited Vitacca professional ballet company premier on the Bender stage. What an honor,” Wooden said.

A native of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in performing arts in dance performance and extended studies in arts management, Vitacca loved her time on stage as a performer yet, even as a young artist, knew she wanted to be a creator.

“I’ve had the privilege of working aside so many amazing artists including my own students,” she said.

Taking what she learned as an artist and from working with so many creative performers, Vitacca and Ballet Master Phillip Broomhead took over the Dominic Walsh Dance Studio in 2012 to found the Vitacca Vocational School of Dance.

“I was eager to provide Houston with an internationally-acclaimed training program and offer Texas dancers a fresh training experience with dual focus in both classical and contemporary training,” Vitacca said. “We expanded the school yet again with a second location in The Woodlands in 2018.”

The Bender audience on Feb. 27 will see premier works by gifted choreographers Tina Kay Bohnstedt and Robbie Moore and performed by the professional artists of Vitacca Ballet and the pre-professional studio company.

“It is a mixed bill including classical and contemporary works offering something for all ages to enjoy,” she said.

Preview the talented professionals and pre-professionals on the Vitacca Facebook, YouTube and Instagram pages, @vitaccadancehouse.

“We are not interested in filling our studios with large classes,” Vitacca said. “We focus on small class settings and personal attention. The professionals on our Vitacca faculty roster bring their exceptional experience into those studios every day. We create experiences for our students and see them thrive.”

Vitacca’s faculty roster includes a Lake Houston connection.

“One of our founding seven dancers, Juliette Wooden, has returned home and we are delighted to have her on the Vitacca faculty,” said Vitacca.

Teacher Juliette Wooden and Bender director Jennifer Wooden are daughter and mother and you can bet that Jennifer will be just off stage enjoying the Vitacca performances.

Built in 1929 as Charles Bender High School, the renovated, refurbished and refreshed Bender now is the performing arts center for Humble and the entire Lake Houston area.

“A Night at the Ballet” signals the beginning of a memorable spring and summer’s worth of performances on the Bender stage including Sara Grace and Ally Venable performing April 24 and Galveston born blues guitarist Hamilton Loomis May 14.

Kenny Neal brings his Baton Rouge swamp blues back to the Bender June 1. Brian Holland and Carl Sonny Leyland bring their dueling pianos and Danny Coots’ drums to the Bender July 10.

Filling out the 2021 schedule are the Urban Achievers Brass Band Aug. 7, Derek Spence paying tribute to George Strait Sept. 11, the Jade Simmons Experience – Part 2 Oct. 9, and a special City of Humble Holiday Concert with Vicki Yohe and Orchestra Dec. 11.

The Vitacca Dance Project will perform twice, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 27. Tickets are $15. Call 281-446-4140, visit or log onto Facebook @Charles Bender Performing Arts Center.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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