Dance Source Houston Announces 2024 Groundwork Grantees

Mollie Haven Miller
Executive Director
Dance Source Houston

Dance Source Houston Announces 2024 Groundwork Grantees

Dance Source Houston, an arts service organization supporting the Greater Houston dance community, is thrilled to announce the 18 recipients of 2024 Groundwork Grant funds, including 13 dance nonprofit organizations and 5 fiscally sponsored projects. Each member of the grantee cohort was awarded a $5,000 grant to support their activities during the 2024 grant term. 

Awardees for the 2024 grant cycle include Art Uniti, Ashley Horn Dance, Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre, Bayou City Ballet Youth Company, Frame Dance Productions, Group Acorde, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, Inc., Indian Performing Arts Samskriti, ISHIDA Dance, Mezclada Dance Company, Nia’s Daughters Movement Collective, NobleMotion Dance, Open Dance Project, Rivkah French Choreography, Silambam Houston, The Pilot Dance Project, and Wild She Dances. Each grantee will receive a $5,000 operating support grant with the program providing a total of $90,000 in this round. Grantees were selected by a panel of dance artists and administrators following an open application process to eligible dance organizations and fiscally sponsored projects. 

Dance Source Houston has a strong belief in the power and impact of small dance organizations,” said DSH Executive Director, Mollie Haven Miller. “We are excited to support this year’s cohort of grantees with a collective total of $90,000, the largest amount of total funding for the program since its inception. Greater Houston boasts an incredibly diverse and robust dance community and we are honored to be able to provide this much needed opportunity.”

The Groundwork Grant program, now in its fifth year, was created out of a need for additional funding sources for small to midsize dance companies and fiscally sponsored projects. The funds provided continue to be a valuable resource to grantees who have limited access to public funding and foundation support. The Groundwork Grant program is made possible through support from Houston Endowment. 

Meet the Groundwork Grantee Organizations & Fiscally Sponsored Projects

Tami Moschioni is a visual artist working in mixed media creating temporary public art with multi-disciplinary productions occurring in underserved communities. She has certification from the MFA Glassell School of Art and Masters of Architecture from UH. She is the recipient of multiple City of Houston grants and facilitates professional development workshops for creatives in the MAA “Artist Inc.” program. She is a colorist and color field artist.  Color palettes reflect project themes and community culture and are a universal language. Her team based practice is “Art Uniti” which creates site-specific works emphasizing sustainability by repurposing materials and offering free community workshops. Teams are multi-generational fostering mentorship. Collaborating with choreographers and musicians productions are developed with shared creative input to outreach multi-cultural audiences.

Ashley Horn is a Houston-based choreographer, dancer, costume and set designer, video, and installation artist. Her work has an immersive quality exemplified by her unique and highly detailed production elements paired with athletic, innovative, and intensely human movement vocabulary. Ashley began choreographing in Houston in 2004 and has since deepened the audience experience of her work by becoming skilled in costume and set design, video, alternative lighting techniques, and installation art. Her work is often site-specific and has been performed in Houston locations such as The Orange Show, Hotel Icon, Blaffer Gallery, and on a Metro Light Rail station as well as traditional performance venues. Ashley has been the artist in Residence at Rice University, has been a recipient of the HopeWerks Residency, and has been an Artist in Residence for Dance Source Houston.

Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre‘s commitments are to nurture the region’s aspiring performers to their full potential and to expand our diverse communities’ awareness of the performing arts through our exhilarating performances, educational programs, collaborative projects and interactive experiences. Founded in 1976, BAHBT is the only professional non-profit art organization for the south side of Houston. We perform four productions each year and one musical every other year in the Bayou Theatre at the University of Clear Lake. The theatre holds 497 patrons, and we perform 30 shows a year totaling an audience of 12,000- 14,000 patrons. We are a company that hires 3-5 professional dancers and holds open auditions and accepts an average of 50-70 company members each year. Each year we hold an open audition for The Nutcracker and cast up to 125-140 performers/community members.

Bayou City Ballet Youth Company creates access and exposure to the performing arts for the underserved residents of West Houston, while also providing indispensible performance opportunities for advanced ballet students pursuing a professional or collegiate career in dance. The Company is made up of middle and high school students selected from the Bayou City Ballet School. Dancers come from all over the greater Houston area. BCBYC performs on average 8-10 times per year, in West Houston, Midtown, and Downtown, frequently presenting internationally-renowned guest artists. We strongly believe in the power of ballet to change lives. Participation in the company instills the core values of commitment, kindness, and hard work. We share our artform with the community by programming an array of educational events each season, including master classes, performances, and workshops, that are accessible to everyone.

Frame Dance Productions is dedicated to bringing the transformative power of dance to Houston through radically inclusive dance education, collaborative creation, and public-facing performance. Working in partnership with and in service of our community, Frame Dance cultivates the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical well-being of people of all ages and abilities through heart-driven and innovative programs.

Group Acorde came to life with the desire of two contemporary dancers and two jazz improvisational musicians to be a group that truly collaborates in all aspects of the creation process. The company strives to produce high quality work combining original music and contemporary dance choreography, where all artists conceptualize the works from beginning to end. Its mission is to cultivate and educate diverse audiences through live, thought-provoking, original and affordable performance collaborations between contemporary dance and experimental music.  The company broadens its reach through community partnerships that aim to include and engage people from all walks of life through education, dialogue and accessibility.

The Houston Contemporary Dance Company’s mission is to ignite passion for contemporary dance by providing world-class professional repertory concert performances and community engagement activities that are accessible to all regardless of race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, gender variance, or nationality. Houston Contemporary aims to lead and innovate performing arts in Houston by drawing upon the director’s long tradition of inclusiveness and diversity within all facets of the organization.

Dance is an essential core element of a well-rounded arts community and an enriching part of the human experience. Houston Metropolitan Dance is committed to supporting and growing the dance ecosystem through initiatives that emphasize community building, diversity, inclusion, and mentorship and its ability to facilitate and sustain the vitality and creativity of the arts community. HMD programs:  Made in Houston Artistic Programming that supports and provides resources that foster the choreographic development; The Center offers year round, a diverse array of open, public facing dance classes in an inclusive environment with a focus on the introductory and beginner students; Footsteps Through Education provides Arts Education developing core competency and interpersonal skills: creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.

Samskriti is a trail-blazing organization established in 1995 with the mission of becoming an effective cultural conduit between the East and the West, by bringing world class Indian artists to Houston, promoting cross-cultural programs involving local artists from different ethnic backgrounds, organizing educational dance seminars and workshops by eminent scholars and artists from different countries, and through outreach programs in local schools, hospitals, libraries and other community venues. Samskriti’s artistically meritorious programs have attracted diverse audiences from all over Houston and increased appreciation for India’s rich cultural heritage. Samskriti has presented North America’s first international arts conferences in collaboration with Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the University of Houston’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Unique cross-cultural programs presented under the aegis of the Asia Society have added a new dimension to Samskriti’s presentations.

Brett Ishida is Japanese American and grew up on a citrus farm in California’s Central Valley. Brett’s love for dance inspired her to move away from home at age fifteen when she received a full scholarship to the Kirov Academy and later to the SAB in NYC. She danced with Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, where she first choreographed on the company, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens where she toured around the world. At Les Grands Ballets, she collaborated in new creations and performed principal roles in repertoire by Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Didy Veldman and Ohad Naharin, among others. She later graduated from UCLA earning a BA in Literature with emphasis in Creative Writing (Poetry), and MA in Education from St. Mary’s College. She felt by combining those two worlds from her past, she could be a new voice in contemporary dance and started ISHIDA in 2019.

Mezclada Dance Company is dedicated to celebrating diversity through mixing cultures and dance styles to create harmonious, original, and widely relatable blends of dance. Mezclada aims to positively represent these mixed cultures and backgrounds through performance and educational outreach. Mezclada often incorporates Breaking, Hip Hop, Modern, and Latin-inspired music, rhythms, and performance aesthetics within their choreography and classrooms. Their Community Class Series offers free monthly dance workshops that vary geographically and in style. Mezclada is also in partnership with Houston Ballet’s Education Community Engagement program that offers free dance education to underserved schools in the Houston Independent School District.

Nia’s Daughters Movement Collective, founded in 2018, is a multigenerational group of like-minded black women dance and multidisciplinary artists with the mission is to create and support art and wellness initiatives through the lens of Black women and girls. Nia’s Daughters was organized to perform culturally competent dance works while telling the stories of Black women and girls. The organization has grown to be a hub for artistic expression across disciplines and a place where collaboration thrives. This multigenerational and multidisciplinary approach is what makes Nia’s Daughters Movement Collective a unique, yet necessary offering. Since its founding, Nia’s Daughters has evolved from occupying less traditional theater spaces and forged into more multidisciplinary art spaces while remaining committed to telling the stories of Black women and girls. Follow us on Instagram at @niasdaughters and on Facebook at Nia’s Daughters.

NobleMotion Dance (NMD), one of Texas’s premier dance companies, is recognized for their intense physicality, unique collaborations, and jaw-dropping performances. Since the organization’s inception in 2009, NMD has served as a driver of innovation, seeking out collaborations with talented artists and experts from a variety of disciplines, including neuroscience, artificial intelligence, multi-media, and industrial design; composers and musicians; light and set artists; photographers, actors, and poets. NMD accolades include being featured on the Emmy Award winning ABC TV show American Crime and has received over 50 positive reviews. In 2015/2016/2019, Houston Press named NMD “Houston’s Best Dance Company.” NMD’s programming includes performances, creative workshops, educational outreach, dance intensives, and pre-professional mentorship programs. NMD offers a broad repertory and remains focused on creating new work that is emotionally stirring and visually captivating.

Open Dance Project (ODP) is an ensemble-driven dance theater company dedicated to developing and presenting world-class dance theater experiences in Houston and serving as a cultural resource through engaging and enriching education and community programming.  Founded by choreographer/educator Annie Arnoult in 2015 upon her return to her native Houston, ODP is a contemporary dance theater company whose highly stylized performance experiences break down conventional barriers between artist and audience to make dance more accessible and meaningful for both. Collapsing the distance between the subject and the stage, live performance and new media, dance, and theater, Open Dance Project’s immersive performances do away with traditional audience seating, inviting participants to explore from their self-determined vantage point – simultaneously demystifying dance and making dance matter.

Rivkah French Choreography is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to engage audiences and participants in a journey of transformational discovery and expression through both performance and social practice events. Based in Houston’s Fifth Ward and serving the entire region, we provide the community with a low-cost, centrally located studio rehearsal space, offer inclusive in-person performances and workshops, and curate large-scale events showcasing multiple disciplines and styles. RFC provides creatively empowering experiences for all arts-lovers – with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community and allies, ensuring that everyone can fully participate and experience the joy of the arts.

Silambam is Houston’s premiere Indian classical arts organization, seeking to increase the appreciation and understanding of Indian artistic traditions across cultural boundaries. Our unique blend of arts education programs, strong and diverse outreach efforts, hosted performances by local and visiting artists, and an active professional performing Company, all harness the versatility and adaptability of the timeless artistic traditions of India to reach diverse, and ever-expanding communities.

The Pilot Dance Project is a professional Modern dance company based in Houston under the executive and artistic direction of Adam Castan͂eda. In addition to producing his own work through the company, Castan͂eda commissions new dance works by some of the region’s most celebrated choreographers. The company’s annual season includes a robust festival program, including the Texas Latino/a/x Contemporary Dance Festival, the Houston Fringe Festival, and for the first time in 2024, Bayou City Dances, a showcase of the city’s most prolific dance companies at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. The Pilot Dance Project has received funding from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, Bunnies on the Bayou, EmcArts, the BIPOC Arts Network & Fund, the Morales Foundation, the Woodlands Arts Council, Dance Source Houston, and the Midtown Management District.

Wild She Dances is a professional dance company that creates performance experiences rooted in contemporary movement forms, immersive theater tactics, and collective effort. The mission, with an emphasis in collaboration and community, is to provide performance & creative opportunities for professional artists, while ensuring fair treatment, profound inclusivity, and equitable compensation as core values, as well as to engage local community through movement-based partnerships and outreach. The company’s newest partnership kicks off January 2024 with The Women’s Home, offering Healing Movement classes. Wild She Dances’ received the Houston Arts Alliance’s Let Creativity Happen Grant for 2023 work, ‘MILL: An Immersive Experience.’ Founded in 2018 in Brooklyn, NY, the company performed throughout New York City, Ohio, and Texas. In 2019, Wild She Dances’ was a Gibney POP Artist for ‘shaking morning.’ Past community partnerships include the International Rescue Committee & The PILLARS NYC.

About Dance Source Houston

Dance Source Houston is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering the diverse individuals and organizations working in the field of dance throughout the Greater Houston region by means of advocacy, inclusive community engagement, and support services. Founded in 2005, Dance Source Houston is a resource for all things dance in the Greater Houston area and provides programs and services to address the evolving needs of the local dance community. Dance Source Houston is funded in part by support from The City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, Houston Endowment, Mid-America Arts Alliance, The National Endowment on the Arts, and Texas Commission on the Arts.


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