VON USSAR danceworks

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Services & Impact

VON USSAR Danceworks was founded in 2002 by choreographer Astrid von Ussar as an arts organization for modern and contemporary dance. Based in New York City, Dancework’s mission was to be a performance and educational outreach company with a strong female voice, exploring daily life and the inner workings of the human condition. In 2007, von Ussar expanded the organization to include THE DANCE GALLERY FESTIVAL, an annual multi-day, multi-participant modern dance festival. In 2009, the Festival branched out to operate in two cities, Houston, Texas, and New York City. The Festival’s mission is to provide opportunities for young choreographers to realize their vision to produce a staged dance work while fostering, promoting, and building collaboration among emerging artists in the field of dance.


The Dance Gallery International Festival was created in 2007 by Astrid von Ussar and Mojca Ussar and has since become a well-known festival with annual showcases in New York City and Texas.


The production of modern concert dance is often challenged by the scarcity of suitable and affordable performance venues.  The Dance Gallery Festival addresses this problem by providing a state-of-the-art theater, complete with production staff, marketing, and public relations support to showcase each choreographers work.  Having been met with much praise and enthusiasm from artists, audiences and critics alike, The Dance Gallery Festival has quickly become an essential addition to the dance world.  The aim of our festival is to help deepen public appreciation and support for concert dance.  


The Dance Gallery Festival partnered with Sam Houston State University in 2009 and has welcomed Andy Noble as Associate Artistic Director in 2011.  As a part of this partnership, Sam Houston State University offers paid guest artist residencies to select participating companies.  These one-week residencies include choreographing a new work on Sam Houston’s upper-level students to be performed on their fall concert as well as teaching technique and choreography classes.  A juried panel comprised of Sam Houston faculty and area artists will select the resident artists.  Past recipients include Enzo Celli of Celli Contemporary Ballet, Lauren Edson, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Amy Cain and Dawn Dippel of Revolve Dance Company, and Maurice Causey; former dancer with NDT and Ballet Frankfurt.


As a part of our continued mission to find up-and-coming choreographic talent at the national level, the Dance Gallery Festival is proud to continue with Level UP.  Level UP serves as a performance showcase for three talented dance companies/ choreographers that are ready to advance to the next level in the development and promotion of their work.  Each company will receive 25 minutes of performance time at the prestigious Ailey Citigroup Theatre and a commission fee.


In the Dance Gallery Festival’s history, a tremendous amount of talent has been showcased. Our aim is to continue cultivating that talent by creating another performance vehicle that supports the growth of dance companies by providing increased exposure and performance opportunities.


By creating an exciting artistic forum for some of the world’s most talented choreographers, The Dance Gallery Festival is a unique experience of sublime, unfettered dance. 

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