The Houston Ballet is the fourth-largest professional ballet company in the United States.

Founded as a professional company in 1969, the Houston Ballet has grown to become a large and respected ballet company. It produces more than 75 performances each year with a primary company of 51 dancers.

The Ballet’s website is essential not only to promote their performances and Academy dance classes, but also to support their annual Nutcracker Market. Now a Houston holiday tradition, the Ballet’s Nutcracker Market is one of its largest fundraising opportunities.

The Houston Ballet’s dated website made it difficult for it to sell tickets or to build a new generation of brand advocates. The old site was built on a difficult-to-edit custom content management system and featured a dated design that failed to leverage the visual, high-art mission of the Ballet.

The old design clashed with the Ballet’s brand and lagged behind when it came to the dynamic digital presences of the Ballet’s local and international competition. The Ballet is also a member of the Tessitura Network; however, the old site’s integration with the Tessitura CRM gave it limited options when it came to anything more than simple ticket packages.

Adage worked with the Houston Ballet to give its site a complete overhaul featuring an engaging design and powerful ecommerce to help it build excitement about its brand and sell more.

Organizing idea – Adage began the project with a Discovery phase to uncover the unique needs of the Ballet and its patrons, as well as to better understand its brand and mission. The team synthesized the findings into a primary organizing idea for the Ballet’s new website, centered around three elements: Immerse, Inform, and Invite. These became the guiding principles for all designs and decisions moving forward.

User experience – The UX and design team used the organizing idea to design the various page templates that make up the website. Flexibility was key, so the website features a layout heavily based on the content blocks which can be reused and reorganized to serve different purposes.

Personalization – Content blocks not only allow for full on-page editing, they also come with more advanced features such as personalization, useful for serving targeted content to the many types of patrons that visit the site.

Ecommerce – The ecommerce portion of the website is powered by Adage’s ACE Platform fully-customizable ecommerce solution for Tessitura, which seamlessly integrates the Ballet’s Tessitura database with Episerver for advanced ticket functionality.

  • Adage Align
  • Patron UX Research Interviews
  • Dancer Interviews
  • User Experience Design
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Responsive Web Design
  • Episerver CMS Implementation
  • Azure Managed Hosting
  • Integration with Tessitura API
  • ACE Platform Commerce


“We wanted to get rich content out there to showcase our brand and even the individual personal brands of our dancers. Working with the Adage team brought another level of discussion that was eye- and ear-opening for people who haven’t worked with web design before.”

Christian BrownDirector of Marketing and Public Relations, Houston Ballet