Mr. Stevenson’s career began in London, England where he received his dance training at Arts Educational School. Upon graduation he was awarded the prestigious Adeline Genee Gold Medal, the highest award given to a dancer by the Royal Academy of Dancing. At the age of 18, he was invited to join the world famous Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet (currently the Royal Ballet). During his time at the Royal Ballet, he was fortunate to perform with and learn from many of the great stars of ballet, including Sir Fredrick Ashton and Sir Kenneth MacMillan. A few years later, his career would take him to the London Festival Ballet when Sir Anton Dolin invited him to become a Principal Dancer and to perform leading roles in several classic ballets.
In 1967 the English National Ballet asked him to stage his first ballet, the highly successful production of The Sleeping Beauty, which starred Dame Margot Fonteyn. A year after staging the ballet in England, Mr. Stevenson arrived in the United States, lending his vast talents and experience to productions across the country. At the request of Rebekah Harkness, he journeyed to New York where he assumed the position of Artistic Director of the Harkness Ballet. In 1970 he and Fredrick Franklin became the Co-Artistic Directors of the National Ballet in Washington, D.C. While there, he choreographed Cinderella and staged a new production of The Sleeping Beauty for the inaugural season of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
In 1976 Mr. Stevenson was enticed to move to Houston, Texas and become the Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet. Over the next 27 years, he nurtured the Houston Ballet from a small provincial ensemble to one of the largest and most respected ballet companies in the country and around the world. During his tenure at the Houston Ballet, Mr. Stevenson developed the company’s repertoire by acquiring works of the world’s most respected choreographers, commissioning new works, staging classics and choreographing new works himself. While there, he founded a school and used his skills as a teacher to develop dancers. As a result, he trained several generations of world-renowned dancers, including Janie Parker, Carlos Acosta, Lauren Andersen, Li Cunxin and many others. He is now using those remarkable abilities to accomplish the same for Texas Ballet Theater.
Mr. Stevenson traveled to China in 1978 on behalf of the United States government as part of a cultural exchange program. At the invitation of the Chinese government, he has returned almost every year to teach at the Beijing Dance Academy. In 1985 he was instrumental in the creation of the Choreographic Department at the Beijing Dance Academy. He is now the only foreigner to have been made Honorary Faculty Member of the Beijing Dance Academy and the Shenyang Conservatory of Music.
In July 2003 Mr. Stevenson became Artistic Director of Texas Ballet Theater. Since his arrival, Texas Ballet Theater has experienced tremendous growth. Budget size has increased each year and now exceeds $7.3 million annually. He has continued to expand the company’s repertoire, staging both the classics and choreographing original works. The international Company now includes dancers from countries from countries around the world, including England, Cuba, Ukraine, Israel, Brazil and the United States. Texas Ballet Theater’s education programs have also grown, as enrollment at the Dallas and Fort Worth Academies have reached full capacity. Texas Ballet Theater is the resident ballet company at the two premier performance venues in North Texas, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas and the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas, Texas.
Mr. Stevenson is one of the great story tellers in the ballet world. His own choreography includes full length works: Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Don Quixote, the original production of Peer Gynt (which opened Norway’s Bergen Festival Gala in 1983), Dracula, The Snow Maiden and Cleopatra. He has received numerous awards for his choreography, including three gold medals at the International Ballet Competitions. He has staged his ballets for companies around the world, including the English National Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Paris Opera Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, La Scala, Munich State Opera Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, London City Ballet, Ballet de Santiago, Compañia Nacional De Danza, The Norwegian National Ballet, Estonia National Opera Ballet, and many other companies in the United States. His talents have also allowed him to work with celebrities such as John Travolta, Elton John, Chita Rivera and many others.
For his contributions to the world of international dance, Mr. Stevenson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors Listed in December 1999. In April 2000 he was presented with the Dance Magazine Award, one of the most prestigious honors on the American dance scene. In 2005 Mr. Stevenson was awarded the Texas Medal of Arts.
Ben Stevenson, a decorated and acclaimed ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer, has celebrated over 40 years of accomplishments in American ballet.