Dance Initiative was organized in 2009 to serve and support the needs of local dancers in their pursuit of professional and artistic development, projects and careers.


Dance Initiative was organized in 2009 to promote the art of dance in the Roaring Fork Valley and neighboring counties of Colorado. The organization serves and supports the needs of local dancers in their pursuit of professional and artistic development, projects and careers. Dance Initiative also strives to cultivate community appreciation for dance by bringing unique and inspiring performance and educational opportunities to the area.

Since 2009, Dance Initiative has developed a performance series called the Spectrum Dance Collection, an annual weekend dance festival called the Spectrum Dance Festival, established scholarship and grant funding, arranged numerous workshop series and is now the sponsor of the performing art studios at The Launchpad. The Launchpad studios provide an opportunity for dancers to hold classes, rehearsals, and apply for artist residencies. Dance Initiative is an affiliate of Aspen Stage. Dance Initiative’s Programs are made possible by the Embrey Family Foundation, WESTAF, Alpine Bank, Mike & Peter Gilbert, Jim & Connie Calaway, Laurie Bernhard, The Beaufort Foundation, True Nature Healing Arts, Colorado Creative Industries, National Endowment for the Arts and community support.


The Development Grant of up to $2,000 provides financial support to experienced dancers, choreographers, and teachers of dance to further their education and development in dance and is awarded once a year to one selected applicant. Applicants are not required to demonstrate financial need but rather to select a dance program to attend that has demonstrated a standard of excellence. All applicants must detail what they expect to accomplish in the program and provide concrete details on how they will share their professional development with the Roaring Fork Valley community. Applications are due on April 15 and must be submitted electronically to danceinitiative@gmail.com.  Download and application here: 2016 Development Grant

The Promise Scholarship is to provide financial support for serious students of dance in the community who have exhibited determination, commitment and passion for dance and have been recommended by their teachers as having significant "promise" of achieving a professional dance career. The scholarship is $1,000 and will be awarded as ofter as the Grant & Scholarship committee deems appropriate, but applications will be considered once each year in April. The award, if made, will be given in May. Demonstration of financial need is not required. Applications will submit an essay describing their commitment to dance and giving examples of their determination to achieve a professional career. Each application must be accompanied by recommendations from two teachers. Applications are due on April 15 and must be submitted electronically to danceinitiative@gmail.com. Download an application here: 2016 Promise Scholarship Grant


The Launchpad is a community 'Space for the Arts.' In 2012, Dance Initiative recognized a growing need for affordable and accessible space for movement-based artists and musicians to teach, create and rehearse. Two years later, after dedicated search,  the performing arts in Carbondale have found an inclusive home. In addition to a fine art gallery, promenade and small shop, The Launchpad houses two affordable, professional grade studios for dance artists and other performing arts organizations to teach, create, and share their work: Studio C and The Open Studio.

Studio C is a state of the art enclosed space that includes 680 square feet of spring-loaded Harlequin dance floor, ballet barres, and mirrors--designed by and for professional dancers. The Open Studio features 1150 square feet of spring-loaded Harlequin dance floor, rigging for aerial silks and other aerial arts, is open to the public for viewing classes and rehearsals in progress, and can be converted to be a small, intimate performance space.

For more information or to reserve space at The Launchpad, visit launchpadcarbondale.com.


Photo credit: The School of American Ballet

Photo credit: The School of American Ballet


In August 2014, Dance Initiative sponsored a Ballet Master Class taught by Suki Schorer, a former Principal of the New York City Ballet and currently the Brown Foundation Senior Faculty Chair at the School of American Ballet. The class was structured for intermediate and advanced students and teachers of ballet. Suki danced with George Balanchine's New York City Ballet from 1959 to 1972 and is a Balanchine Trust répétiteur. In addition, Suki Schorer taught at Scuola di Ballo del Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra National de Paris. This class proved to be an exceptional opportunity for teachers and students in the Roaring Fork Valley, with one promising young dancer receiving a scholarship as a result of the class.

Dana Ganssle Ellis photographed by Austin Lottimer

Dana Ganssle Ellis photographed by Austin Lottimer


CoMotion is a contemporary dance project, produced and supported by Dance Initiative, that strives to develop multidimensional works and explore creative boundaries through collaboration. Founded in 2013, CoMotion creates repertoire that educates and inspires a passion for the art of dance while also providing a transformative performing arts experience for patrons. In January of 2013, CoMotion presented their debut performance featuring original works Catharsis and Familiar. In September of 2013, CoMotion performed original choreography from Fractures & Divides in an industrial warehouse space. In 2015 CoMotion collaborated with Dance Initiative's Artist In Residence Patrick Mueller on a work titled Damages: The Implicit Hazards of Parallel Play performed in June and again during Dance Initiative's Spectrum Dance Festival in October. CoMotion dancers also participated in Vacuum, an original work choreographed by Artist In Residence Alya Howe and performed in November. In 2016 CoMotion will be training with Alya Howe and participating in the 2016 Artist In Residence with Denver-based dancer artists Meg Madorin and Laura Ann Samuelson to be performed in June, a new comissioned work by Alya Howe to be performed in November, as well as touring Vacuum through out the state of Colorado. To inquire about participating in CoMotion's professional training classes with Alya Howe contact danceinitiative@gmail.com

Photo credit: ahh!

Photo credit: ahh!


King Charles, an international dance star, is known for his his unique style, Chicago Footwork. His world-renowned dance company, The FootworKINGZ has been featured on America’s Got Talent & America’s Best Dance Crew. He has worked with many top artists including Madonna & Will.I.Am and continues to show the world why he is one of a kind and can blow audiences away with his energy and creativity. K.C. recently performed to a standing, cheering, sell out audience at the Vail International Dance Festival and was called “Brilliant” by the NY Time critic, Alistair Macaulay. King Charles will teach a master class and perform during the 2014 Spectrum Dance Festival's Battle to The Drums.

Nikki Ferry

Nikki Ferry


Nikki Ferry of Carbondale was awarded the 2014 Promise Scholarship after attending a master class with Suki Schorer, Brown Foundation Senior Faculty Chair at the School of American Ballet. Schorer recommended that Nikki, age 16, further her ballet training beyond the Roaring Fork Valley at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB). Nikki, with the support of her parents, decided to follow Suki's advice and is currently enrolled at CPYB this fall. Suki has invited Nikki to audition in January for the SAB summer program in 2015, where, if she is selected to attend the regular fall school, could spend her senior year with the very select few students of dance who have a chance to join the New York City Ballet.


The Launchpad at 76 S. 4th Street, Carbondale, CO


danceinitiative@gmail.com   |   970 963-8681