Dance Houston Gives a Special Salute to Legacy Teaching Dance Artists at the 14th Annual Celebration of Dance at The Wortham Center

CONTACT: Andrea Cody 

dancehouston2016HOUSTON, TEXAS – Dance Houston presents the 14th Annual Celebration of Dance at The Wortham Center, Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. This dazzling evening of awards and performances will honor Mary Martha Lappe, Mitshi Shen, and the late great Patsy Swayze, and feature performances by Houston Ballet, Met Dance, Dance of Asian America, HSPVA, Houston Ballet, The Houston Dance Lab (contemporary); Inertia Dance Company (hip hop), Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church (pantomime), Lunchbox Dance Crew (hip hop), Met Dance (modern), Nritya Dance Company (Indian), Pretty Cultured (African), and Swing, Baby, Swing!  

Honoree Mary Martha Lappe is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and writer who served as HSPVA’s Founding Dance Chair for 25 years and HSPVA Friends Founding Executive Director for 15 years. She authored and implemented the State of Texas’s first dance curriculum and raised several million dollars in private support for young artists and special arts projects at HSPVA including a fifteen-year campaign for a new HSVA facility in Downtown Houston. Lappe has appeared in the national touring companies of West Side Story, Brigadoon, and Wish You Were Here!, and has choreographed hundreds of works for dance and theatre companies. Patsy Swayze is a choreographerdancer, and teacher whose kind heart and Swayze School of Dance helped to build the careers of many successful dancers including Dwight Baxter, Kathy Singleton, Leanna Sparacino, ten-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune, and her son Patrick Swayze. Mitsi Shen is a graduate of the Beijing Dance Academy who founded Mitsi Dancing School in Houston in 1984 after immigrating to the USA from China where she was a principal dancer and teacher for the Shanghai Dance Troupe and Academy. She and her daughter, Janie Yao, led Mitsi Dancing School to the Quarter Finals of America’s Got Talent at Radio City Music Hall in 2013. Mitsi Dancing School has since changed new owners but Mitsi Shen’s legacy carries on in Dance of Asian America – a non-profit founded by Janie Yao and Mitsi Shen to promote and preserve the rich cultural heritage of China through authentic and contemporary dance reaching over 50,000 people annually.

The evening will feature a vignette performance of Swing, Baby, Swing!, a musical journey through the life and times of Norma Miller, a woman whose strong determination through God and faith had the wherewithal to become the best queen of the Lindy Hop.  The piece is co-produced by Dance Houston and Dwight Baxter (Harold Prince’s Grind, Woman of the Year with Lauren Bacall, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Wiz), directed and choreographed by Carla Earle (The Cotton ClubChicagoBubbling Brown Sugar), with featured performer Alde Lewis (My One and Only, Big Deal, The Cotton Club), and music inspired by the legends of the Big Band Era Count Basie, Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong and Ethel Waters. 

Dance Houston is a 501(c) (3) organization with a mission to advance dance as an art form and an instrument to serve the community.  We bring the community together for events and educational programs at such wonderful venues as Miller Outdoor Theater, The Hobby Center for Performing Arts, Discovery Green, Emancipation Park, and Buffalo Bayou Park, and the George R. Brown Convention Center.  

Performance Information:

Location: The Wortham Center – Cullen Theater

501 Texas, Houston, TX  77002

Date: Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: $50 – $100

Discounts: $10 off before Oct 29 and $25 off for students and seniors
VIP benefits include preferred seating and a pre-concert reception  

Box Office: 832.487.7041 or

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