Message from Artistic Director, Adam Sklute
Dear Ballet West Family,
I’m writing as I wanted to be the first to share that two of our wonderful principal artists – Beckanne Sisk and Chase O’Connell have accepted principal artist contracts with The Houston Ballet for the 2022-2023 Season. They will be dancing with Houston for the year and possibly returning to appear in one or two ballets with Ballet West, pending their schedule.
I first saw Beckanne competing in YAGP at the age of 16. A colt of a dancer, she was an astonishingly beautiful girl with an amazing combination of bravura, line, and coolness. I offered her a position with BWII and she joined at 17. At age 18 I nominated her for the Princess Grace Award in Dance and she won, becoming only the second dancer in Ballet West history to win this prestigious award (the first being Jeff Rogers in the 1980’s). At the Award Celebration in New York, I told her that there would come a time when she could go to any company in the world. I asked her then to let me help her when that time came. She joined Ballet West that year and was catapulted to stardom first by being thrown in, last minute, to the demanding leading role of Kitri in our production of Don Quixote, and then by being featured in our television docu-drama Breaking Pointe on the CW network for two seasons in 2012 and 2013. Beckanne moved quickly through the ranks and since 2015 has been a leading principal with us. A world class exponent of all the great ballerina roles, she is a rare and magical artist.
In 2012, Chase O’Connell attended a huge open call audition for Ballet West in New York City. Out of over 300 dancers vying for exactly 3 spots available in BWII, he was one of two men to whom I offered contracts. Very tall, with matinee idol good-looks, elegance, and a pristinely clean technique. He too quickly moved through the ranks becoming a principal in 2016. An exceptional partner he has become the perfect danseur noble.
They met here at Ballet West and grew to become a partnership on-stage and off. Engaged since 2019, their wedding had to be postponed due to COVID.
Both of them are consummate artists and tireless workers. They are constantly finding ways to expand their craft and explore their artistry. They are always hungry for correction and coaching and dive deep into every role they get – whether it’s a character or pure dance, they will always find the meaning in their movement or interpretation.
I support Beckanne and Chase in this move. These are world-class artists who deserve to be experienced by audiences around the world. I am proud and honored that Ballet West and I could help guide them on their journey as they grew to this outstanding level. While I hope they will always call BW and SLC home, Houston is just the beginning for them as I see it.
They have given Ballet West so much and will always be welcome back if they choose to return.
Beckanne and Chase will complete this season with us at The Choreographic Festival in May. Then please join me in wishing them bon voyage, a bientot and bonne chance!
Artistic Director, Ballet West