If you went to a performance of Ballet El Paso, Ballet of the Americas, UTEP ballet, or Texas Western Civic Ballet, chances are you saw a production that was headed by El Paso's grande dame of ballet, Ingeborg Heuser. Heuser was the face of ballet in El Paso for over five decades. She will be missed terribly by the arts community in our city. Without her, it is unlikely that El Paso would have had professional ballet.

I took ballet for five years when I was in school. I never studied under Heuser because I was never a very serious student of the dance, but my teacher, Renee Segapelli was one of her pupils. There were other girls in my class who also trained under Heuser and they talked about how tough she was, how exacting in her manner and her expectations of her students. The funny thing is that they never said that they didn't want to be in her class. It was such an honor to be considered good enough to be a Heuser pupil.


Heuser was born in Berlin, Germany and toured Europe as a ballerina. She was even in six German and Italian movies. She was no lightweight in the world of dance. She came to El Paso like so many others as part of a military family. Her husband was stationed at Fort Bliss and she began teaching ballet in 1955. She also taught at UTEP when it was Texas Western. It was Heuser who began Ballet El Paso. For what was considered by many to be a dusty West Texas town, El Pasoans embraced Heuser and Ballet El Paso for decades. Her production of The Nutcracker was the stuff of dreams and legends and a holiday tradition for so many El Paso families.

You can read a lovely article about Heuser here. She will forever be remembered by generations of ballet pupils and El Pasoans who were thrilled by her productions that brought ballet to El Paso. Rest in peace Ingeborg Heuser. You are a true El Paso treasure.

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