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Shawn Short, Producing Artistic Director

Our Story

Named "One of the 11 small-but-mighty dance companies outside of LA and NYC" by Dance Spirit Magazine, Dissonance Dance Theatre is a Washington, DC-based professional dance company founded in 2007 by Shawn Short. Since its inception, Dissonance Dance Theatre has performed for local and national audiences on the east coast and in the mid-west states.

Starting as a project of dear friends, Dissonance has grown to house artists from across the US and beyond. A contemporary ballet that blends “classic” modern styles such as Horton, Graham, Limon with nuances of classical ballet, Dissonance is becoming known for its theatrical presence and exceptional artistry.

Evoking emotional experiences in the audiences we touch, Dissonance’s cutting-edge repertoire features works that are socially and visually appealing to audiences while remaining true to its mission; challenging audience’s assumptions about the human experience through dance.

Achievements & Awards

Dissonance Dance Theatre has achieved many milestones, some of which are highlighted below:

  • Nominations for two 2013 Dance Metro DC Dance Awards
  • Debut in New York City at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange in 2009
  • Recognition as one of "Top 5 Performances to Watch" by the Capital Fringe Festival in 2007
  • Fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts beginning in 2009
  • Nomination for four 2009 Dance Metro DC Dance Awards
  • Presenter at jury paneled showcases throughout the DC area

Dissonance is committed to achieving our goals of providing quality dance entertainment built on the classics of ballet, jazz, and modern, and to creating a new dance language that reflects concert dance in the 21st Century. As a result of our diverse repertoire, Dissonance is able to tackle most choreographic challenges and looks forward to new and exciting collaborations regionally, nationally and internationally.

Dissonance is now a part of the National Associations of Campus Activities (NACA).

Reviews & Testimonials

You name it, his dancers did it: Ballet! Hip-hop! Traditional African! Melodramatic modern solos! There was no telling what was coming onstage each time the lights came up, but by golly, the dancers Short has working for him are good. — Rebecca Ritzel, Washington Post, March 2013
Maggi’s composition “The Ballet Master’s Dream” danced by Nicolette Jenkins and Dedrick Makle and for Simpson’s “The Luny Musician” danced by Tisa D. Herbert and Prentice Whitlow. The Dresser felt the choreographer had a charming sense of the absurd and made good use of the limited time to show the prowess of his dancers. — Karren LaLonde Alenier, Terry Riley, Scene4 Magazine, March 31, 2009
Incredibly connected emotional/physical choreography with stunning and engaging performers — Colin Hovde, Artists’ Bloc., 2008

The Washington Post describes Dissonance Dance Theatre as “ambitious and evoking” (2007).

Our Dancers

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Our diverse dancers come from across the United States. Meet Our Dancers

Latest News

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People are talking about Dissonance Dance Theatre. Read What People Are Saying

Work with Us

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