Threads Dance Project was founded by Karen L. Charles in 2011 when her father passed away, leaving her just enough money to produce one professional performance. Shortly before his death, Karen's father, a life-long U.S. Postal Clerk, told his family he had always wished to become a doctor, but never did. After hearing this, Karen knew what she had to do—she left her job, and she realized her 10-year dream of becoming a choreographer and director of her own dance company.
• Successfully produced 12 stellar seasons and toured nationally
• Grown to a twelve-member performance and administrative staff
•Collaborated with local, national, and international artists across disciplines including the Grammy-nominated Sweet Honey in the Rock, and 2017 McKnight International Choreographer, Salia Sanou
In March 2021, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Threads opened the doors of a new home, the Threads Dance Nexus. Located in the Seward neighborhood in South Minneapolis, the Dance Nexus is an inclusive space where movers of any identity, age, or ability can come participate in innovative dance classes, community talks, and public events.
What is unique about Threads Dance Project?
Our organization not only seeks to connect people via performances, but works to connect youth and under-served communities to the transformative power of dance through outreach and community offerings.
Our dancers are employees, not contractors: We are a nonprofit organization that values our artists! Our dancers are employees - not contractors - with guaranteed rehearsals each week and opportunities to perform locally, nationally, and soon, internationally.
Tapestries Choreography Program: As an African American woman, Karen knows the barriers that are unique to Black, Indigenous, and of color people, and all women in the world of dance and choreography. That’s why she started Tapestries, an annual professional choreographer development program that supports three emerging choreographers, with an emphasis on lifting up women and BIPOC artists.
NextGen/Youth Dance Project: Threads engages youth in unique pre-professional dance training to provide much-needed holistic support of their minds, bodies, and creative spirits. Our mission is to train aspiring dancers and empower the next generation of young people. Students receive rigorous dance training twice a week during the school year, including ballet, modern, and jazz technique, improvisation, choreography, and courses on physical and emotional wellness. Ultimately, NextGen/Youth Dance Project seeks to develop fully realized dancers, creators, and community activists who are able to use performance in support of themselves and their community.