Annie Arnoult is the founding artistic director of Open Dance Project where she directs the company’s professional performance season and oversees the company’s extensive dance education work in partnership with Young Audiences Houston and the Houston Arts Access Initiative. She is a recent recipient of a Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Grant in support of Open Dance Project’s upcoming ‘Bout a Stranger, an immersive dance theater performance inspired by the life and work of Woody Guthrie premiering at MATCH March 17-23, 2017. Arnoult returned to her native Houston from Chicago where she was the artistic director of Chicago’s Striding Lion Performance Group, garnering acclaim for the company as a “new center of gravity for indie dance in Chicago” and support from The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Arts & Business Council, the Arts Work Fund, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and The Illinois Arts Council.
Teresa Chapman is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston. Chapman received her MFA in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. As a performer, she has danced for some of the finest Houston-based choreographers, but exclusively with Karen Stokes Dance. In the past, she has danced for choreographers and companies in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City, and Hamburg, Germany. Chapman is an independent choreographer and Director of Chapman Dance, which currently works on a project-to-project basis. Her work has been presented in Houston, Nebraska, California, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and New York City.
Keith Anthony R. Cross has worked for such organizations as Texas Commission on the Arts, Dance St. Louis, Dance Masters of America Inc., Dance Olympics of New York, Jazz Dance World Congress, International Ballet Competition and Festival, Tulsa Ballet, Huntsville Ballet (Al), Ballet Met, Jazz Met, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Western Arkansas Ballet, Academy Lupec’s Mexico, Stephen’s Academy of Dance Amsterdam, and Southwest Jazz Ballet. Television credits include: The Sammy Awards, Houston Grand Opera’s “Tremonisa,” NBC Chicago Emmies, and Star Search.
Jacqueline Bobet has taught jazz, modern and aesthetics at UH for many years. She is also adjunct dance faculty at Rice University where she teaches jazz, hiphop ,and contemporary dance and where she recently received the Frank W. Bearden Award for Teaching Excellence. She is an independent choreographer and performer as well as a dance teaching artist with Young Audiences of Houston. With Young Audiences she goes into classrooms and combines creative dance with academic subjects. Her choreography has been presented at Wortham Theatre in downtown Houston, Big Range Dance Festival, Houston Fringe Festival, UH, Rice, Mount Holyoke College, American College Dance Festivals in New England and Texas, and the Houston Jewish Community Center's Summer Series. As a performer she has danced in her own works at Big Range Dance Festival, Houston Fringe Festival, jhon stronks’ Venturing Out Series and performed at Miller Outdoor Theatre in the work of Teresa Chapman. She received her B.A. in Dance and Visual Art from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts where her biggest dance influences were former Bill Evans dancers Debbie Poulsen and Terese Freedman and musician Peter Jones. She also trained to be a ballroom dance teacher at the River Oaks School of Dance and taught modern dance at The Hope Center in Houston.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Rio Lorenzo-Lasa began her ballet training with her mother, Maria Eugenia Lorenzo, at the Martha Mahr School of Ballet. At age 14, Ms. Lorenzo studied at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. In 1993, Ms. Lorenzo received the renowned Princess Grace Award and continued her dance training at New York City Ballet’s prestigious School of American Ballet. The following autumn she became an Apprentice with New York City Ballet and joined the company in Spring 1995. In 2002, Ms. Lorenzo joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet, was promoted to Soloist in 2003, and to Principal in 2005. Her featured roles in the classical repertoire include Odette/Odile in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty, and the title roles in Giselle, Cinderella, The Firebird, and Roland Petit’s Carmen. She has also danced leading roles in Paul Taylor’s Company B, Jerome Robbins’sThe Concert, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Peter Martins’s Fearful Symmetries, and Mauro Bigonzetti’s Kazimir’s Colours. Ms. Lorenzo holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She has had an article published in the Journal of Early Childhood Education on a movement program she developed for preschoolers, some with physical and developmental disabilities.
Toni Leago Valle wears multiple hats: she is the Artistic Director of 6 Degrees, Company Manager of Karen Stokes Dance, adjunct faculty at UH School of Theatre & Dance, and a member of Becky Valls & Company for Young Audiences. Since 2000, Valle has produced six evening-length productions and over 20 repertory works. Her choreography has been seen at DiverseWorks, JCC, University of Houston, San Jacinto College, HSPVA/Houston, Barnstorm, Fringe Festival, and others. Valle has performed with Karen Stokes Dance, Becky Valls, Dancepatheatre, Psophonia Dance Company, Divergence Vocal Theatre, Chapman Dance, Suchu Dance, and VauLt. Valle now studies aerial dance and trapeze. Valle received a B.A. in Dance from UH in 2000. 6degreesdance.org
Jane Weiner graduated from Bowling Green University with a degree in deaf/elementary education and a minor in dance. She worked with the Doug Elkins Dance Company for a decade before her move to Houston, TX in 1996. She is the founder and director of Hope Stone, Inc., and Artistic Director of Hope Stone Dance. Jane founded Hope Stone with a dream of unlocking the innate creativity of children and adults and improving their quality of life through the performing arts. Jane also founded and directs The Hope Project, an arts outreach program for children, teens and adults 2-98 years old in Houston, that uses master teachers in dance, theater, and music, to empower and educate youth. The Hope Project was created to help meet the artistic and emotional needs of underserved and at-risk students. “I see the void and want to help fill it,” Jane says. Jane also founded the Pink Ribbons Project in 1995 and was the executive director from 1997-2002. Jane has set her work on the Alley Theater, Houston Ballet II, Stages Repertory Theater, the Houston Children’s Museum, as well as many high schools and universities and has collaborated with the Houston Symphony, the CAMH, and the Asia Society. She was a finalist for the Cal Arts/Albert Award for Dance in 2001, awarded the CACHH general fellowship grant for 2002, the Houston PBS Speaking Women’s Health Conference Honoree 2004, the Surgical Society of Oncology’s James Ewing Layman Award, the Jung Center Award for 2005, DiverseWork’s Artist of the Year 2011, and was a speaker at the 2012 TEDx Houston and 2013 TEDx TAMU.
KSD is a 501c3 non-profit company, and all donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Karen Stokes has been creating original dance theater in Houston Texas for over 20 years.
Stokes has been recognized as the "best choreographer in Houston" and received a Masterminds award from Houston Press.