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Karen Stokes Dance


Karen Stokes Dance (KSD) presents original contemporary dance performance and educational programming under the direction of Karen Stokes. KSD has a strong focus on the vitality of Houston and fosters the development of Houston as an international center for contemporary dance.  KSD is known for its multi-disciplinary approach, combining theatrical and visual elements with dance, and for its emphasis on community and connection as an artistic vision and a daily practice.


Karen Stokes Dance has produced 12 original evening length projects, four Houston-based site-specific projects, over 15 dance film projects. Memorable projects include “Hometown” (2003 & 2006), Pronoun Pieces (2005), Portables (2008), The Secondary Colors (2011), Distreston & Balia (2012), Backstage at Allen’s Landing (2015), Drench (2015), Sunset at White Oak (2015), Tree People (2016), DEEP: Seaspace (2016), X20 (2017), Gallery Construction (2018). From 2008-2020, KSD’s educational program “Framing Dance” served 3000 students annually as part of the Discovery Series at Zilkha Hall, Hobby Center for the Arts.  KSD has had many rewarding partnerships in Houston including Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Heights 5 Brass, the UH Dance Program, NASA, the Houston Ship Channel Pilots Association, Discovery Green, the Hobby Center, Barnevelder Movement Arts, Dance Source Houston, and the MATCH.  KSD has been recognized via a Masterminds Award by Houston Press, and Karen Stokes was also recognized as Best Choreographer by Houston Press in 2015.

Stokes’ choreography emphasizes quirky movement invention, strong rhythmic connections, text, original vocals, location, and concepts individuality set within a community.  Stokes works strongly within setting a time and place, whether imaginary or real. Stokes believes that her work stems from connection to all those that have entered her life, teachers, mentors, family, friends, dancers, artists, community. As such, Stokes dedicates her continued work as a choreographer to all of you.

About the history of KSD:  In 1997, Stokes co-founded Travesty Dance Group with colleagues Kimberly Karpanty & Rebecca Malcolm-Naib in Cleveland, Ohio. The group worked extensively together co-producing original work by the founders nationally from 1997-2009, with performances in Seattle, Toronto, Philadelphia, Houston, Cleveland, and NYC. In June 2011, Travesty Dance Group in Houston (under the direction of Karen Stokes) transitioned to Karen Stokes Dance.

Past Events at MATCH