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By Zar, Rachel | Dance Teacher, December 2010 | Go to article overview

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Zar, Rachel, Dance Teacher


Log on to www.dance media.com and enter to WIN the Dance Teacher Video of the Month contest!

Congratulations to "Framing Dance by Karen Stokes," September's DT Editors' Choice for Video of the Month!

Once a dancer performing in New York City with David Gordon, Larry Clark and Stephan Koplowitz, Karen Stokes now prides herself on being an educator, dancemaker and artistic director. In 1999, she co-founded contemporary dance company Travesty Dance Group, and she is now artistic director of its nonprofit Texas-based branch, Travesty Dance Group/Houston. (Two other branches are in Philadelphia, PA, and Cleveland, OH.) She also heads the dance department at the University of Houston. "There are a lot of balls in the air, but my two full-time jobs, one at the university and one at my company, balance each other out somehow," says Stokes. "I find education extremely rewarding, and it has also provided a stability that has allowed me to take risks in other areas of my life, like dancemaking."

Many of Travesty Dance Group/Houston's members were once Stokes' students at the University of Houston, and they have performed over 30 of her original works (often including text and original vocals composed by Stokes). One of her evening-length works is Framing Dance, an educational dance show for local school children ages 8-12 performed at Houston's Hobby Center Theater for the Performing Arts. "Framing Dance addresses the question that we often hear about contemporary dance: What does it mean?" says Stokes. "A lot of the dance education in Texas revolves around the work that drill teams do in support of athletics, so the opportunity to talk about dance as an artform is really valuable. …

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