The Pilot Dance Project Presents jhon r. stronks’ “Once upon a time in the land of green skies, blue grass, and red bottom shoes …”

Executive/Artistic Director: Adam Castaneda
(832) 649-2096

The Pilot Dance Project Presents

jhon r. stronks’ Once upon a time in the land of green skies, blue grass, and red bottom shoes

The final production at the Pilot on Navigation before it closes its doors on May 15.

Photo by Melissa Sweazy.

The Pilot Dance Project will present the final evening-length production at the Pilot on Navigation, formerly Frenetic Theater, before the independent black box theater closes its doors on May 15. The Pilot Dance Project will present an original dance work by acclaimed dance-maker jhon r. stronks, Once upon a time in the land of green skies, blue grass, and red bottom shoes …

Dates: April 28, 29, 30 and May 5, 6, 7

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: The Pilot on Navigation, 5102 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77011

Tickets: $16 presale, $20 at the door

For tickets and more information please visit

Photo by Melissa Sweazy.

stronks’ new work is an extended improvisational score that began as a series of workshops in the fall of 2016. Mixing mythology with contemporary concerns of community, identity, and accountability, Once upon a time in the land of green skies, blue grass, and red bottom shoes … is an allegorical fairy tale that utilizes the entirety of the Pilot on Navigation facility, including its dance studio, workshop area, exhibit hall, outdoor patio, and black box theater. stronks will collaborate with new media artist Brian Buck and costume designer Claire Hummel to create an interactive journey through the space that asks audience members to question their role in the present state of cultural affairs.

“I’m really excited that jhon is closing the space,” says Adam Castaneda, who has managed the space for the past two years. “His work has said so much to me over the years, and I think red bottom shoes … is about to say much more. It is very much a reflection of this organization’s transition period, the Houston dance community at large, and the chaos of this current administration.”

The ensemble was cast from a broad spectrum of the Houston dance community, and includes long-time stronks collaborators as well as dancers new to his process. Once upon a time in the land of green skies, blue grass, and red bottom shoes … will run for six evenings and offer a different experience each night.

The Pilot on Navigation is managed by FrenetiCore, a 501(c) non-profit arts organization that has produced original dance in Houston since 2003. The decision to close the theater was made by Executive/Artistic Director Adam Castaneda with the support of the organization’s Board of Directors. “The terms of my lease renewal were not favorable to my budget or my programming, so after much thought and consideration, I’ve decided to leave this space,” says Castaneda. “Naturally, this is not ideal for me, the newly formed Pilot Dance Project, or the artists who produce here on a regular basis, but it’s the only viable option.”

FrenetiCore’s office will move to the MATCH, along with the 10th Annual Houston Fringe Festival. The organization’s dance programming will be moved to other venues in the East End for the remainder of 2017, and will begin presenting at MATCH in 2018.


Shanon Adame, Emily Alvarez, Julie Bata, Brittani Broussard, Adam Castaneda, Roy Daniel, Somya Gupta, Eva Jin, Cloe Leppard, Nicole McNeil, jhon r. stronks, and Lori Yuill.

About the Choreographer:

jhon r. stronks is often accused of presenting audiences with seemingly unruly work that reveals itself according to its own logic. Seeing himself as a collage artist stronks combines the fundamental elements of composition and choreography, with a confluence of movement styles and techniques drawn from his personal movement foundation in Modern, Post-Modern, Jazz, Classical Ballet and Africanist dance training. From this place, Stronks dives into the deep end playing with alternative structures for dance making that are more intuitive and often unpredictable. The result is the creation of a broad field for the dancing, where the context is clear; the eye has choices, and the viewer gets to decide.

As a performer he has worked with Winifred R. Harris’ Between Lines (Los Angeles), Keith Johnson and Dancers (Los Angeles), Duende Dance Theater (Atlanta), Coriolis Dance Project (Atlanta), Sandra Organ Dance Company (Houston), Travesty Dance Group (Houston), Leslie Scates (Houston), Pink Aware (Houston) and Spent Five Seasons as a Member of Core Performance Company (Atlanta).

jhon served as a resident guest Artist (2001 -2006) for Spelman Dance Theater at Spelman College in Atlanta Ga., Artsitic Director for Africa to A –Train a music and dance collaboration between Neighborhood Music Scools of Georgia State and Moving in The Spirit in Atlanta, GA., and Director of the Houston Metropolitan Dance Centers pre- professional dance program and youth company. He is the Artistic Director of “there…in the sunlight” a project heading that functions as a vehicle for stronks’ independent choreography. Choreographic awards and achievements include Houston Press’s 2014 Houston Master Mind, Houston Press Best of 2013 in the Contemporary and Modern Dance Categories, two 2008 Buff Orpington Awards for Houston Contemporary Dance Achievement, Best Choreographic Work Under 15 Minutes and Best Choreographic Work 15 to 40 Minutes.

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The Pilot Dance Project is a program of FrenetiCore, a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization with the mission to empower and transform communities through innovative dance, theater, and visual art. The organization is based out of the Pilot on Navigation, a black box theater facility located in Houston’s East End. The 2017 season includes new evening-length dance work by acclaimed Houston dance-makers jhon r. stronks, Jennifer Mabus, and Jaime Fruge.    


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