Director Annie Arnoult returns to her native Houston from Chicago where she was the founding artistic director of Chicago’s Striding Lion Performance Group and served on the faculty of the Northwestern University Dance Program. She has been teaching modern and ballet in studios, universities and professional companies for over 20 years. Annie is a Certified Cecchetti Ballet teacher who trained at the Houston Ballet Academy, Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and the American Dance Festival. She has a BA in Dance and Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University and an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University. Upon her return to Texas, Annie joined the adjunct faculty of The School of Theatre and Dance at University of Houston. Her past students have gone on to study dance at Juilliard, Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, University of the Arts and the Laban Center in London. Annie is a member of the National Dance Education Organization.
Annie is the artistic director of Open Dance Project, Hunter Dance Center’s professional dance theater company in residence, and is hard at work preparing the company for their inaugural season in Houston. She is known in Chicago for her immersive dance theater performances, which garnered acclaim for Striding Lion Performance Group as a “new center of gravity for indie dance in Chicago” by Time Out Chicago and as one of the best dance performances in Chicago of 2013 and 2014 by The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Reader respectively. As artistic director of Striding Lion, Arnoult’s choreography was supported by The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Greater Houston Community Foundation, the Arts & Business Council, the Arts Work Fund, Dance Bridge and City Arts grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and The Illinois Arts Council.
Arnoult’s creative work is deeply entwined and influenced by her work as an artist teacher and arts education advocate. In 2000, Arnoult co-founded Striding Lion’s extensive arts education program — teaching dance, theater and music performance and composition skills to students and teachers through partnerships with Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Arts Council’s Arts-in-Education Residency Program, Illinois Migrant Education Association, After School Matters and countless independent schools and districts around Chicago. Arnoult has been a guest artist/teacher at Now Next Dance at Appalachian State University and Sam Houston State University, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, The University of Alaska at Anchorage, Northwestern University’s National High School Institute, Evanston Dance Ensemble and Alaska Dance Theatre.
Arnoult’s choreography and research on concert dance has been presented regionally and internationally. Her choreography for theater, which she indulges in whenever a spare moment allows, includes: Speed the Plow, Madforest, Abingdon Square, The Guys, and Gogol Stories for Piven Theatre Workshop; Some Explicit Polaroids for Roadworks Productions/Steppenwolf Garage; Bluebeard and Other Less Grisly Tales of Love for Toad Productions; The Perjured City for Street Signs; The Giver for Apple Tree Theater and Metropolis; Search for Odysseus for Adventure Stage Chicago; and Ill Met by Moonlight, Billy the Mountain and Other American Card Tricks, and Birdsongs (Remount 2010) for Striding Lion; and The Passion of Henry David Thoreau, The Heart of Spain, and Pride and Prejudice for Northwestern University. In addition to performing in her own work and with Striding Lion, Arnoult has danced for Meghan Durham, Ashley Thorndike-Youssef, XSIGHT! Performance Group, Lucky Plush Productions, Peter Carpenter, Asimina Chremos, and Billy Siegenfeld’s Jump Rhythm Jazz Project.