Sandra Organ Solis
Production: Going Solo
Sandra Organ Solis was born in Omaha, where she trained under Valerie Roche in the Royal Academy of Dancing [RAD] Syllabus. She completed all levels of RAD examinations, while performing with Omaha Ballet as well as with A Company of Dancers from Creighton University. Sandra went on to become Houston Ballet’s first African American ballerina, dancing there for 15 years and as a soloist under Artistic Director Ben Stevenson. Her roles spanned the classical and contemporary realms, dancing in the ballets of Stevenson and the choreographers Christopher Bruce, James Kudelka, Jiri Kylian, Sir Kenneth MacMillian, George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Frederic Ashton, and Paul Taylor, to name a few. Among her wide range of roles, her favorite classical roles included Myrtha in Giselle, Evil Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Of the contemporary classics, Sandra enjoyed the challenge of Lescaut’s Mistress in MacMillian’s Manon, the Woman in Red in Bruce’s Ghost Dances, and Choleric in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments.
After retiring from Houston Ballet, Ms. Organ founded her own contemporary ballet ensemble – Earthen Vessels, The Sandra Organ Dance Company – for which she created 100 ballets and employed more than 120 dancers over sixteen seasons of programming in theatres and sacred spaces. Its annual Black History Month concert was the centerpiece of each season and offered the opportunity to showcase the historical and artistic exploits of African Americans, with works about Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, the poetry by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Lucille Clifton, as well as the music of Billy Taylor, Scott Joplin, and Roberta Flack.
Ms. Organ continues to choreograph for regional dance companies, academies, and universities.
Photo: Andis Applewhite