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.


Artistic/Executive Director

Photo by Les Campbell

Karen Stokes has been choreographing original dance theater since 1988. Since 1998, Stokes has created eight evening length productions in addition to over 35 repertory (short program) works.  Her work emphasizes quirky movement invention, strong rhythmic connections, text, original vocals, and concepts of community.  In the last three years, Stokes has branched out into creating video projection as an integrated part of her live theatrical productions.  Stokes also has created several dance for camera projects, some of which are available online and here on this site.  Most recently, Stokes has been incorporating site projects into her lexicon. Stokes works strongly within setting a time and place, whether imaginary or real.  


In 1997, Stokes co-founded Travesty Dance Group in Ohio with colleagues Kimberly Karpanty & Rebecca Malcolm-Naib.  In June 2011, the Travesty Dance Group (under the direction of Karen Stokes in Houston) became Karen Stokes Dance. 


Karen Stokes currently resides in Houston, with her husband and two cats.  She can also be found at the University of Houston, where she is a Professor in the Dance Program.


Terrible or not, difficult or not, the only thing that is beautiful, noble, religious and mystical is to be happy.    -Arnaud Desjardins-


Dance makes me happy.  Mostly.  -Karen Stokes-


Board of Directors

President:  Agelia Perez Marquez

Vice-President: Tonnie Walker-Beck

Treasurer:  Erica Okoronkwo 

Secretary:  Lidney Molnari

Suzann Broesche

Ashley Crouse

Steve McNamara

Buddy Steves

Karen Stokes

Roberta Stokes



Stephan Koplowitz, Doriana Pappacena Rossi, Lynn Lane




Company Manager:  Toni Valle

Administrative Assistant:  Jerrica Mark

Full Length Productions

  • DEEP: Seaspace, 2016, Zilkha Hall Hobby Center for Performing Arts, Houston
  • Sunset at White Oak Bayou, 2015, Downtown Houston at White Oak Bayou
  • Dance Flim & Conversation, 2014, The Barn, Houston
  • Vine Leaf Dances, 2012, Barnevelder Theater Houston
  • The Secondary Colors, 2011, Zilkha Hall Hobby Center for Performing Arts, Houston
  • Framing Dance, 2007-2013,  Hobby Center for Performing Arts Houston
  • The Recycle Club, 2009, Barnevelder Theater Houston
  • Portables, 2008, Hobby Center for Performing Arts Houston
  • Bad Q! and other strange maNEWvers, 2007, Barnevelder Theater Houston
  • HOMETOWN, 2006 & 2003, Hobby Center for Performing Arts & Barnevelder Theater Houston
  • Pronoun Pieces, 2005, Barnevelder Theater, Houston

KSD is a 501c3 non-profit company, and all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Karen Stokes named

Best Choreographer in Houston by Houston Press in 2014 & 2015.

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© Karen Stokes Dance 2016