Dance Salad Festival Returns for its 25th Season in Houston 


Description automatically generated

Dance Salad Festival Returns for its 25th Season in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (March 8, 2022) – Houston International Dance Coalition makes a happy return to present the visual majesty that is Dance Salad Festival in April 2022. After a two-year hiatus from the pandemic, Founder and Artistic Director Nancy Henderek presents six well-known dance companies to help celebrate the 25th season of Dance Salad here in our city. 

Following the rousing successes of past festivals, the 2022 season features a stellar roster of internationally renowned dancers, choreographers, musicians, and dance companies from countries around the world offering events featuring the imaginativeness and creativity of the companies hand-selected by Henderek. 

Tickets range in price from $27 up to $62 (inclusive of all fees). Details at

The 2022 Dance Salad Festival centers on three beautifully mixed evenings of dance on April 14, 15 and 16 at the Cullen Theater in the Wortham Center. The free Dance Salad Choreographers Forum is on Wednesday, April 13 at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s Brown Auditorium Theater. Moderated by dance writer Maggie Foyer of London, speakers include Sebastian Kloborg, guest choreographer of the Royal Danish Ballet and choreographer Harold George, founder and Artistic Director of Dunia Dance Theater.

To date, the 2022 season of Dance Salad will feature:

  1. Hofesh Shechter Company, London, UK

Grand Finale (curated version for Dance Salad Festival) choreographed by Hofesh Shechter with live music composed by the choreographer

  1. Semperoper Ballett Dresden, Germany

Pas de deux from The Four Seasons choreographed by David Dawson with music by Max Richter

  1. Royal Danish Ballet’s Kammerballetten, Copenhagen, Denmark

Oenothera choreographed by Tobias Praetorius set to music by Franz Schubert with piano by Alexander McKenzie, violin by Niklas Walentin, and cello by Jonathan Swensen

In Bright Gloom choreographed by Sebastian Kloborg, set to music by Serge Rachmaninov with cello by Jonathan Swensen and piano by Alexander McKenzie

Selvportræt (Self Portrait) choreographed by Paul Lightfoot set to music by Alexander McKenzie featuring piano by the composer, violin by Niklas Walentin, and cello by Jonathan Swensen with dancing by Maria Kochetkova, Sebasitan Kristensen Haynes, Toon Lobach

  1. Royal Ballet of Flanders, Antwerp, Belgium

Jack (solo) choreographed by Drew Jacoby set to music by George Gershwin

  1. Dunia Dance Theatre, Zimbabwe and Belgium

Making Men dance performance and film presentation choreographed by Harold George and filmed by Antoine Panier, set to combined original African and classical Western music scores

  1. Laboration Art Company, France

ANNA choreographed by Laura Arend

For program updates, visit Subscribe to our mailing list for news and updates at For press inquiries, contact Melissa Richardson Banks (213) 537-4483 or Meghan Hendley Lopez (281) 690-6346 or send an email to

ABOUT DANCE SALAD FESTIVAL: Through its Dance Salad Festival, launched by Nancy Henderek in Houston in 1996, Houston International Dance Coalition introduces the community to dancers, choreographers, and companies that residents and visitors probably would never see live otherwise. Year after year, the condensed format of Dance Salad Festival provides an intense exercise in learning how to see and what to see, discerningly in ways that are not obvious from watching repertory programs or attending major festivals in other cities that last for weeks. Unlike other organizations in the city and beyond, the festival has been consistently curated, produced, and presented each year. Featuring mixed-repertoire dance selections from companies around the globe, each festival is designed to be seen together once – exclusively in our city – and never repeated again. The festival’s artistic contributions are embedded into the rich cultural fabric of Houston and our city’s diversity is showcased to local communities and other countries.

# # #

Accolades for Dance Salad Festival by Art Critics and Writers

To acknowledge the momentous milestone of Dance Salad Festival’s 25th season in Houston, two dance writers and art critics share their thoughts about what the festival has meant to them.

Since 1999, MOLLY GLENTZER has covered the Dance Salad Festival in her former role as Senior Writer and Critic, Arts & Culture for the Houston Chronicle (she retired in 2020). She shares:

“As a journalist with a lean travel budget, would I have ever seen Mats Ek and Anna Laguna, Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk, or Paul Lightfoot and Sol León performing their signature collaborations? Would I have witnessed as many unforgettable dancers in their prime – among them Sofiane Sylve, Marie Agnes Guillot, Xing Liang and Vladimir Malakhov? Would I have become familiar with such a diverse choreographic pantheon of contemporary ballet masters or been able to follow the development of the next generation, including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Mauro Astalfi, David Dawson, Susanna Leinonen, Willy Tsai, Marguerite Donlon and Henrique Rodovalho?…As far as I know, there is still nothing like this festival anywhere else in America – or any other dance gathering that is simultaneously so global and intimate…What an exhilarating, virtuosic ride Nancy has given all of us for 25 years, and such an inspired education. I am forever grateful.” 

MAGGIE FOYER, an international dance writer based in London and a long-time moderator of the Dance Salad Choreographers Forum for many years, writes:

“Dance Salad Festival is like no other. At other festivals, you run from one theatre space to another, catching a matinee here, a late-night performance there, and maybe meeting briefly at the hotel. At the Dance Salad Festival, the shared class and afternoon meal breaks forge friendships, bonding artists across the language and cultural barriers. It is a uniquely special event … [Nancy’s] determination in persuading choreographers to bring their curated works to Houston is legendary. Dance survives through cross-fertilization: being introduced to new audiences and for those audiences to spread the word on new names. Houston’s Dance Salad Festival has done sterling work in this respect.”

Profiles of Featured Dance Companies

2022 Dance Salad Festival


Thursday, April 14 | Friday, April 15 | Saturday, April 16 – Cullen Theater at the Wortham Center

  1. Hofesh Shechter Company, London, UK
  2. Semperoper Ballett Dresden, Germany
  3. Royal Danish Ballet’s Kammerballetten, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Royal Ballet of Flanders, Antwerp, Belgium
  5. Dunia Dance Theatre, Zimbabwe and Belgium
  6. Laboration Art Company, France

Hofesh Shechter Company – London, UK 

Hofesh Shechter Company, London, UK is premiering its Grand Finale in Houston. One of the highly prized and talked about choreographic works of 2017, the curated work for Dance Salad is choreographed and set to music by Hofesh Shechter accompanied by live music on stage. Spectacularly bold and ambitious, Grand Finale has been described as “at once comic, bleak and beautiful, evoking a world at odds with itself, full of anarchic energy and violent comedy.” Filtering this irrepressible spirit, Shechter creates a vision of a world in free fall, featuring an exceptional ensemble of dancers and a live band of musicians. With its premiere at La Villette Paris with Théâtre de la Ville on June 14, 2017, Grand Finale was later nominated for an Olivier award for Best New Dance Production and for Outstanding Production in the Bessies. It was also named Production of the Year by Tanz Magazine. Grand Finale has also won a 2019 Dora Award for Outstanding Touring Performance and was nominated for Best Dance Production in the 2019 Helpmann Awards.


★★★★★ A mature and magnificent work … sulphurous, visceral and surprisingly tender.

~ Neil Norman, The Stage 

★★★★ Heart-stopping…Hofesh Shechter’s [Grand Finale] has arrived with a bang!

~ Laura Cappelle, Financial Times 

★★★★ A wild waltz for the end of time … (Grand Finale) ranks among Shechter’s most sophisticated creations.

~ Judith Mackrell, The Guardian

Choreographic fireworks of the set, music, pounding percussion, and dancers’ bodies soaring high, the apocalypse of Grand Finale shakes the compass of tribal dance. A must see.

~ Rosita Boisseau, Le Monde 

An epic fresco of body and emotion … Hofesh Shechter is the king of dramatic contrast.

~ Marie Soyeux, La Croix

ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHER: Choreographer Hofesh Shechter is recognized as one of the most exciting artists making stage work today, renowned for composing atmospheric musical scores to compliment the unique physicality of his movement. Shechter has also staged and choreographed works for leading international dance companies including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Batsheva Ensemble, Candoco Dance Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater 1, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet and Royal Ballet Flanders. He has choreographed for theater, television and opera, notably at the Metropolitan Opera (New York) for Nico Mulhy’s Two Boys, the Royal Court on Motortown and The Arsonists, the National Theatre on Saint Joan and for the Channel 4 series Skins. As part of #HOFEST, a 4 week festival celebrating Shechter’s work across 4 iconic London venues, he co-directed Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice with John Fulljames at the Royal Opera House. In 2016 he received a Tony Award nomination for his choreography for the Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. In 2018 Hofesh Shechter was awarded an honorary OBE for Services to Dance and the company’s first dance film, Hofesh Shechter’s Clowns, was broadcast by the BBC in September to great acclaim.” 

Semperoper Ballett Dresden – Germany

Semperoper Ballett Dresden, Germany makes its 7th appearance at Dance Salad Festival with a pas de deux from the highly acclaimed piece The Four Seasons, created by one of Festival’s most featured choreographers, David Dawson, set to music by Max Richter, which premiered in March 2018.

REACTIONS FROM THE PRESS: “The spherical music of Max Richter’s recomposed Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons inspired David Dawson to create something about the cycle of life, the piece is set within a constantly changing display of shape, color and light. This work can be experienced as a bridge between present and past, or an answer from the future to the past. A journey that is shaped by the bodies of the dancers, held within a space assigned to each of the four elements. The focus is on a human being and aesthetic approach is always born out of profoundly human feelings: ‘I always associate the change of the seasons with the journey of life – from birth to death, beginning and end, and in between everything human: joy, love, fear, and loss,” writes David Dawson.

ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHER: Dawson is one of the leading dance makers working in classical ballet today. His choreographic style transforms classical ballet in new ways, and his signature works have been praised by critics and audiences worldwide. His creations have joined the repertoire of many companies including Boston Ballet, English National Ballet, Semperoper Ballett Dresden, Finnish National Ballet, Kirov Ballet, National Ballet of Marseille, Royal Ballet Flanders, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Royal Swedish Ballet and Norwegian National Ballet. Dawson created The Grey Area for Dutch National Ballet in 2002, and had its US premiere at Dance Salad Festival in 2003 before showing in Boston, Moscow, London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Stockholm, and Tokyo. From 2004-2012 he was Resident Choreographer for Dutch National Ballet where he created significant new works including Morning Ground, which was performed at Dance Salad Festival in 2006. For Faun(e), performed at Dance Salad Festival in 2010, Dawson was nominated as Best Classical Choreographer for the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Award and the Prix Benois de la Danse Choreography Award. Dance Salad Festival audiences have also enjoyed sections of Dawson’s Opus.11 in 2015 and most recently, On the Nature of Daylight in 2018. 

Royal Danish Ballet’s Kammerballeten – Copenhagen, Denmark

Royal Danish Ballet’s Kammerballeten is excited to come back to Dance Salad Festival, with the work Selvportræt (Self Portrait) choreographed by Paul Lightfoot set to music composed and performed by Alexander McKenzie on piano, Niklas Walentin on violin, and Jonathan Swensen on cello with dancing by Maria Kochetkova, Sebasitan Kristensen Haynes and Toon Lobach. They will also perform Oenothera choreographed by Tobias Praetorius set to music by Franz Schubert with piano by Alexander McKenzie, violin by Niklas Walentin, and cello by Jonathan Swensen. In addition, they will perform In Bright Gloom choreographed by Sebastian Kloborg, set to music by Serge Rachmaninov with live cello by Jonathan Swensen and piano by Alexander McKenzie.

REACTIONS FROM THE PRESS: “Are they in love? Are they naive? Or do these youthful dancers and musicians in Kammerballetten simply possess a very rare talent? In any case, they are clearly in love with both dance and music, and their audience is smitten with this love for classical ballet technique and classical music. The musicians play themselves close to the dancers’ bodies, so that music and choreography melt together. Just as when pianist Alexander McKenzie sits on his piano chair, while ballerina Emma Håkansson embraces him – and nevertheless, his hands continue to play on,” exclaims Anne Middleboe Christensen of

Royal Ballet of Flanders, Antwerp, Belgium

Royal Ballet of Flanders, Antwerp, Belgium will premiere Jack in the USA, choreographed by one of their highly acclaimed contemporary dancers and the company’s former principal dancer, Drew Jacoby, set to music by George Gershwin. This work premiered at Linbury Theater Royal Opera House, London in April 2019. The solo from Jack will be performed at DSF 2020 by the Royal Ballet of Flanders’s dancer, Tiemen Bormans.

REACTIONS FROM THE PRESS: “For all its shock value, Jack was a highly intelligent, tightly structured piece, one that really did shine a new light on contemporary culture and dance’s place in it.” ~ Culture Whisperer, London.

ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHER: Born in Boise, Idaho in 1984, Drew Jacoby studied at San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Her professional career began at age 17 with Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet in 2002. In 2005, she joined Sylvie Guillem’s Japan tour, performing alongside dancers from The Royal Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet. She founded her own company with former Dutch National Ballet soloist Rubinald Pronk, which was based in New York City and toured to venues such as Jacob’s Pillow and Holland Dance Festival from 2007-2012. While in New York, she also danced with Christopher Wheeldon’s Morphoses, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Lar Lubovitch. In 2012, Drew was invited to join Nederlands Dans Theater, where she stayed for three years before joining the Royal Ballet of Flanders as a principal dancer in 2015. In 2016, she collaborated on a dance film with choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and musical/visual artist Woodkid in Paris. She has performed works by choreographers including William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Maurice Bejart, George Balanchine, Jean Christophe Maillot, and Pina Bausch, and has had original works created on her by Christopher Wheeldon, Lightfoot/Leon, Marco Goecke, Crystal Pite, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, Lar Lubovitch, Edouard Lock, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Mauro Bigonzeti. In 2018 she was nominated for a Benois de la Danse award for her performance in Pina Bausch’s Cafe Muller. She was featured as a dancer and choreographer in the official music video Cold, by the Editors and played the role of Loie Fuller in the 2020 feature film, Radioactive, directed by Marjane Satrapi. Her choreography has been performed at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Lucent Dans Theater in The Hague, the Royal Opera House in London, and the Joyce Theater in New York. Duet Jacoby & Pronk performed One choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa in Dance Salad Festival 2008 and Softly As I Leave You choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon was presented in Dance Salad Festival 2010.

Dunia Dance Theatre – Zimbabwe and Belgium

Dunia Dance Theatre, an Afro-contemporary dance company, based in Brussels, Belgium and Harare, Zimbabwe, will make their debut in the U.S. and in Houston with Making Men, created and directed by Sierra Leonean choreographer Harold George and film director Antoine Panier. The choreographer reflects: “I chose dance because it was the least masculine artistic activity I could find. I had no reason to love masculinity.” The film section of Making Men received first prize at the Verve Dance Film Festival.

REACTIONS FROM THE PRESS: “Can failure to fit the stereotype of masculinity lead young men to the unease and violence we witness in many societies today? Are they free to choose to do so in any way they deem appropriate, or are they forced into a mold?” According to Canadian author Michael Kaufman, in the patriarchal system that dominates most of the world, the male child must always repress his ‘femininity’ or anything resembling his mother to affirm his masculinity. The feminine is seen to contradict the masculine and therefore must be denied. This leads to a defensiveness arising from the refusal of femininity and all things feminine. As a result, later in life, he hates women as they represent what he hates in himself. Among the results of this process is violence in general and violence against women in particular (source: 

ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHER: Based in Brussels, Belgium since 2001, Dunia Dance Theatre presents work in which storytelling and elements of African mythology merge with modern and African dance techniques to create a contemporary dance experience. Harold George incorporates plastic arts as well as new media techniques in his dance work ideas; the result speaks to the emotions through an aesthetic emerging from a diaspora experience.

Laboration Art Company – France

Laboration Art Company, France will premiere the choreography ANNA in Houston for two female dancers, created by choreographer, company’s Founder and Artistic Director, Laura Arend. ANNA is an expression of respect towards five exceptional female personalities, little recognized or forgotten, yet described by the choreographer as those who “take control of their destinies, live their dreams.” These five women — Lise Meitner, Sophie Scholl, Clarenore Stinnes, Pina Bausch and Clara Schuman — are at the source of inspiration for this choreographic work. 

Her work on nuclear physics and radioactivity has made Lise Meitner famous, although the Nobel Prize Committee has never rewarded her work. Sophie Scholl’s integrity in the face of Nazism inspires… reflection on our choices, our determination…”It was Clarenor Stinnes’ bravery that made her travel the world by car, thus becoming an example of physical and mental non-renunciation: it is to move forward in spite of the difficulty of the task that allows liberation. Pina Bausch’s creativity leads us to consider the place of beauty within a scenic creation process and its relationship to the public.Clara Schuman, wife of the famous pianist and composer Robert Schuman, gave up her career in favor of the one of her husband…Mother of eight children, she remains one of the greatest pianists of the 19th century.” (source: In ANNA, the choreographer inquires how the determination of these women influence or frustrate us today and what lessons can we learn from that.

REACTIONS FROM THE PRESS: “A ‘dance that dances’ dear to the choreographer who puts her body technique and that of her dancer at the service of her art. A round trip between tension and fluidity, engagement and commitment, and acceleration through the portraits drawn. …] The simple and effective scenography builds an effective storyboard for a danceable and poetic journey through her portraits of women.” (source:

ABOUT THE CHOREOGRAPHER: Trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon and at Jeune Ballet, Laura then continued studying at Merce Cunningham Studio in New York City, NY. In 2011, she joined the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel, the same year that she created her Laboration Art Company.

About the Author

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published.