Announcing our New Executive Artistic Director
We are delighted to announce the selection of Christopher K. Morgan as the new Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place. Christopher takes on this new role at Dance Place as a natural progression from his career as an award-winning choreographer, community leader and advocate for diversity in the arts. Christopher will lead a new chapter in Dance Place’s history to strengthen and sustain its vital role in building the field of dance, community development and creative placemaking.
Christopher will assume this leadership position on September 1, 2017, following a month of mentorship by Dance Place’s departing Directors Carla Perlo and Deborah Riley. The Executive Artistic Director will serve as the single leader of Dance Place, replacing the unique co-director structure pioneered by Carla and Deborah. The two current Directors retire from their roles August 31, transitioning to Directors Emeritus. Carla and Deborah will continue serving as consultants to the organization next season, as well as teach classes on-site.
Board Chair Jannes Gibson says, “The Board is proud to welcome Christopher as Dance Place’s next leader. We are confident in Christopher’s ability to fulfill our three-year strategic plan and implement his own vision for the organization’s future. His confidence and ease connecting with people of all ages truly exemplifies Dance Place’s mission and furthers the legacy created by Carla and Deborah. Christopher is a wonderful communicator and mindfully takes on this role with an enthusiasm for building relationships with our diverse stakeholders.”
Christopher K. Morgan brings over 20 years of experience as a dancer, educator, choreographer and arts facilitator to Dance Place. He is the Artistic & Executive Director of Washington, DC-area contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, the Dance Artist in Residence at the University of Maryland and Director of the Dance Omi International Dance Collective. He recently has been at the forefront of national and international discussions on cultural appropriation, diversity, equity and inclusion, serving on panels at the National Performance Network, American Realness Festival, National Endowment for the Arts, McKnight Foundation and New England Foundation for the Arts, among others.
Led by our Board of Directors, Dance Place has prepared for this leadership transition over the last two years. In January 2016, Dance Place passed a three-year strategic plan to prepare the organization for its next stage.
Board member Denise Rollins was selected to chair the executive search committee in spring 2016: “I was honored to lead the search committee and to work closely with consultant Candace Jackson of CJAM Consulting in a rigorous national search. Candace’s professional and expert guidance helped us reach a wide group of qualified applicants in the national arts sector. We were very impressed with Christopher’s leadership skills, knowledge, background and expertise and feel that he represents the best of Washington, DC and the nation.”
Dance Place is grateful to the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation and Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation for their generous support in funding our work with Candace and the search process.
Christopher is well known to Dance Place as an artist and collaborator. Director Deborah Riley says, “Dance Place will thrive with Christopher’s fresh energy and gracious stewardship. The Dance Place family and dance community are in very capable hands.”
On his new role, Christopher says, “I am humbled to be accepting this position at Dance Place and am thrilled at the prospect of continuing its unique legacy. I will carry forward this work with care, passion and an incredible work ethic that befits the organization, its staff and current Directors.”
Founding Director Carla Perlo agrees, “I have every confidence in Christopher as an artist, teacher, administrator, leader and visionary. With the support of our dedicated Board, excellent staff, state of the art facility, vibrant community and loyal stakeholders, the future of Dance Place under Christopher’s leadership will be bright. I appreciate the rigor of all the applicants interested in this position. The Board and selection committee have been so dedicated in leading this important process.”
We look forward to introducing you to Christopher in the coming months. Please join us to celebrate the remaining season under Founding Director Carla Perlo and Director Deborah Riley. Our 30th Anniversary DanceAfrica, DC Festival is in honor and memory of our beloved Baba Chuck Davis. Join us to Celebrate Carla for her retirement gala on June 24, 2017. Of course, our prolific classes, educational programs and community initiatives continue unabated — explore our website for more information on the 2016-2017 Season.
Christopher K. Morgan is the Artistic & Executive Director of Washington DC area contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A), Dance Artist in Residence at the University of Maryland and Director of the Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual collaborative residency for choreographers in New York. His Native Hawaiian ancestry and a diverse, international modern dance career that moved him from where he grew up in Orange County, CA to San Diego, Munich, New York, London, Dublin and now the greater Washington DC area, influence his work as an administrator, choreographer, educator, facilitator, curator and performer. Said to be “charming and poignant” by The New York Times, his choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents. The work has addressed issues including sexuality, gender identity, race, climate change, immigration and water conservation. His 2010 work +1/-1 won the Dance Metro DC award for Outstanding New Work.
Morgan founded his eponymous company in 2011; the same year Dance Magazine profiled him as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States. Collaborating with dancers, musicians, composers, and visual artists, the work of CKM&A truly embraces the word ‘Artists’ in its title. The company has experienced phenomenal growth, nearly doubling its budget in less than 4 years and developing a national presence by receiving highly competitive grants and touring. This growth has been matched with a stellar reputation in their home base, as CKM&A was named Washington DC’s Best Dance Company in the 2015 CityPaper Annual Reader’s Poll.
In addition to directing CKM&A, Morgan is a sought after educator and facilitator. His current position at the University of Maryland, follows three and a half years as the Artist in Residence at American University in Washington DC. Since 2006 he has directed the Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual collaborative choreographers’ residency in New York that is at the cutting edge of international collaboration. In demand as a speaker, panelist and grants reviewer for the informed and well balanced perspective he is able to bring, Morgan has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Maryland State Arts Council, The New England Foundation for the Arts, and the McKnight Foundation among others. He has adjudicated for multiple regional and national American College Dance Festivals, been an invited panelist at National Performance Network Annual Meetings, The American Realness Festival in New York and recently has been at the forefront of national and international discussions on cultural appropriation, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Recent awards Morgan has received include a 2013 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship, a 2014 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Solo Dance Performance, being named one of the top 100 Creatives in the United States by Origin Magazine in April 2015, the 2015 Montgomery County Executive’s Award for Outstanding Artist and a 2017 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Solo Dance Performance
Morgan and his husband, opera director Kyle Lang, currently reside in North Bethesda, MD.