Harper Watters is a Corps de Ballet member of the Houston Ballet. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia then later moved to Dover, New Hampshire where he began his training at Portsmouth School of Ballet.
At the age of 15, Harper auditioned and received a full scholarship to Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, a boarding school in Natick, Massachusetts. He credits his time at Walnut Hill as the true moment his dance career began. Prior to auditioning, Harper was enrolled in dance classes three times per week at a dance competition studio. Walnut Hill offered him the opportunity to further his study of dance and train among teachers and peers who shared the same passion.
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”
After returning from a summer intensive with Washington Ballet (on full scholarship), he realized his capabilities as a classical ballet dancer and his priorities began to change. He began to watch other classical male dancers on YouTube, Principals with major companies, that inspired him. One, Joseph Walsh, was a dancer who attended Walnut Hill and was now a Principal with the Houston Ballet.
On the advice of his instructors, Harper attended the Houston Ballet Summer intensive, again on full scholarship. Having danced several principal roles at Walnut Hill, Harper walked into the 6-week summer intensive highly confident. Within the first combination, surrounded by Houston Ballet II students of Ballet Master Claudio Munoz, he quickly realized he had so much more to learn. Paying close attention, absorbing every correction, he realized that the Houston Ballet company was where he needed to dance. He also realized that in order to achieve his goal he would need to leave Walnut Hill and audition for Houston Ballet II. He was accepted on the spot.
Harper was a member of Houston Ballet II from 2009 – 2011. In 2011, he competed at the Prix de Lausanne Ballet Competition where he won 6th overall as well as the contemporary dance award an his apprenticeship. Watters joined Houston Ballet as an apprentice in 2011. He was promoted to the Corps in 2012.
Harper has enjoyed dancing roles such as Performer in Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère, various roles such as Gopak and Lead Flower in Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker, as well as roles in Stevenson’s Giselle and Romeo and Juliet; George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Jewels and Ballet Imperial. He has danced Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes, Twyla Tharp’s Brahms-Haydn Variations, Stanton Welch’s Divergence and Clear; Jerome Robbin’s The Concert; Trey Mcintyre’s Peter Pan; and Jiri Kylian’s Sinfonietta. He danced in the World Premiere of Edwaard Liang’s Murmuration and created roles in Azsure Barton’s Angular Momentum and Stanton Welch’s Rite of Spring.
Dancer Answer: Advice for Aspiring Young Dancers
Q: Claire from PA -I am interested in finding a year round trainee program. What advice do you have for finding the right place?
A: Harper-The best place is the place where you get the most attention. So, do not necessarily focus only on the big name places but consider companies that show you a lot of attention, even if they are not a big name.
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