people with arms raised up
Shawn Short, Producing Artistic Director

Shawn Short, Principal Choreographer

Shawn is the founder, producing artistic director and principal choreographer of Dissonance Dance Theatre (DDT). In addition to his role as producing artistic director and principal choreographer of DDT, Shawn is the Founder and Director of Ngoma Center for Dance (Ngoma). For Shawn, Ngoma is central to the life and development of Dissonance Dance Theatre. Just as he expects the finest dancing and most meticulous attention to detail from his dancers, he demands the highest standards for training at Ngoma.

Under Mr. Short, Dissonance has evolved from a project based entity into an exciting dance entertainment venture in the Washington, D.C. area. As a choreographer, teacher, and coach, Short has fostered a love of the classical and contemporary ballet lexicon that has become the bedrock of the Company’s training. The dancers are energized and inspired by this rigorous training and continue to rise to new heights with each passing year.

Through Ngoma’s programs, dance artists have grace stages locally, nationally and internationally. Furthermore, many students have gained scholarships in NYC institutions, acceptance into college/university dance programs.

Growing up in the Washington, DC area. Shawn has studied with nationally and internationally acclaimed artists including faculty and dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Lines Ballet, Washington Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dance Institute of Washington, Dance Alloy, Philadanco, Towson University, Baltimore and Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts. As a student of ballet pedagogy, Shawn studied with John White, Margarita De Saa and the Washington School of Ballet Director Kee Juan Han.

Shawn is a Pointe Magazine’s Video of the Month Editors’ Choice award recipient for his contemporary ballet work, Caught in 2013. A 2014 Princess Grace Award (NYC) in Choreography nominee, Shawn holds a BFA in Musical Theatre with a minor in Theatre Management from Howard University and a MFA in Dance at University Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a focus on dance history, arts administration and somatic.

Shawn is a fiscally sponsored artist through the New York Foundation for the Arts. Shawn has choreographed for The Dance Institute of Washington, The Washington Ballet School of Ballet @THEARC. His has presented his works at the Capital Fringe Festival, Greater Washington Urban League National Conference, Southeastern University, Artists’ Bloc 12X6 Series, Harke Theatre, Jack Guidone Theatre Space, Atlas Performing Arts Center, THEARC Theatre, Joe’s Movement Emporium, DC Parks and Recreation, Sidney Harman Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, PBS Broadcasting, VelocityDC, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange and Fox 5 television.

His performance credits include work with K2 Dance, Adrian Bolton Dance, El Tearto de Danza Contemporeanea El Salvador, and Bolton/Smith. He has also served as a guest artist with Dance Alloy in Pennsylvania.

He has been commissioned by Catholic University of America’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music to choreograph Mother’s Blood (2008), VF Dance Theater for their Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts to choreograph Genotype Called Love for their Terrace Theatre production of Futurology (2012).

Shawn Short

Work with Us

dancers with arms raised

We are growing and could us your help! Check Out Jobs @ DDT

What We're About

dancers on stage

We started in 2007 and have performed around the country. Read Our Story

Who Is Ngoma?

dancers with arms lowered

Ngoma Center for Dance provides a deeper understanding of dance across clutures and social classes. About Ngoma