"Planets and galaxies appear on the backdrop and Stokes brings us to a point of wonder in the final movements of the evening. The immense projections are both aspirational and calls into question our small lives. The dancers gesture upward in awe while bending under the weight of such knowledge. The ghost passes through. The Battle of San Jacinto and star travel are in dialog. They are not separate but on a continuum, sharing space, if not time."   Neil Ellis Orts on "DEEP: Seaspace."


Karen Stokes Dance is a non-profit dance company. 


Since 1998, Karen Stokes has created twelve evening length productions in addition to over 45 repertory (short program) works.  Her work emphasizes quirky movement invention, strong rhythmic connections, text, original vocals, and concepts of individuality within a community.  Over the last several years, Stokes has explored creating video projection as an integrated part of her live theatrical productions. Stokes also has created several dance for camera projects and site specific performances. In all three enviroments of stage, film, and site; Stokes works strongly within setting a time and place, whether imaginary or real.


Further background 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, the Travesty Dance Group in Houston (under the direction of Karen Stokes) transitioned to Karen Stokes Dance. Travesty Dance Group in Cleveland continues a strong relationship with KSD as a "sister" company, under the direction of Kimberly Karpanty.


Stokes has an MFA in choreography from UCLA, and a BFA in dance from Ohio State University. From 1998 - 2022, Stokes was Professor & Director of the Dance Program at the University of Houston. In December 2022, Stokes retired from her position at the University of Houston to explore new adventures in life and choreography.




The KSD Board remembers Roberta Stokes (1938-2021), long time dance practicioner, artist, and KSD BOARD member. Thank you for your leadership, guidance, and support Roberta. We honor you.


President:  Agelia Perez Marquez

Vice-President: Tonnie Walker-Beck

Treasurer:  Erica Okoronkwo

Steve McNamara

Buddy Steves

Karen Stokes



Stephan Koplowitz, Lynn Lane, Rebecca Malcolm-Naib



Company Manager:  Toni Valle


2022 Company members:  Brittany Bass, Bethany Logan, Bryan Peck, Michelle Reyes, Davis Stumberg



  • Mapping & Glaicers, 2022, MATCH, Houston
  • Gallery Construction, 2018, MATCH, Houston
  • X20, 2017, MATCH, Houston
  • 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, 2007-2020,  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

"It's sublime, and heartwarming, and what theater should be all the time." Phillip Lehl, Director of "Fourth Wall Theater," on "Mapping & Glaciers" 2022

"Deep but not heavy, filled with the joy of the earth and human soul. A magical journey that pulls you into the space, energy and true moment of then and now and one's self. Amazing dancers and brilliantly choreographed by Director Karen Stokes. So wonderful it moved me to tears."

Keith Cross, Choreographer & Dancer, on "Mapping & Glaciers" 2022


"What emerges in the end is the striking sense of individuality, as if Stokes has studied each person closely and made a hundred solos that,

when performed simultaneously, look like an ensemble."   Theodore Bale, dance critic, on "The Secondary Colors".

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

Karen Stokes Dance has been presenting original dance theater & educational programming in Houston Texas for over 20 years. 


Karen Stokes has been twice recognized as the "best choreographer in Houston" and received a Masterminds award from Houston Press. 

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© Karen Stokes Dance 2016