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 supports the art and creation of dance through education, collaboration and presentation. Founded in 2009 to promote the art of dance in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado, Dance Initiative has evolved into a collaborative organization that provides in-school creative dance education to youth in kindergarten through eighth grades, commissions local artists to choreograph original compositions, hosts a Residence program for dance artists to create and present new work, produces the annual Spectrum Dance Festival and offers community workshops in all different genres of dance. Additionally, Dance Initiative partners with Carbondale Arts to provide subsidized studio space at The Launchpad and sponsors the rehearsals and performances of the local dance cooperative, CoMotion.


Dance Initiative collaborates with public schools in the Roaring Fork Valley to provide dance education that is accessible to youth from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and that focuses on educating the whole person as dancer, lifelong learner and creative citizen. Dance Initiative hires, trains, and pays the creative dance teachers to implement these programs in the RE1 School District. This program is funded in part by local and regional grants as well as individual gifts from community members who are passionate about dance education. In the 2016/17 School Year up to 130 students, ages 6-14, received over 300 hours of dance education at the Carbondale Middle School and the Carbondale Community School.


The Artist-in-Residency program hosts national & regional choreographers to create original work, hold open rehearsals and share their work with the Roaring Fork community. The program's purpose is twofold. First, Dance Initiative hopes to inspire, educate, and spark new (and renewed) appreciation for dance among our community as well as offer incredible exposure to local dancers. Secondly, we hope that through these residencies, Carbondale can become a known hotspot for unique creativity and an inspirational place for dance creation.

Artists include: Molissa Fenley & Company, Patrick Mueller, Alya Howe, Meg Madorin & Laura Ann Samuelson, HEWMAN Collective, Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Christiana Axelsen, David Norsworthy and Marielis Garcia and the Staycee Pearl Project


Image by Brent Moss Photography

Image by Brent Moss Photography

The Launchpad is a community "Space for the Arts." In 2012, Dance Initiative recognized a growing need for subsidized 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 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. The studios are affordable teaching, working and performing spaces for a diversity of artists--perfect for movement-based arts, aerials, music, theatre, or any creative gathering. For more information or to reserve space at The Launchpad, click on the button below.


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 by local community dancers, CoMotion creates repertoire that educates and inspires a passion for the art of dance while also providing a transformative performing arts experience for patrons.  

Annual CoMotion projects include participation in Dance Initiative’s Regional Artists in Residences, Dance Initiative Commissions, Carbondale Art’s Green Is The New Black Fashion Extravaganza and projects that CoMotion Company members choose to present independently of Dance Initiative. Because CoMotion’s core focus is creation and collaboration, CoMotion dancers are encouraged to initiate and implement choreographic projects. These projects can be submitted for commission to Dance Initiative or completed independently in consideration of CoMotion’s yearly calendar. 



Dance Initiative had the privilege of hosting NYC dance artist Melissa Toogood at The Launchpad on May 13, 2017. Toogood is a New York Dance and Bessie Performance Award winning performer and has performed with Kimberly Bartosik, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Pam Tanowitz Dance and many more including Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener (recent Dance Initiative Artists In Residence, 2016). Melissa was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, has taught Cunningham Technique since 2007 and is 2013 & 2015 Merce Cunningham Fellow. During her time here, Toogood taught an All Levels Workshop, a CoMotion Company Class and performed a solo by Pam Tanowitz. 


Rujeko Dumbutshena joined Dance Initiative for its 5th Annual Spectrum Dance Festival in 2016 to teach an Zimbabwean inspired dance workshop. Rujeko was an original ensemble member of FELA! The Broadway Musical as well as a teacher of West African, Congolese, modern and ballet techniques. It was a privilege to watch her teach and her class was packed!


Dance Initiative is pleased to announce the 2017 Promise Scholarship and Development Grant recipients, David Gabriel & Shannon Jones! Fourteen year old David Gabriel is a serious student at The School at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and has set a goal to become a professional dancer. He will use the Promise Scholarship to attend the Summer Course at  Pacific Northwest Ballet's School. Shannon Jones is a Movement Artist and Educator who teaches classes and creates community projects throughout the Valley. She will use the Development Grant to attend a training course at the Tamalpa Institute and will receive a Level 1 certification for Expressive Arts Therapy upon completion. Congratulations David & Shannon!


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


peter@danceinititiative.org   |   917-319-1608