Summer Intensive Director
- Donald C. Shorter
- SDI Director
Donald C Shorter
Assistant Professor of Dance - Sam Houston State University
MFA in Dance - NYU Tisch School of the Arts
BA in Liberal Studies - West Chester University
Donald is a former company member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. During that time he had the honor of creating THE NAZ with Bill T. Jones, which was performed in his one-man show As I was Saying. Broadway national touring credits include Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, A Chorus Line, and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Donald is the creator, writer, and performer of his one-woman show GENDEROSITY, which looks at the process of his drag transformation and uses drag to talk about gender nonconformity. Shorter has restaged choreography from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at Barnard College, Towson University, and University of Idaho. He has premiered solo works at the Pompidou Centre, American College DanceFestival, ALLGOLD artist space at MOMA PS1, The Actor's Fund Building, Center for Performance Research, 92nd Street Y, and at the Performance Mix Festival. Shorter is currently a co-host of the PBS Digital Studios web series First Person PBS. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from West Chester University and received an M.F.A. in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts under a Dean’s Fellowship.×
- Alissa Dresize
- SDI Faculty
Alissa grew up in southeast Texas and graduated Sam Houston State University with a BFA in Musical Theatre and Dance. While in college, she performed with the Houston Symphony’s A Very Merry Pops, danced aboard Majesty of the Seas with Royal Caribbean, and performed in Hello, Dolly! at Theatre Under the Stars in Houston. Alissa became a Radio City Rockette in 2009 and is recently in her 9th year. With the Rockettes, she has performed on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, America’s Got Talent, The 2017 Tony Awards, Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting, the 2018 VMA’s, and numerous other TV shows.
Alissa’s other professional credits include the New York Spectacular, A Chorus Line (Sheila Bryant), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Beatrice), West Side Story (Shark/Estella), Spamalot, White Christmas, Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins, and Oliver.
Between shows, Alissa teaches aspiring dancers all over the country.×
- SDI Faculty
Avery-Jai is a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and earned a BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. With her sight set on enriching her dance training, she embraced a global perspective and studied internationally in Austria at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance and Israel with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s Dance Journey program. Avery-Jai has freelanced in New York and Europe with Keyhole Dance Project of Padova, Italy, Indah Walsh Dance Company of New York City, and in “Moving Stills,” a collaborative work presented in Hamburg, Germany. She has also had the privilege to work with noted choreographers Allyson Green, Crystal Pite, Kendra Portier, Renee Redding-Jones and Nathan Trice. Currently, Avery-Jai is a regular performer with New York based cullen+them, an intergenerational performing arts organization dedicated to using movement and spoken word to encourage critical thinking and activism.×
- Courtney Jones
- SDI Faculty
Named one of Dance Magazine's 25 to Watch in 2012, Courtney D. Jones is a professional dancer, educator and actress. She is a 1999 Presidential Scholar in the Arts for Choreography and a graduate of the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston, Texas. Courtney began her professional career in Miami, FL with the Freddick Bratcher and Company Contemporary Dance Theatre while attending New World School of the Arts.
Courtney is a proud graduate of SUNY Purchase in 2004 with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Psychology, graduating with honors. After graduation, she worked with the Kevin Wynn Collection and joined Jennifer Muller/The Works where she taught and toured internationally for four seasons.
With a growing interest in theatre she joined the cast of Show Boat in 2008 accomplishing a long-standing goal to perform at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. She went on to join Broadway's First National Tour of WICKEDin 2009.
In 2010 she returned to Texas and joined Hope Stone Dance. She can also be seen acting, dancing and choreographing for many of Houston's theatre stages including the Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston Grand Opera Theatre Under The Stars.
Courtney is a highly sought after consultant who has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Houston and a professional teaching artist for Hope Stone Dance, MET Dance Company, SUCHU Dance, and the Urban Souls Dance Company.
Ms. Jones is the full-time dance teacher at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. She continues to guest teach at notable universities, workshops and intensives including Bates Dance Festival, Dancers Give Back Dallas, Bowdoin College, Colorado Mesa University, Rice University and the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive (NYC) and is a freelance choreographer under the moniker the CDJ Project. Her work has been commissioned by METdance, Urban Souls Dance Company, Colorado Mesa University, Rice Dance Theatre and the Arlington Heights High School and presented at the DanceNOW Festival in Lewiston, Maine, the YES! Dance Invitational in Richmond, Virginia, Counter Current Festival, Barnstorm Dance Fest and the Dance Gallery Festival in Texas.×
- Lauren Kravitz
Lauren Kravitz is a freelance dance artist living in Brooklyn. She received her early training from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she studied under Lily Weiss and Garfield Lemonius and performed works by Kate Skarpetowska, Larry Kegwin, Jessica Lang, and Troy Powell among others. She later attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, performing works by Pamela Pietro, Debrah Jowitt, and Crystal Pite before graduating with a BFA in Dance. Lauren began performing with Take Dance in 2013 during their New York season at Symphony Space and has since travelled nationally and internationally as a company member to the Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis, Artsquest at Steelstacks in Bethlehem, PA, and the Brinca Brunca Festival in Costa Rica among others. Lauren became a member of Indah Walsh Dance Company in 2015. With IWDC, she has been in residency at The Watermill Center and performed at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Danspace Project, Lawrence University, and the Jack Crystal Theater. Lauren joined Seán Curran Company in 2016 and has performed with them at the Prince Theater in Philadelphia, the Rose Theater through Lincoln Center Education, Bryant Park, and Jazz at Lincoln Center and Cipriani as part of the Tisch Gala among others. She has assisted Seán at Peridance Capezio Dance Center's Winter Intensive and at The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, CA where the company spent 3 weeks teaching, creating work on students and performing. Lauren recently performed in the company’s newest work “Everywhere All The Time” which premiered at the Alys Stephens Center in Birmingham, AL, and will be a part of Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival this Fall. Lauren is a co-creator and performer, alongside Shantel Prado, of the performance duo bait, whose work often consists of live performance, video, and installation in spaces outside the proscenium. The duo's premiere work "Bathtime" was a group art show presented at Holyrad Studio in Brooklyn. Since then, the pair has shown works at the Jack Crystal Theater, Harvest Dance Fest in the the Lower East Side, and more.
- Angie Lu
- SDI Faculty
Angie Lu was born in California and raised in Taiwan, started her dance training in classical ballet, modern dance, folk dance and traditional Chinese dance in Taiwan. Ms. Lu received her BFA in dance from New World School of the Arts /University of Florida in 2015 and MFA at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts in 2017. While at school, she had the privilege of performing in work of Kyle Abraham, Bobbi Jene, Peter London, and Jose Limon. She also performed in Crystal Pite’s Polaris with Kidd Pivot Dance Company at New York City Center as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. In 2017, she joined Shen Wei Dance Arts company. While touring with the company, she performed “Folding” and “Rite of Spring” at the Vancouver International Dance Festival and “行意聲” at the 2018 Shenzhen Belt and Road International Music Festival. In addition to her love of dance, she has a passion for Pilates and is a certified Pilates teacher.
- Betty Harless Nicolay
- SHSU, Adjunct Lecturer
Betty Harless Nicolay
M.Ed., University of Texas
B.S., Texas Christian University
Betty's professional performing experience is with the Contemporary Dancers Canada (previously Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers) in Winnipeg, Canada under the direction of Bill Evans, Rachel Browne, and Tedd Robinson. As a member of that repertory company, she performed coast-to-coast across Canada. Among the many outstanding choreographers with whom she had the privilege of working are Bill Evans, Charles Moulton, Dan Wagoner, Lynn Taylor - Corbett, and Rodney Griffin. Among her favorite roles were 'Lady in Black' in Lynn Taylor - Corbett's "Spy in the House of Love", the youngest wife in Bill Evans's "The Legacy", and 'The Turning Girl' in Rodney Griffin's "Rialto". Another of her favorite works to perform was Dan Wagoner's "Spiked Sonata". In two of her off - seasons, Betty received Manitoba Arts Council grants for continuing education at Toronto Dance Theatre and with Bill Evans in Winnipeg.
Betty graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Texas Christian University and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas in Austin. She earned her comprehensive Core Connections Pilates mat and equipment certification from Wendy LeBlanc - Arbuckle of the Pilates Center of Austin in 2006. She became certified as a Pilates Method Alliance instructor in 2012 and completed her BASI Pilates Dance - Specialization certification with Karen Clippinger and her Balanced Body Mat and Reformer Instructor Training in 2014.
Betty is also certified for Primary through Level III in American Ballet Theatre's National Training Curriculum. At present she teaches ballet, Pilates, and other forms of dance, at Sam Houston State University while also teaching classes and private clients in the Pilates Method at a private studio in Huntsville.
- Dana Nicolay
- SHSU, Full Professor
M.F.A., Dance, Texas Christian University
Dana E. Nicolay is a Professor of Dance at Sam Houston State University (SHSU). As a member of professional companies such as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Houston Ballet, Contemporary Dancers Canada and Space/Dance/Theater he toured throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. With these companies he performed the works of many noted choreographers including George Balanchine, Sir Frederic Ashton, Eugene Loring, August Bournonville, John Cranko, and John Neumier. He has worked professionally with Agnes De Mille, Rudy Van Dantzig, Hans Van Manen, Bill T. Jones, Dan Wagoner, Bill Evans, James Clouser, and Nita Little among many others.
During his graduate study at Texas Christian University Dana was privileged to work with Dr. Dan Southard in the areas of Biomechanics and Motor Control and with Dr. Ken Lawrence in the study of Religious Art throughout the ages and across many cultures. His certification program in Laban Movement Analysis with Peggy Hackney, Janice Meaden and Ed Groff at Integrated Movement Studies was a profound and rewarding experience.
The American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), the Mid-America Dance Network (MADN), and Regional Dance America (RDA) have recognized Dana's choreography for excellence. His work Sabachthani, was selected for the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He has also served as South - Central Regional Representative for ACDFA.
As an administrator Mr. Nicolay was SHSU Dance Program Coordinator from 1991 - 2002. Under his leadership, the program achieved 14 selections for ACDFA regional festival gala concerts, which ultimately lead to 5 consecutive bi-annual selections for the National College Dance Festival.
Dana served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for 7 years where he chaired the design and programming committee for the $38.5 million James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center. Following this he served briefly as Interim Dean of the newly formed College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication.×
- Andy Noble
- SHSU, Associate Professor; Associate Chair of Dance
M.F.A., Dance, with emphasis in Dance Technology, Florida State University
B.A., Modern Dance, University of South Florida
Andy Noble is Co-Artistic Director of NobleMotion Dance and an Associate Professor/ Associate Chair at Sam Houston State University. He also serves as the Associate Artistic Director of the Dance Gallery Festival, an international festival that occurs every year in New York City. Houston Press has recognized Andy as one of Houston’s 100 Most Creative. Additionally, he has served as faculty at the University of South Florida and Western Washington University as well as been a guest artist at numerous other universities and performance art high schools across the country. Andy’s performing career includes six years with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT), where he performed in over forty choreographic works by such noted masters as Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. He also had the honor of working first-hand with many cutting edge contemporary and international artists such as Gideon Obarzanek (Chunky Move), Jø Strømgren and Zvi Gotheiner. Andy has received numerous grants for his choreography. His work with NobleMotion Dance has been critically recognized and presented at venues such as The Alvin Ailey Theatre, Seattle's On the Boards, The A.W.A.R.D. Show!, Houston’s Big Range Dance Festival, Dance Houston, Florida Dance Festival and Repertory Dance Theatre (UT). NobleMotion Dance was recently listed in Dance Magazine as one of Houston’s “A-list” dance companies. His work has also been selected for the National Dance Festival at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Andy holds a BA in Modern Dance from the University of South Florida and a MFA with an emphasis in Dance Technology from Florida State University. For more information about NobleMotion Dance, please visit www.noblemotiondance.com.×
- Dionne Sparkman Noble
- SHSU, Associate Professor; Graduate Advisor
Dionne Sparkman Noble
M.F.A., Dance with emphasis in Dance Technology, University of Utah
B.A., Ballet and Modern Dance, University of South Florida
Dionne Noble is co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance, who was just named Houston’s Best Dance Company. Dionne is an Associate Professor of Dance at Sam Houston State University where she directs the graduate program and teaches modern technique, choreography, research methods and dance and technology. She has also served as faculty at Florida State University, University of South Florida and Western Washington University. Dionne received a BA in dance from the University of South Florida and a MFA in modern dance with an emphasis in dance and technology from the University of Utah.
Dionne was a member of the Demetrius Klein Dance Company in Miami, Florida and performed with Repertory Dance Theatre, Paradigm Dance Project and Moving Current Dance Collective. She has had the great opportunity to work with other artists such as Joe Goode, Molissa Fenley, Stephen Koester and Sean Curran. Her technological credits include being a contributing writer and consultant for ChoreoVideo.com, a web-based media resource designed in 2007 to promote innovative instruction in the area of dance technology. She has presented her research in dance technology at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities and had dance films shown in InShadow – International Festival of Video, Performance and Technology, Lisbon, Portugal, Utah Dance Film Festival, and Motion Captured, An Evening of Dance on Film, Houston, TX.
Dionne was named one of Houston’s 100 Creatives of 2013 by the Houston Press and her choreographic work was just featured on ABC’s television series “American Crime.”×
Department of Dance
815 17th Street, Suite 150, Huntsville, TX 77340
Phone: (936) 294-3342 or (936) 294-1875 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org