At the Ballet

Ballet Austin Presents

Hansel and Gretel

featuring Ballet Austin II

Ballet Austin II - Ballet Austin's apprentice company - revives Hansel and Gretel, February 22 - 23 and March 1 - 2 in the AustinVentures StudioTheater at Ballet Austin's Butler Dance Education Center. Following a sold out run in 2012, Ballet Austin II's playful re-imagining of the classic Grimm's fairy tale with choreography by Nelly van Bommel, is recommended for children ages 3 to 10 years old and their families.

Choreography by Nelly van Bommel

Performed by Ballet Austin II

AustinVentures StudioTheater

Feb 22 | 2:00 & 4:30PM
Feb 23 | 2:00 & 4:30 PM
Mar 1 | 2:00 & 4:30 PM
Mar 2 | 2:00 & 4:30 PM


Called "as visually vibrant as it is physically playful," by the Austin American-Statesman , Hansel and Gretel was awarded two Austin Critic's Table Awards for Best Dance Concert and Best Choreographer. Van Bommel, who competed as a finalist in Ballet Austin's New American Talent/Dance choreographic competition (set to return to The Long Center stage in March), also received two Austin Critic's Table Awards in 2010 for Fanfarnèta, a folk-tale inspired piece. Her work, which incorporates elements of spoken word, song and dance, proves a delightful match for this beloved children's story.

Program Notes


Hansel and Gretel are two young children who live with their parents in a cottage in the forest. The family is poor but Hansel and Gretel have many good friends to play with so their lives are happy.

One day, as the children  are chasing each other through the woods, they discover that they have wandered too far and are lost. They are frightened to be alone but the Forest Fairy comforts them by lulling them to sleep, just as she has done for many other lost and lonely children.

When they wake, they are very hungry. As if by magic, a trail of candy appears. Hansel and Gretel follow the path, filling their bellies with pieces of candy. Soon they discover that they have been tricked by a witch who has plans to eat Hansel for dinner. Helped by the witch’s own assistant and their loyal friends, Hansel and Gretel capture the witch.

They are soon reunited with their parents and celebrate together their triumph over the witch.


The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm recorded the German fairy tale Hansel und Gretel in 1812 as part of their collection Children's and Household Tales. Since its publication, the story has been edited on several occasions into the version that we know today.

Like many fairy tales, the story of Hansel and Gretel has existed for centuries in the oral tradition, and it shares common elements with folk tales from other cultures. For example, a Slavic folk tale, the character Baba Yaga is a wise but evil old woman, who, in some stories, eats children in her travelling house built on chicken legs. In France, the tale of The Lost Children tells of a brother and sister lost in the woods who are lured into a barn by the Devil, who fattens them up to be eaten.

In 1892, Engelbert Humperdinck (not the 1960s/70s English pop star!) composed Hansel und Gretel, an opera of the famous fairy tale. His sister had approached him to create music for the libretto she had written for her children, based on Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel and Gretel has also been adapted into at least 25 film and television versions since 1909, including versions from the United States, South Korea (a horror-genre film made in 2007), West Germany, and Lithuania. Tim Burton fans might be interested to know that amongst the US versions is a 1982 Burton spoof with a cast of Japanese actors that aired only once on the Disney Channel.




Cast & Credits






Forest Fairy


Witch’s Assistant



Choreography by Nelly van Bommel
Performed by Ballet Austin II

Artist Profiles

Nelly van Bommel, Choreographer
Nelly van Bommel was cited in Dance Magazine in 2010 as "1 of 25 to Watch" and is the Artistic Director of NØA DANCE in New York City. She received her training at the Académie de Danse Claudie Plaçais-Rocher and the Centre National de la Danse in Paris. She performed throughout Europe and North Africa with French choreographer Claudine Peny. In addition to her performing career, she also attended Université de Paris VIII -Sorbonne (France) and graduated with an MA in Comparative Literature.

Ms. van Bommel is a co-founder of the annual Reverb Dance Festival at the Alvin Ailey Theater in NYC. Her choreography has been featured in France, Taiwan, Canada, and the US in major festivals and venues.

Ms. van Bommel is currently on faculty in the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, State University of New York. She was a finalist in Ballet Austin's New American Talent/Dance 2010 choreographic competition, where she was nominated for two Austin Critics' Table Awards in 2009-10 (best choreographer and best short work) for her folk tale-influenced piece, Fanfarnèta.

Ballet Austin II
Established in 1999, Ballet Austin II is Ballet Austin's apprentice program and second company. The 10 apprentices, ranging in age from 18-23, are recruited through a competitive national audition process. They perform with the main company in large productions and present at least two independent projects per year, including biennial performances of Stephen Mills' Peter and the Wolf and Not Afraid of the Dark - The Show that Glows! in collaboration with Joe Scruggs. Choreographers currently represented in the Ballet Austin II repertoire include Stephen Mills, Jennifer Hart and Nick Kepley, as well as New American Talent/Dance choreographic competition winners Thang Dao, Thaddeus Davis, Viktor Kabaniaev, and Nelly van Bommel.

Currently, more than 65% of Ballet Austin's main company roster are graduates of Ballet Austin II Former Ballet Austin II dancers have also joined the ranks of both ballet and modern dance companies, including Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Washington Ballet, Nai-Ni Chen, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Ballet Met, Kansas City Ballet, Kim Robards Dance Company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Wideman/Davis Dance, and Thang Dao Dance.

Director's Notes



Family Dance Workshop – Hansel and Gretel
Sun Feb 9, 2:30 – 3:45pm
Ballet Austin’s AustinVentures StudioTheater

See excerpts from the world premiere of Ballet Austin’s Hansel and Gretel, and create your own choreography with the help of Ballet Austin dancers. Recommended for ages 3 to 10 years old and their family members. Learn more or sign up.

AustinVentures StudioTheater
Feb 22, 23 & March 1, 2
Hansel and Gretel Underwriter:
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