Houston Ballet Principal Dancer Amy Fote has, since joining the company in 2005, become a gem in Houston's dancing world. At the end of HB's performances of The Nutcracker in December, Fote will hang up her pointe shoes, and bid adieu to Houston audiences.
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Fote about her role at HB, her impending retirement, and what it feels like to be honored at this year's Jubliee of Dance (coming up on November 30). Below are some snippets from that interview, but to read it in its entirety, you'll have to pick up the winter issue of Downtown Magazine (on stands December 1!) Until then, here's your sneak peek:
Your last performances with the Houston Ballet will be this season’s production of The Nutcracker. What made you decide to retire in the middle of the season?
I went in last October (2011) to speak with our Artistic Director, Stanton Welch, about my decision to “take the next step” (I found it difficult to say the words retire). My thoughts were to finish at the end of last season, but through our conversation thought it would be wonderful to revisit some special ballets again this season. Although dance has always been a part of my life, in reflecting on my career I am satisfied and feel completely fulfilled with all that I have danced. I have given all that I can to this beautiful art form and know that there are other ways for me to contribute. I have been performing in The Nutcracker since I was a Bon Bon at eight years old and to finish with this holiday tradition at such a festive time of year will be wonderful. I still find it important to perform, as it is an introduction for so many ballet goers, and over the years has been where some of the best memories have been made.
What is your most memorable role with the Houston Ballet?
Without hesitation, I would have to say that the most memorable role I have danced has been Cio Cio San, in Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly. For me, that ballet has so many wonderful experiences wrapped up in it. The first time I was introduced to the work, I was guesting with The Royal New Zealand Ballet for three months, performing in both the north and south islands. As a dancer, it is so fulfilling to portray a character with such an emotional arc and to have the opportunity with numerous performances to grow with a ballet like that is rare. Each time I have revisited the ballet I find myself in a different stage in my life, and ultimately make different artistic choices. I love that, and that I continue to learn and push myself to be better.
What are your plans post-retirement?
Dance has always been a part of my life and is something that I feel very passionate about. For years to come I hope to continue contributing to this art form however, I am also looking forward to exploring my other interests. I love decorating, fashion and cooking and have ideas involving those, as well as an interest in communications. I am also planning on taking some college courses to add to my skill set.
To purchase tickets to Houston Ballet's The Nutcracker, or Jubliee of Dance, which honors Fote, please click here.
amy fote, houston ballet, jubilee of dance, the nutcracker