22 Dec

Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre 2010 kicks off with “Celebrate Dance,” a festive gathering of Houston’s unique dance community scheduled January 7 at Warehouse Live. 

Celebrate Dance highlights 30 years of the Jewish Community Center of Houston Dance Month at the Kaplan Theatre and honors June Christensen, Society for the Performing Arts, Andrea Cody, Dance Houston, Christina Giannelli, Dance Source Houston,  Nancy Henderek, Dance Salad, Sixto Wagan, DiverseWorks, and Jennifer Wood /Louie Saletan, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex, Houston’s premier presenters who have helped cultivate the Houston Dance Community. Brad Marks, Champion Benefactor of Dance, will be honored for underwriting the IW Marks Master Class Series, which allows hundreds of students to take classes from dance masters from around the world.  

June Christensen was named Executive Director of Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) in October 2007.  During her 20-year career at SPA, Christensen has played a role in taking the organization from a small, six-member staff producing 11-15 performances per year, to the world-class presenting organization that it is today.  Prior to becoming Executive Director, Christensen served as Director of Programming and Operations. In that capacity, she managed and directed all aspects of production and operations for SPA events, as well as the negotiation of artist contracts. In addition, she was responsible for researching and selecting SPA’s roster of artists.  Since its inception, SPA has presented more than 800 performances of the world’s finest music, dance and theater events and has sought to provide a variety of learning experiences for adults and children through master classes, lectures and special student performances. 

As Dance Houston’s Founding Director, Andrea Cody has produced over a dozen festivals featuring Houston’s most popular local dance companies. She earned a B.A. with honors from University of Chicago, where she studied economics as well as dance history, theory, and choreography. In her youth, she trained in ballet at the Houston Ballet Academy. Her contributions to Houston’s dance community include being a founding member and Vice President of the Houston Swing Dance Society, instructor for Arts Alive, and choreographer for Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Dance of Asian America, City Dance Company, Great Caruso Dinner Theater, and Kuumba House Dance Theater.  She also served on the local host committee for Dance/USA’s 2009 Annual Conference and its showcase selection committee.  Dance Houston was founded in 2003 with the mission to increase dance appreciation in Houston. 

Christina Giannelli, producing director of the Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance and founder of Dance Source Houston has been a dance lover all her life and is firmly committed to furthering the growth and development of the Performing Arts in Houston.  A native New Yorker, Ms Giannelli was educated at Yale College and the Yale School of Drama.  After several years in New York City and at the Williamstown Theater Festival she moved to Houston to be the Lighting Supervisor for Houston Grand Opera. Since then she has worked as a lighting designer for all of the “majors” and many of the “minors” in Houston’s performing arts community.  Her work in Opera and Ballet lighting design has taken her around the world and gained her national recognition. 
Nancy Henderek, Director of Dance Salad Festival (DSF) created this concept of presenting dance when she was living in Brussels, Belgium, where she produced, directed and co-choreographed the first three Dance Salad productions from 1992-1994. Returning to the United States in 1995, Ms. Henderek, through the Houston Dance Coalition (HDC), continued directing Dance Salad, initially at the University of Houston. In 1999, DSF moved to downtown Houston’s premier venue at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater. In 2004, HDC added “International” to its name to reflect the international focus of the Festival. DSF has grown from 2 to 3 evenings of performances, and greatly expanded the number of international companies and dancers presented.

Sixto Wagan Co-Executive Director; Performing Arts Curator, DiverseWorks places particular emphasis on commissioning new works, the process and transparency of an artist’s creative development, and on providing needed funds and space for mid-stage development.  Commissioned works include projects by Pat Graney, Elia Arce, Michelle Ellsworth, Miguel Gutierrez, Aaron Landsman, The Suicide Kings and Tere O’Connor, among others.  He has served on the board of the National Performance Network and as a Hub Site for the National Dance Project.  Wagan has been part of FUSED (French – US Exchange for Dance), the Contemporary Art Centers consortium and the Performing Americas Project (a partnership between the National Performance Network and the Latin American consortium La RED); and has previously served as Dance Down Under Ambassador for the Australian Arts Council and the board president for Q-Fest: The Houston Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Louie Saletan and Jennifer Wood, as Executive Director and Artistic Director, respectively, of Suchu, Inc. together over the past nine years have overseen the development and refurbishment of the building now known as the Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex (BM/AC) from a raw industrial warehouse into a full-fledged, well-equipped dance rehearsal facility and performance venue.  Originally developed as a facility that would be home to Jennifer’s own dance company, Suchu Dance, today BM/AC meets the needs of dozens of performing arts groups and hundreds of independent performing artists each year, offering them a professional yet affordable, spacious yet intimate physical setting in which to create and present their own art to their own audiences.  Louie serves as Managing Director of both BM/AC and the Suchu Dance performing group and is the Executive Director of Suchu, Inc., the 501c3 nonprofit organization that encompasses and oversees both.  

Brad Marks is president of I W Marks Jewelers, recognized in the industry for over 30 years as      the largest and finest jeweler in the greater Houston area.  The Houston native was brought up in his family’s fine jewelry store, where he fine-tuned his knowledge of every aspect of the jewelry retail business. Marks is the son of the late Diane and I.W. Marks.


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