METdance is a multi-functional dance organization that excels at entertaining and captivating audiences, instilling a passion and excitement for dance in its students, training the talented youth of Houston and preparing them for careers in dance performance, and inspiring children through the art of dance. For the past 20 years, METdance has been dedicated to enriching the communities of Houston while developing a nationally recognized concert dance company. Through its Founder and Executive Director, Michelle Smith, Artistic Director, Marlana Doyle, and Associate Director, Joe Celej, METdance has become a leader in diversity and vitality of arts presentation and instruction, and aims to continue serving the populace of Houston as well as representing the City of Houston and its dance community across the nation and abroad.
The METdance professional company strives to educate, entertain, and inspire its audiences through a diverse curation of repertory that spans a full range of emotion, content, and collaboration. Based in Houston, TX, USA, METdance performs throughout the United States and provides Houston viewers with a chance to see a vast body of repertory by some of the country’s most prominent contemporary dance artists including Robert Battle (Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), Camille A. Brown (Bessie and Princess Grace Award winner), Peter Chu (Artistic Director of chuthis., Rehearsal Director for Netherlands Dance Theater 2), Larry Keigwin (Artistic Director of Keigwin + Co, choreographer for various Broadway Productions), and Katarzyna Skarpetowska (former dancer with Parsons Dance and Lar Lubovitch). METdance’s passionate performers and choreographers come from a range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and instill the company’s work with a complete spectrum of emotionality and physicality. From comedy and humor to poignant and dramatic, from fierce athleticism to detailed minimalism, METdance is committed to presenting works that speak to every audience member regardless of their background, age, sex, or experience with dance. In this way, METdance is proud to be a leader in diversity and vitality of content.
The METdance Center offers both children’s and adult programs where anyone can enjoy the artistic and physical benefits of dance in a vast range of genres and modalities regardless of age or experience level. The METdance center currently serves over 1,000 students per week while providing a much needed home/space for many other local arts organizations. The MET too youth company, also based at the METdance center, provides young dancers with an intense program focused on preparing them for dance programs at universities and a professional career in dance performance; MET too alumni have achieved the highest levels of success with many attending top level arts institutions like the Juilliard School.
METdance Educational and Community Outreach aims to excite, inspire, and expose the art of dance to as many spectators as possible. Our educational outreach program, anchored by the company’s “Swing, Jive, and Pop into Dance!” interactive educational performance, engages over 7,000 students K-12 from a minimum of 15-20 schools each season through free performances at the Miller Outdoor Theater and in-school lecture demonstrations. In 2016, METdance has partnered with Young Audiences Houston to expand its outreach with 2 in-school residencies. The professional company also conducts master classes, workshops and residencies in private studio, high school, and university settings, both locally and nationwide. The dancers serve as teachers, mentors, choreographers, and most importantly, ambassadors for the company.
In 1995, as a former performer, company manager, and dance center director of the Delia Stewart Dance Company and Center, Michelle Smith (founder and current METdance Executive Director) transitioned the retiring Delia Stewart organization into a new and vibrant one focused on providing the Houston public with a place to study dance and a growing professional dance company that inspired audiences with its raw energy and emotionality. Thus, the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Center (HMDC) were formed. Then located in Houston’s historic museum district, the center provided passionate dance instruction to thousands of students of all ages and experiences with dance, while the professional company began amassing a sparkling catalogue of diverse and exciting repertory works. From its grassroots origins as a community-based dance school and performance group, the organization has grown into a world class performing arts institution.
In 2012, former HMDC managing director and long-time performer Marlana Doyle was welcomed by the organization as the newly appointed Artistic Director. Building upon HMDC’s core value of diversity, Doyle has curated a critically acclaimed body of repertory for the company and continued to expand and develop the organization’s educational and community outreach programs, all while striving for the highest levels of artistry and professionalism. In 2013, the organization moved into its new state-of-the-art Midtown Houston home and rebranded as the METdance Company and Center. METdance furthers its mission each season through the expansion of the center’s class offerings, the company’s ever-growing performance season (including multiple free performances throughout Houston), development of the MET too youth company, and the broadening of its educational and community outreach programming.