From the Editors 29 (2011)Engineer and Editor Juan Hart Moved El Paso Forward 29 (2011)Elizabeth Garrett: Songbird of the Southwest 29 (2011)A Passionate Life: Josephine Clardy Fox 29 (2011)Forgotten No More: Korean War POW Tells Story of Survival 29 (2011)Janice Woods Windle Treasures Family History 29 (2011)Andy and Syd Cohen: The Men Behind the Name 29 (2011)Leona Ford Washington Preserved Black History 29(2011)Ingeborg Heuser Brought Professional Ballet to City 29 (2011)Lee and Beulah Moor Left Legacy of Love 29 (2011)
From the Editors 28 (2010)Chasin’ Away the Blues: Texas Sunday Legislation 28 (2010)Simeon Hart Pioneered Local Industry 28 (2010)Felix Martinez: Southwestern Renaissance Man 28 (2010)Teresa Urrea: La Santa de Cabora Inspired Mexican Revolution 28 (2010)Utopia in Mesilla: The Shalam Colony 28 (2010)Stahmann Farms Produce Pecans on Two Hemispheres 28 (2010)Betty Mary Goetting Brought Birth Control to El Paso 28 (2010)Maud Sullivan Made El Paso Public Library a Cultural Center 28 (2010)Lucy Acosta’s Legacy Continues in LULAC 28 (2010)Belen Robles: Voice for the Latino Community 28 (2010)Toltec Club: Of Ghosts and Guests 28 (2010)
Strong Women Building a Strong City -- From the Editors 27(2008)Notable Women of El Paso 27(2009)The Chew Legacy: The Story of Herlinda Wong Chew 27(2009)Desert Nightingale: Louise Dietrich 27(2009)1909-2009: YWCA Celebrates 100 Years in El Paso 27(2009)Mabel Welch: El Paso’s First Female Architect 27(2009)Myrna Deckert Remains Modest About Achievements 27(2009)Suzie Azar Still Reaches for the Sky 27 (2009)The Moocher: Callie Fairley, First Woman Vice Detective in El Paso 27(2009)Alicia R. Chacón Came to Politics Naturally 27 (2009)Rosa Guerrero: Cultural Dynamo 27 (2009)
From the Past to the Present -- From the Editor 26 (2007/08)Yandell Boulevard Named for Prominent El Paso Physician 26 (2007/08)Japanese Immigrants Came Slowly to Borderland 26 (2007/08)World War II Affected Japanese Immigrants 26 (2007/08)Living, Breathing New Mexico Ghost Town: Hillsboro 26 (2007/08)Canutillo Developed from Land Grant 26 (2007/08)Rómulo Escobar Zerman: Juárez Agronomist and Teacher 26 (2007/08)El Paso Mayor: Tom Lea Jr. 26 (2007/08)Ted Karam: Lebanese Immigrant Lived American Dream 26 (2007/08)Publication Credits 26 (2007/08)
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Hot Springs Have Long HistoryThe Building of a City -- From the Editor 20 (2001)From the Staff (Volume 20)Pat Garrett Enjoyed Controversy 20 (2001)Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire Terrorized Town 20 (2001)History Reveals Rivalry of Madams Etta Clark and Alice Abbott 20 (2001)Kohlberg, Krupp, Zielonka Became Business and Civic Leaders 20 (2001)Olga Kohlberg Pioneered Many Local Organizations 20 (2001)Henry Trost's Architectural Legacy Lives On 20 (2001)Sunset Heights Preserves History 20 (2001)Adolph Schwartz Built Local Retail Dynasty 20 (2001)Zach T. White Brought Progress to El Paso 20 (2001)Masons Became Leaders in Texas, El Paso 20 (2001)Smallpox Epidemic Showed Need for Hospitals20 (2001)El Paso High School Remains Classic 20 (2001)Bhutanese Architecture Distinguishes UTEP Campus 20 (2001)Elephant Butte Dam Solved Early Water Problems 20 (2001)
Pioneer Ranch became Concordia Cemetery 19 (2000)El Paso Grows Up 19 (2000)From the Staff 19 (2000)Chinese Immigrants Helped Build Railroad in El Paso 19 (2000)Volunteer Fire Department Grew into Professional Company 19 (2000)1880s Brought First Theaters to Town 19 (2000)Sisters of Charity Began Hotel Dieu Hospital 19 (2000)Tuberculosis Turned El Paso Into a Health Center 19 (2000)First Public School Built in 1884 19 (2000)Enigmatic Olivas Aoy Began School for Mexican Children 19 (2000)El Paso Public Library Began Modestly 19 (2000)Jesuits Continue to Influence Area 19 (2000)Sisters of Loretto Have Long Tradition in Southwest 19 (2000)Mormons Found Sanctuary in Mexico in 1880s 19 (2000)Mennonite Colonies in Mexico Accept Change Slowly 19 (2000)Flu Epidemic of 1918 Hit El Paso Hard 19 (2000)Early City Planners Saw Future in Scenic Drive 19 (2000)Prohibition Stimulated Economies of El Paso, Juárez 19 (2000)
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Aztecs Ruled Complex, Rich Society 17 (1998)From the Editor 17 (1998)Aztec Beliefs Helped Conquer Mexico 17 (1998)Cortés Created New Order in Mexico 17 (1998)La Malinche Remains Controversial 17 (1998)Cabeza de Vaca: Travels in Texas 17 (1998)Estebán Furthered Legend of Cíbola 17 (1998)Coronado Searched for Cities of Gold 17 (1998)Oñate Conquered Desert to Explore Southwest 17 (1998)Festival Celebrates Oñate's Historic Arrival 17 (1998)Fray Garcia Left Great Legacy 17 (1998)Franciscans Brought Catholicism to Area 17 (1998)America's First Highway: El Camino Real 17 (1998)Pueblo Revolt Brought Tiguas South 17 (1998)Tigua Indians Survive 300 Years of Ordeals 17 (1998)Area Missions are Part of Living History 17 (1998)San Elizario Presidio Protected Settlers 17 (1998)Ethnic Terms Can Cause Confusion 17 (1998)
Oasis Restaurants Symbolized ‘50s Teen Scene 13 (1995)‘50s Cars Changed American Lifestyle And Image 13 (1995)Chevy Bel Air Charmed 1950 Car Buyers 13 (1995)San Jacinto Plaza Remains Heart Of Downtown El Paso 13 (1995)Smokey Bear: A Legend Is Made 13 (1995)El Paso's Company E Survivors Remember Rapido River Assaults 13 (1995)Company E Survivor Recalls Days As Prisoner Of War 13 (1995)El Paso Red Cross Essential to War Effort 13 (1995)World War II Took its Toll On The Home Front 13 (1995)Civil Air Patrol Protected Border During World War II -- 13 (1995)Quickie Divorces Granted in Juárez 13 (1995)Atomic Bomb Developed In Southwest 13 (1995)Former Crew Members On B-17s Remember Tough Times 13 (1995)Vintage Warplanes Keep Past Alive 13 (1995)The Cavalry Bugler: Essential To Horse and Man 13 (1995)Sun Carnival 1936 Style 13 (1995)H. Arthur Brown: El Paso Symphony Guru Of The ‘30s -- 13 (1995)Swing Music Helped Dispel The Blues Of The ‘30s and ‘40s -- 13 (1995)The General Store: A Hidden Treasure Of The Past 13 (1995)
Change on the Border 15 (1997)From the Editor 15 (1997)Latinos Work To Change Stereotypes In Hollywood 15 (1997)Cesar Chávez: Simple Man, People’s Hero 15 (1997)Shelter For Farm Workers Becomes Reality 15 (1997)Women’s Shelter Helps To Heal The Pain 15 (1997)Home Schools Become Popular Alternative 15 (1997)Renovation May Revive Downtown El Paso 15 (1997)Title IX Changed Women's Sports 15 (1997)Special Olympics Shine In El Paso 15 (1997)La Fe Clinic Serves South El Paso 15 (1997)ASARCO Works To Clean Up Its Act 15 (1997)A Growing Phenomenon: Single Fathers 15 (1997)Stepfamilies Become More Numerous 15 (1997)Teens Rebel Against Authority 15 (1997)Comics Retain Popularity 15 (1997)Tom Moore And Archie Have Timeless Appeal 15 (1997)
Life on the Border: 1950s & 1960s --14 (1996)From The Editors 14 (1996)A Baseball Team By Any Other Name 14 (1996)Drive-In Theaters Appealed to all Ages 14 (1996)El Paso Trolley First to Connect Two Nations 14 (1996)Barbie Doll Revolutionized Toy Industry 14 (1996)Rabies Took Bite of Sun City 14 (1996)Rabies: A Deadly Virus 14 (1996)Border Patrol Used Variety of Methods to Control Immigration 14 (1996)L. A. Nixon Fought Texas Voting Law 14 (1996)Douglass School Served Black Community Well 14 (1996)Thelma White Case Forced College Integration 14 (1996)Steve Crosno: An El Paso Original 14 (1996)Rock 'N' Roll Defined Teen Culture 14 (1996)A Shopping Mall by the People for the People 14 (1996)Chamizal Dispute Settled Peacefully 14 (1996)Turney Mansion Becomes Work of Art 14 (1996)First Hispanic Mayor Elected in 1957 -- 14 (1996)Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle 14 (1996)
Three Decades of History 12 (1994)From the Editors 12 (1994)The Plaza Theater…Here to Stay!? 12 (1994)El Paso Broadcasting: The Stories Behind the Call Letters 12 (1994)Alphabet Agencies: FDR's Brainstorm 12 (1994)Chihuahuita in the 1930s: Tough Times in the Barrio 12 (1994)Hobo Sign Language Targeted El Paso 12 (1994)Self- Sufficiency Key to Farmers' Survival During Depression 12 (1994)Hanna's Story A Holocaust Survivor Remembers 12 (1994)Former Members Recall Life in Hitler Youth 12 (1994)German Prisoners of War Interned at Fort Bliss During World War II -- 12 (1994)German POWs Remembered at Fort Bliss 12 (1994)One German POW's Story 12 (1994)Ration Books and Victory Gardens: Coping with Shortages 12 (1994)Women Changed Wartime Work Patterns 12 (1994)Bracero Program Hurt Domestic Farm Workers 12 (1994)San Pedro Pharmacy Retains Look of the Past 12 (1994)Teenage Fashions of the Nifty Fifties 12 (1994)Rebel Image of Motorcyclists Set in 1950s -- 12 (1994)
Border Customs and Crafts From the Editor 10 (1992)From the Editors 10 (1992)King on the Mountain 10 (1992)Piñatas! 10 (1992)How to Play the Piñata Game 10 (1992)Out of a Cotton Boll Bloom Beautiful Crafts 10 (1992)Cotton Boll Entertains Too 10 (1992)Hands That Create Art and Soul 10 (1992)La Charreada - Mexican Horsemanship 10 (1992)Boots - A Family Tradition 10 (1992)Some Boys Still Grow Up to be Cowboys 10 (1992)Boot Capital of the World 10 (1992)The Magic of Mariachis 10 (1992)Ballet Folklorico - High School Style 10 (1992)New Generation of Mariachis 10 (1992)The Lady is a Bullfighter 10 (1992)The Midwife: Choices for Border Women 10 (1992)Retablos: Echoes of Faith 10 (1992)Tigua Indians: Dancing for St. Anthony 10 (1992)The Aztec and the Miracle 10 (1992)A Hispanic Girl's Coming of Age 10 (1992)Art - Low and Slow 10 (1992)Wedding Traditions on the Border 10 (1992)
Border Food Folkways From the Editor 9 (1991)From the Staff 9 (1991)Tortillas: Border Staff of Life 9 (1991)The Booming Tortilla Industry in Mexico 9 (1991)Where's The Beef? In El Paso! 9 (1991)How Do I Love Thee, Piggy? Let Me Count the Ways! 9 (1991)Tamales By Any Other Name Remain The Same 9 (1991)Rio Grande Thanksgiving 9 (1991)The Tigua Indians: Food for Thought 9 (1991)Corn: The Golden Gift from Our Ancestors 9 (1991)Border Pottery - Function and Beauty 9 (1991)Holy Hot Mole! 9 (1991)Looking Back at the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Men Behind the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Hot Peppers : They're Not Just for Eating 9 (1991)Food, Spices Double as Folk Cures 9 (1991)Weeds or Edible Desert Plants? 9 (1991)Cactus: It's Good for You! 9 (1991)Day of the Dead Celebrates Spiritual Tradition 9 (1991)Nutricious, Delicious Beans 9 (1991)Menudo Makes The Big Time 9 (1991)Mediterranean Cuisine: Old Tradition, Fresh Idea 9 (1991)Lenten Foods: From Fasting to Fabulous 9 (1991)Tarahumaras Rely on Nature for Food 9 (1991)Tempting Sweet Breads : Pan de Dulce 9 (1991)
Border Customs and Crafts II From the Editor -- 11 (1993)From the Editors 11 (1993)The Best Little Asaderos in Texas 11 (1993)Glass Work Disappearing on Border 11 (1993)Cockfights Legal in Surrounding Areas 11 (1993)Local Craftsmen Keep Art of Saddlery Alive 11 (1993)James and Joseph Magoffin: El Paso Pioneers 11 (1993)Chile Ristras Brighten Border Homes 11 (1993)Magoffin Home Preserves El Paso's Past 11 (1993)Bavarian Custom Celebrated in El Paso: Oktoberfest 11 (1993)Munich on the Border 11 (1993)Santo Niño de Atocha Called Miracle Worker 11 (1993)Lenten Customs Vary 11 (1993)To Ask is to Receive 11 (1993)Border Maintains Tradition of Posadas 11 (1993)A Visit from Three Kings 11 (1993)Matachines: Soldiers of the Virgin 11 (1993)Dichos Are an Intricate Part of Mexican Culture 11 (1993)Cultural Superstitions Affect Behavior 11 (1993)Que Onda Homeboy! Why Do We Talk Like This? 11 (1993)Traditional Hispanic Children's Games Disappear 11 (1993)
El Paso Women to ResearchEl Paso Women to Research (by name)El Paso Men to ResearchEl Paso Men to Research (by name)
From the Editors 30 (2012)From the Editor, Credits and Contents 30 (2012)Jessie Hawkins and Jenna Welch: Love, Loss and Laughter 30 (2012)Woodrow Wilson Bean: One in a Million 30 (2012)David L. Carrasco Gave Back to Hometown 30 (2012)Cleofas Calleros Made Local History Important 30 (2012)Robert E. McKee: From Rags to Riches to Philanthropy 30 (2012)Kate Moore Brown: A Woman of Many Firsts 30 (2012)Fun in the 1890s: The McGinty Club 30 (2012)
Borderlands Web Issue From the Editor 31(2013/14)Acknowledgements 31(2013/14)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 31(2013/14)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 31 (2013/14)Harvey Girls Changed the West 31(2013/14)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 31(2013/14)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 31(2013/14)
Borderlands 32 Tolerance. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 32(2014/15)Henry Kellen Created El Paso Holocaust Museum 32(2014/15)Bicycle Padre Still Working 32(2014/15)El Paso Connections: Ambrose Bierce: writer 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Bobby Fuller, Rock Icon 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Tom Ogle, Inventor 32(2014/15)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 32(2014)Harvey Girls Changed the West 32(2014)
Borderlands 33 Service. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 33(2015)Nothing Is Impossible: Major General Heidi V. Brown 33 (2015)Local Latino Soldiers Receive Medal of Honor Decades after Heroism 33 (2015)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 33 (2015)Will the Real Leon Blevins Please stand up? 33 (2015)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 33 (2015)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 33 (2015)
Borderlands 34 Inspiration. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 34(2016/17)Building Bridges Instead of Walls: Temple Mount Sinai 34 (2016/17)Ruben Salazar: A Bridge Between Two Societies 34 (2016/17)Luis Jimenez: Art Creates Dialogue 34 (2016/17)Richard "Tuff" Hedeman: The Michael Jordan of Professional Bull Riding 34 (2016/17)Rescue Mission of El Paso Provides Food and Opportunity 34 (2016/17)
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Ingeborg Heuser Brought Professional Ballet to City

Article first published in Vol. 29, 2011.

By Iriana Fogle and Kathryn Guerra

Ingeborg Heuser

View pdf verson (Biography)

Ballet, which began as a Renaissance Italian court entertainment, was further developed by French courts, particularly by Louis XIV in the 17th century. It evolved into a popular European and Russian form of dance and was established in the United States by Russian dancers in the 1930s.   In El Paso, the art of ballet arrived with German native Ingeborg Heuser, who came to the desert in 1954 and made it her home. True to the Southwest spirit, she pioneered local ballet, opening schools and entertaining locals, helping El Pasoans to learn and love ballet.

Image caption: Ingeborg Heuser has devoted her life to performing, choreographing and teaching ballet. (Photo courtesy of Ingeborg Heuser.)

Heuser was born in Berlin, Germany, and her mother, a student of modern dance instructor Rudolf Von Laben, encouraged her daughter to love the arts, as did her grandmother, a concert singer.

Heuser told El Paso Times reporter Ed Kimble in 1977 that her earliest ambition was to dance. “When you want to be a dancer,” Heuser stated, “it’s just in you.” From a very young age, she choreographed impromptu dances for her playmates and it was one such dance that began Heuser’s career. After she entertained a group of people at the Berlin Zoo, one of the spectators convinced Heuser’s mother that her daughter should be in dance school.

At the age of seven, Heuser auditioned at the Children’s Ballet School of Deutsche Oper, Berlin (The German State Opera in Berlin). According to the Times, however, it was Heuser’s comedy routine that got her accepted. “It seems I was fearful that the examiners wouldn’t notice me, so I decided to make them laugh,” Heuser said.

After a year of receiving dance education in the classroom, Heuser made her stage debut as a little Moor in the opera “Aida.” Most of Heuser’s early stage appearances were walkons, for which she earned the equivalent of $2.50 each performance. If she danced, she received $3.

Although dance training took up a great deal of her time, Heuser still had to complete her academic education, and as a result, her daily routine began early in the morning. “My mother woke me up, dressed me and poured coffee down me,” Heuser explained in the Times. Then it was off to school. Between stage calls, she read and studied and made it home about 1 a.m.

Although to many this type of childhood might seem difficult, for Heuser it was wonderful to grow up playing in the theater. She said, “How many children get to play with live elephants? How many get to play with knights in shining armor? Who gets to live in such a fantasy world? ... It was a life of great, great richness.”

Heuser was accepted as an apprentice at age 12 for the Deutsche Oper Corps de Ballet, from which she received her dancer’s diploma at age 14. At 15, Heuser was accepted as a dancer in the company and she began her solo career. Among her teachers were Victor and Tatjana Gsovsky, the latter being “one of the most important influences on German ballet in the 20th century and the leading German choreographer of the 1940s and 1950s,” according to the Oxford Dictionary of Dance.

Between rehearsals and productions, Heuser found time to attend the Berlin Academy of Drama, where she studied under Johannes Guenther, a well-known drama critic. In 14 years with the ballet company, Heuser toured throughout Europe, performing in more than 1,500 theatrical productions, and appeared on the silver screen, dancing in six German films.

Heuser told Kimble that she wanted to see America, and so on a lark, she went to San Francisco in 1951. She was employed by the San Francisco Ballet, earning $5 a week. Being required to take a class for $2.50 a week left her unable to afford to stay with the company. “I had no idea the artists over here were starving to death,” she told the Times. She had quickly learned that this country did not support the fine arts as did her homeland.

While still in San Francisco, Heuser and a few friends were at a coffee house complaining about the low pay for those in the fine arts when Heuser asked why the government didn’t do something to help. “They said I was a communist,” Heuser recalled.

Realizing that employers were more interested in where she got her degree than her dancing experience, Heuser decided to get a college education. After not being able to afford the tuition at the University of California at Los Angeles, she was accepted as a special student at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

After only one week in Arizona, Heuser obtained a job teaching ballet, but she told the Times students didn’t return after the first class. “I didn’t know how to teach,” Heuser explained. “I think I scared them off.”

It was during her time in Tucson that Heuser met her first husband, Joe Weissmiller. Drafted by the Army shortly after their marriage, Weissmiller was sent to basic training in El Paso. Alone and pregnant with their first child, Heuser set off to meet her husband only to find that he had been transferred to Fort Leavenworth, KA.

Soon after her arrival in El Paso, Heuser found a job teaching ballet at the YWCA. On the way to work one day, Heuser fell asleep on the bus. When she awoke, she found herself at Magoffin Auditorium on the campus of Texas Western College, today’s University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Heuser told the Times that she remembered thinking how she would love to put on a production in such a wonderful theater, but it was a trip to Scenic Drive that sold Heuser on the city. Heuser told the Times that the view of three states and two countries impressed her. “I decided I wanted to bring dance to El Paso.”

Heuser began teaching in Virginia Weaver’s dance studio, and within two years, she opened her Ballet Centre Guild of El Paso at 929 Reynolds St. for students four years of age and older. In 1958, the Ballet Centre had its first performance in Magoffin Auditorium.

It was during one of the Ballet Centre’s early performances that Heuser’s long-standing career at UTEP began. In a 2006 UTEP online news article, Laura Ruelas wrote that in 1959, then-chairman of UTEP’s Music Department, E. A. Thormodsgaard, was so impressed with Heuser that he established the Texas Western Civic Ballet and hired her to run it. The dance company later became the University Civic Ballet and then Ballet El Paso in 1977. In 1960, ballet classes officially began at UTEP, the first university in the UT System to even offer ballet. For many years, UTEP offered a major in ballet.

Heuser eventually turned over her Ballet Centre to a longtime student, David Duran, so she could dedicate more time to the university. Over a 47-year tenure at UTEP, Heuser produced more than 35 ballets. Some of her original choreographed works include “The Red Shoes,” “Firebird,” “Carmen,” “Peter and the Wolf,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and of course, her best known and long-standing holiday production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

Not only did Heuser teach and choreograph for UTEP, but she has also had many guest instructor assignments in Berlin, Rome, Mexico City, Houston and Los Angeles. She has been a guest choreographer in Alabama, California, Utah and Italy. Heuser also directed three tours of Northern Mexico, all highly successful.

Heuser’s passion for ballet can also be seen in the success of her students, many of whom have gained national and international acclaim and have been accepted by major ballet companies all over the world. According to the personnel page of El Paso Conservatory of Dance, Heuser can boast of five gold and bronze medal winners in national and international competitions among her former students.

According to a 1964 El Paso Times article, Heuser’s former student Barbara Begany joined the San Francisco Ballet after graduation from Burges High School. On a visit to El Paso in 1964, the ballerina emphasized that Heuser demanded “hard work and dedication as a prerequisite of perfection.” In an interview for the article, Heuser said of Begany, “Many people have talent but that is not it. Many will work but do not have the energy. Ballet takes tremendous energy, and she has it.”

Besides dance, Heuser taught Begany other skills: knitting and costuming. With the money she made from her knitting, Begany paid for dance lessons for eight  years at Heuser’s Ballet Centre. She made the costumes for two ballets of the San Francisco company with the second skill. Heuser herself designed many costumes for her own productions and those of various operas.

Other students of Heuser’s have gone on to become exceptional dancers and instructors. Renee Segapeli danced professionally for Ballet El Paso for many years, after becoming its youngest apprentice at age 11 and winning several national competitions. In 1988, she and her husband Peter Fairweather, a dancer with Britain’s Royal Ballet, acquired the Cranford School of Ballet in England, changing its name to Southwest Ballet Arts. She and her husband, a former teacher at Ballet El Paso and UTEP, continue to run the school successfully.

Andree Harper, another of Heuser’s star pupils, teaches ballet at UTEP and privately at Champion Studio. In 1974, she was the first to receive a degree in ballet from UTEP. Her first view of Heuser was that she held “a big stick in her hand.” When she got to know her teacher, however, Harper realized that Heuser was tiny and [would] “quietly bat her eyelashes.” In a 2008 UTEP Prospector article, Harper called Heuser a “classical icon” and said she did “great, great things for the ballet program.”

Heuser’s dedication to her craft and her students did not come without a price. Her first marriage ended in divorce. After the birth of her second son, Christian, her second marriage also ended in divorce, but personal struggles were not the only battles to be fought.

In 1997, Ballet El Paso folded due to financial trouble. “That really affected me,” Heuser told Maribel Villalva of the Times on Dec. 2, 2006. “After that I even broke my arm [while dancing].”

In a personal interview with EPCC student, Iriana Fogle, who also was Heuser’s student, Heuser said that although there are struggles, all will be well in the end. “There is a God of Theatre, and as long as you worship him, you will be taken care of.”

In 2006, Heuser directed her last “Nutcracker,” the highlight of the holiday season for generations of El Pasoans. She directed the “Nutcracker” ballet for 45 years. Heuser’s last performances of the Christmas favorite were held at the Plaza Theater in downtown El Paso.

Ingeborg Heuser retired from UTEP in 2007, a few years after UTEP quit offering a ballet major. The ballet program was moved to the Theater Department from the Music Department, where it had been for decades, and placed under the aegis of UTEP’s Dinner Theater.

Retirement did not mean Heuser stopped teaching, however. She still teaches ballet at The El Paso Conservatory of Dance, established by a member of Heuser’s ballet company, Marta Katz.

Over her career, Heuser has received numerous awards from her adopted city, including the “Star of the Mountain” Lifetime Achievement Award from the City Council in 2005 and the YWCA’s REACH Award in 2006. The El Paso Association for the Performing Arts honored her with their Image Award, and Heuser was inducted into the El Paso Women’s Commision Hall of Fame in 2009.

For almost half a century, Heuser has entertained El Pasoans at the theater with her beautiful stage sets, elaborately made costumes and exquisite choreography. Through her dedication and passion, thousands of El Pasoans have been caught up in fanciful stories told with music and dance. Although she had to overcome struggles and make sacrifices, Heuser’s love for ballet and sharing that with El Paso has been paramount because, as she told the Times, “When you’re caught in the dance, you can’t get away.”

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