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Friday, December 30, 2016

"Who's cutting the grass?" Karen Stokes on challenges of site-specific dance

For my Montclair State University course, Performance Perspectives, Dance MFA student Elisa De La Rosa interviewed Karen Stokes, Artistic Director of Houston-based Karen Stokes Dance.

Dance artist and educator Karen Stokes
(photos: Les Campbell)

Elisa De La Rosa
Artistic Director of De La Rosa Dance Company
(photo: Jeanne S. Mam-Luft)

Karen Stokes Dance
(photo: Lynn Lane)

Video interview with Karen Stokes 
by guest contributor 
Elisa De La Rosa 

Karen Stokes is a choreographer and educator. As a choreographer, Stokes has premiered eight evening length projects, and over 40 repertory works that have performed in Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Toronto, and Sweden. Stokes is the Artistic Director of the non-profit company Karen Stokes Dance. In January 2013, Stokes’ company was the first dance company to receive a Masterminds award by Houston Press. In both 2014 and 2015 the Houston Press named Stokes “Best Choreographer in Houston.”  In 2011, Stokes received a commission from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts for her collaboration The Secondary Colors with composer Bill Ryan. More recently she received an Innovation Grant from the Mitchell Center for the Arts for her 2015 project Sunset at White Oak Bayou. Stokes is a ten-time recipient of Houston Arts Alliance grants, including a 2013-2016 capacity building grant for her company.  In 2008, she was co-recipient for the 2008 Buffy Award in Best Evening Length work category (Hometown) for 2003-2008. Stokes dance for camera project Gallery Construction 1 received “Editor’s Choice” for best video from Dance Magazine in March 2012.  Stokes’ choreography has been recognized by grants from the Houston Endowment, the Hamman Foundation, the Anchorage Foundation, the Clayton Fund, various corporate matching grants, and numerous individual donors.  As a dancer, she has performed with David Gordon, Larry Clark, and Stephan Koplowitz. As an educator, Stokes is a Professor at the University of Houston.  Stokes has won the Distance Education Teaching Award at University of Houston, the ACHE Teaching Award, and the Ross M. Lence Teaching Award. In 2016, her company premiered DEEP: Seaspace, at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts in Houston.
Go to for more information.
Karen Stokes Dance on Facebook
Karen Stokes on Facebook
Elisa De La Rosa
(photo: Jeanne S. Mam-Luft)

Elisa De La Rosa is a dance artist, choreographer, and dance educator hailing from a small border town in the southern tip of Texas, currently she teaches full time at a thriving public high school fine arts dance program located in Houston Texas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with Secondary Teacher Certification from Texas Woman’s University, where she received the Excellence in Choreography Scholarship Award. Elisa is the artistic director of De La Rosa Dance Company, which recently premiered a new dance work titled improvisado and streamed live on Facebook. Elisa is currently pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts Dance at Montclair State University in New Jersey.
De La Rosa Dance Company on Facebook

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