All eyes will be on principal dancer Melody Herrera on Feb. 26, the opening night of Houston Ballet’s full-length rendition of Marie. Choreographed and directed by Stanton Welch, this classical ballet captures the essence of the notorious Queen Marie Antoinette. Here, Herrera spills about this must-see ballet. —Lauren Levinson
DS: How are you learning about Marie Antoinette?
Melody Herrera: I’ve read biographies, watched movies and looked at drawings. The country depicted her as a monster for being a selfish, extravagant spender, but I’ve found she was a charming person and a caring mother. I think she was naïve, living in a bubble in Versailles.
DS: What’s been challenging about this process?
MH: The controversies that surrounded her! She’s been called the first real victim of bad press. It’s hard to know what was true.
DS: Do you relate to her?
MH: I sympathize with her. She arrived alone to a country at age 14 and felt isolated. Young dancers can connect to that because we move away to take on professional careers.
DS: How has it been working with Stanton Welch?
MH: Wonderful. I understand his direction and relate to his musicality really well.
DS: What’s it like having a ballet created on you?
MH: It’s like having tailor-made clothing. I feel free to take chances.
DS: What’s a fun scene?
MH: There’s a food fight onstage!
DS: Favorite costume?
MH: I love this flowy, off-white dress with embroidered flowers and a blue sash. I would get married in this dress!