Links to press:


Houston Choreographer Karen Stokes Maps a Life Reset Houston Chronicle 2022

Friday Feature Karen Stokes University of Houston Interview 2020

Constructing Life Amoung Art Dance Source Houston 2018

Dance & Film Make Perfect Pairing Houston Chronicle 2018

Three Questions for Choreographer Karen Stokes Houston Chronicle 2017

Karen Stokes Dance Turns 20 Dance Source Houston 2017

DEEP: Seaspace Review Dance Source Houston 2016

Sea & Space: Karen Stokes mines Houston History Texas Arts+Culture 2016

Inspired by Ship Channel, NASA Houston Chronicle 2016

Dive into the DEEP Houston Press 2016

Review on Sunset at White Oak Bayou 2015

Best Choreographer 2015 Houston Press  2015

Sunset at White Oak Bayou & Framing Dance TexasArts+Culture 2015

Sunset at White Oak Bayou Houston Press Preview 2015

Texcentricity by Nancy Wozny 2015

Drench draws crowds Daily Cougar 2015

In Deep:  Karen Stokes Interview 2015

10 Tiny Dances Review Texas Arts+Culture 2015

Stage set for Backstage Houston Chronicle 2015

Backstage at Allen's Landing by Mike Emery  2015

Texas Arts+Culture Article by Nancy Wozny  2014

Review on Dance Film & Conversation  2014

Preview on Channel/1836 Houston Chronicle  2014

Houston HIstory & Dance, Change Magazine 2014

Best Choreographer 2014 Houston Press 2014

KSD honored with Masterminds Award 2013

Preview Vine Leaf Dances Houston Chronicle 2012

Vine Leaf Dances in Arts & Culture by Nancy Wozny 2012

Review "KSD Shines" at Theater District Houston Press 2012

Dance/USA Article on Choreographers also affiliated with Universities 2012

Review by David Groover on The Secondary Colors 2011

Review by Theodore Bale on The Secondary Colors 2011

Year in Contemporary Dance by Theodore Bale 2011

Preview The Secondary Colors Houston Chronicle 2011

Building a Dance:  Great Day Houston Channel 11 2011

How Dance Gets Made: Houston Chronicle 2011

Nurturing Choreographers Article 2011

Preview on performance in Sweden 2010

Review on The Recycle Club 2009

Review by David Groover on Portbles 2008

Review by Molly Glentzer on Portables Houston Chronicle 2008



What's Been Said:

  • "Instead of dancing with art, the company members danced in, underneath and around it. From Onishi’s floating, mountainous form and Park’s hanging Plexiglas sculpture to Agha’s illuminated cube and Brinkmann’s unkempt room, the dancers seemed empowered by the magnitude of each work, and it was easy to feel inspired, especially by the first three. One particularly moving moment came to life on screen – a duet between two men around a metal fixture suspended in the center of a room. As they seamlessly flowed through the choreography, cutouts in the cube casted incredibly intricate and shadowy patterns – like those of a kaleidoscope – on the walls, ceiling and floor. It is a breathtaking vision that went too soon . . . " Lawrence Knox, Dance Source Houston 2018
  • "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, Dance Source Houston 2016
  • "In Houston, it’s Karen Stokes who comes to mind as an artist tightly tied to Texas. I named Stokes a choreographer of “place” over a decade ago when she created Hometown, her choral/kinetic poem to the Bayou City. Now heading up Karen Stokes Dance, she’s exploring the ground truth with Backstage at Allen’s Landing, nine art and performance installations that reflect on the landscape, history, architecture, and habitat of a historic Houston site named for Houston founders Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen . . .  She is not only the choreographer of Houston but on Houston."  Nancy Wozny, Texas Arts & Culture 2015
  • "Stokes confronted us with the reality of our own Houston history ("Channel/1836").  Militant gliding dervishes spun in red skirts representing the generations of ship channel workers who have remained anonymous to the rest of Houston.  A standout trio in red pants were vigorous movers revealing the physical labor in the ship channel. The piece transitioned from era to era and land to sea through video footage, costumes, and hard hat buoys, all the while leaving me stunned about this entire part of Houston I know relatively little about."  Lydia Hance, Dance Source Houston 2014
  • "I found the end of the piece remarkably tender. After reforming the initial line and performing a fast series of individual gestures, the dancers turned to one another and embraced slowly, as though exploring something new and profound. Pairs turned to walk slowly upstage, while one dancer remained, holding himself in his arms and gazing up while the lights slowly faded around him."    Alex Randall, Houston Press, August 2012
  • "The most adventurous, if not spectacular, work this year from a Houston-based choreographer was the premiere of Karen Stokes and Bill Ryan’s The Secondary Colors in October at The Hobby Center."  Theodore Bale, Culture Map,  December 2011
  • "Secondary Colors is not a secondary work by an means. It is fiercely collaborative it all ways: music and movement, music and movement with visuals. Stokes’ company is dancing better than ever, even relishing in the pregnant  presence of Lauren Cohen and Erica Okoronkwo, who’s impending motherhood has given their steps an added bounce. It’s given the entire troupe an extra bounce, too, not that it hasn’t been in evidence before. Bounce and elan are just two of Karen Stokes’ many specialties. Nothing secondary about that at all."  Dance Source Houston 2011
  • "The premiere of choreographer Karen Stokes and composer  Bill Ryan’s The Secondary Colorsin Houston was not only a chance to hear some first-rate musicians play Ryan’s strikingly  original score, but also a gathering of the finest contemporary dancers in the city.  The piece is a great success, sophisticated and imaginative, unlike any other dance I’ve seen."  Texas, A Concept 2011
  • “Karen Stokes is down with a video camera, is a wiz at Home Economics (check out those cool, grunge Renaissance Faire gowns and corsets in Distreston), loves to sing in a Laurie Anderson kind of way, and has more quirky moves thana guilty student caught by the principal . . . she is ripe with fun . . . the evening passed by in a blink, which says something lovely about the pleasantness of the enterprise.”  David Groover, Dance Source Houston 2008
  •  “Normally an artist is careful to avoid recycling ideas.  With The Recycle Club, Karen Stokes reclaimed her own.  All was sorted and in the right bins for an evening teeming with clever fun.”  Nichelle Strzepek, Dance Source Houston 2009
  • “Karen Stokes’ Prelude to Three Temperaments blasts open the quirky world of human gesture . . . the piece plays like a careful study of eccentricity – charming, deep with delight, and elegantly rendered by these three diverse movers.”  Nancy Wozny, Dance Source Houston 2007
  • HOMETOWN was, simply put, brilliant.  The combinations of spoken and sung dialuge coupled with the ryhtym, line, story , color, and sheer unceasing inventiveness prouduced a stage presence in which one could revel . . . I was floored.”  Mark Powell, Former Director of Uniquely Houston at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts 2006
  • “Stokes has mastered the art of making something special from what she’s given . . . Portables shows the depth of her inventiveness.”  Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle 2008
  • “Based on a bold, rhythmic score created by Stokes, Green plays out in strokes broad enough to capture the attention of passers by.”  Nancy Wozny, Houston Chronicle 2008
  • Olka Module, a work from Houston, was ultra-cool and utlra-amusing. Wearing black sunglasses, Karen Stokes was clad in a silver skirt and Brent Smith in a matching silver shirt.  After prancing around the stage, they alighted behind two microphone stands and sang a quite credible rendition of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” from Oklahoma . . . the tour force came as they sang backward, the music ending with “Oh” . . . they ended with a delirious dance.”  Margaret Putnam, Dallas Morning News 2005
  • “The highlight of Program B, The Pronoun Pieces has an enigmatic edge . . . the force of the section comes in Stokes’ agile use of stage space and shifting groupings.”  Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle 2005
  • “One of the most inventive and experimental pieces of the evening (“Traffic” performed at Dance/USA national conference) was choreographer Karen Stokes incorporating dance, acting and prose into one performance in an attempt to po9ke fun at the instanity of Houston’s heavy traffic, aggression of Houston’s drivers and gas-guzzling Suburbans.”  Clara Riggs, The Daily Cougar 2009
  • “Karen’s work is intelligent, challenging but accessible, interesting to watch, exciting, and surprising . . . I don’t know if Karen would like this, but she is like a Twyla Tharp.  You see an evolution, her work is highly intellectual, yet witty, and she has different vocabulary which makes it time after time an interesting evening of dance theater.”  Toby Mattox, Former Director of the Society for Performing Arts in Houston in interview about Hometown 2006
  • “Stokes’ multi-media work refuses to be pigeonholed in a category of the past – which is exactly what we need more of in the future.”  Lauren Kern, Houston Press 1999
  • “HOMETOWN is a pastiche of expertly woven dances, songs and spoken texts that reflect familiar themes in unexpected ways . . . Stokes’ quirky movement vocabulary is often angular and robotic – there’s a lot of freezing in place – but it’s not predictable.  There’s plenty of joyful leaping and nimble tumbling too.”  Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle 2003
Master Minds Award 2013 from Houston Press

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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