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Dance Studio Closes

Cutting-edge Houston dance company plans to close studio, end classes

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Hope Stone
Children in dance/movement class at Hope Stone Studio. Photo by Simon Gentry
News_Joel_pick five_Hope Stone_Evening of Bread and Circus
Hope Stone Dance Company rehearsing for Evening of Bread and Circus at Hope Stone Studio. Photo by Simon Gentry
Hope Stone
Children in dance/movement class at Hope Stone Studio. Photo by Simon Gentry
Jane Weiner, Hope Stone, chair, dog
Anyone who's ever crossed paths with arts entrepreneur Jane Weiner is instantly captivated by her ability to get things done. Photo by Simon Gentry
Hope Stone
News_Joel_pick five_Hope Stone_Evening of Bread and Circus
Hope Stone
Jane Weiner, Hope Stone, chair, dog
Joel Luks, head shot, column mug, April 2013

It takes a lot of courage to look at yourself in the mirror, to be truthful, to acknowledge that something has to give, to tell the world that you've reached an obstacle that can only be conquered by taking a step backward before leaping forward.

Anyone who's ever crossed paths with arts entrepreneur Jane Weiner is instantly captivated by her ability to get things done, to find a way to fix things. It's because of Weiner's determination that her decision to close down Hope Stone Studio will come both as a surprise and as a warning to art consumers and supporters.

"We have made the hard decision to take a year to right-size our business by reducing overhead and closing Hope Stone Studio, refocusing on the programs that make the greatest impact, and deploying our resources in the most cost-effective way," Weiner explains in an email to the company's subscribers. "This has been a difficult decision, but I believe the right one for the organization."

 The positive vibe in Houston may lead many to assume that someone else will nonchalantly pick up the tab.

The space, located in the Art Deco Tribeca Lofts on West Clay Street, has hosted dance and movement classes for children and adults for 10 years. An artist-in-residence program offered emerging choreographers a rehearsal and performance venue in which they could embark on their creative journeys.

Weiner explains that all commitments have been met for the 2013-14 season. Classes will continue through May 16. It's important to note that it's only the physical space that's ceasing operations. Founded in 1997, Hope Stone Dance Company will continue its performance series.

Weiner moved from New York City to Houston to support her sister, Susan Rafte, who was on a mission to kick breast cancer's butt. The two founded the Pink Ribbons Project, a nonprofit that raises awareness about the disease through the arts. Since then, Weiner has established herself as an innovative dance maker, passionate educator and tireless advocate for her métier (just listen to her TEDx Houston presentation).

While most Houstonians walk with their heads high touting Houston's diversity, active arts community and generous philanthropic spirit — an oasis that's rare amid the rest of the country's doom-and-gloom panorama — those hallmarks don't automatically guarantee that all nonprofits will prevail.

In fact, arts administration and fundraising are some of the most trying vocations out there.

The positive vibe in Houston may lead many to assume that someone else will nonchalantly pick up the tab. But if more citizens don't put their monies where their mouths' are . . .  can you imagine Houston as a plain, ugly and boring city?

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