100 Creatives: Dionne Sparkman Noble, Choreographer and Professor
What She Does: Ask Dionne Sparkman Noble what she does for a living and you might notice she takes a short pause before answering you. The pause, she explains, gives her time to decide which of her many job titles to use, because each title usually prompts more questions.
Courtesy of Dionne Sparkman Noble
"If I say dancer, [some] people think I mean pole dancer ... which is a profession, I know," she laughs. "Sometimes people ask me if I'm a So You Think You Can Dance-type dancer. No, I'm not. Then they ask if I'm a ballet dancer. No, I'm not. If I say I'm a modern dancer, that still doesn't answer their question and most of the time so I have to explain, 'Modern dance is a lot like ballet but we dance barefoot.' People usually stop asking questions after I say that."
Sometimes Noble tells people she's a professor. "Then they ask, 'Of what?' So I say, 'Dance.' Then they usually say, 'Oh, you can major in dance at college?' Y-e-s." An assistant professor of dance at Sam Houston State University where she's adviser for the graduate program (yes, you can get a master's degree in dance). Noble is also co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance, a non-profit performing arts company. She shares that job with her husband Andy Noble.
"I'm also a mom. I definitely consider that a third job." She and her husband have an eight-year-old son and two-year-old daughter.
"I feel like I wear many hats. I feel that I sometimes have a bit of an identity complex because I'm also the PR person here at [SHSU]. I never know when I open an e-mail what it's going to be about. There are so many different subjects I field on any particular day."
Why She Likes It: "I'm a multi-tasker. All of the different things that I do require me to think on my feet, require me to trust myself and challenges me every day. I think if I wasn't doing dance, I might be a little lost. I did a stay-at-home-mom thing for a while, and I loved being with my son but at the same time I desperately missed part of something.
Courtesy of Dionne Sparkman Noble
"I like to work towards goals and I feel this profession allows [me] to continuously create new goals for [myself]. It allows me to continuously challenge myself and I think that's what I like the most. Every day is not the same. And it's the same for teaching, for running a company.
What Inspires Her: "I think another thing that inspires me is seeing other art work. And not just dance, I get inspired by reading a book or going to an opera or an art museum. I usually leave those [types of] events feeling like I want to create something new. That art may not directly influence what I end up doing, but even just being in the audience and watching something it feeds me as a artist."
If Not This, Then What: "I very much, believe it or not, like PR work. I actually enjoy a way of publicize something, from the imagery that you create for [a poster or publicity] to writing stories. I very much enjoy being able to tell others about what we do."
If Not Here, Then Where: "We lived in the Seattle area for a while and there was something lovely there, the way of life. I even got used to the rain, a little. But I really have to say, I am very happy living in Houston. I feel Houston has a lot to offer."
What's Next: Our next show for NobleMotion is in March, it's called Unplugged. We do a lot of dance and technology and big collaborative work. For Unplugged, we're going to go much smaller, without all of the technology. We're collaborating with Musica, they're going to come and perform with us.
"I'm writing a faculty research grant to fund a new dance for camera. That's what I'll be working on in the summer.
"On the family front, my son does karate and he is actually going up for his yellow belt soon. We're all really, really excited for him. He's a beautiful mover. He has beautiful legs and feet. He's not interested in dance at all, but he is really good at learning movement. And my daughter is going to start potty training. That's going to be a big thing in our household for the next few months," she says.
"Another hat. Another challenge."
More Creatives for 2013
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Lee Wright, artist
Vic Shuttee, comedy writer and performer
Robin Davidson, poet and translator
Jessica Wilbanks, essayist and Pushcart Prize winner
David DeHoyos, astronaut photographer
Sophie Jordan, bestselling book author
Jessi Jordan, comic artist, beekeeper and yeti enthusiast
Patrick Peters, architect and professor
Jamie Kinosian, visual artist
Paris F. Jomadiao, mixed-media artist and stop motion animator
Shanon Adams, dancer
James Glassman, Houstorian historian and artist
Lou Vest, photographer
Sara Gaston, stage and screen star
Rachael Pavlik, a writer mom
Ana Villaronga-Roman, Katy Contemporary Arts Museum director
Erin Wasmund, actor, singer and dancer
Karim Al-Zand, composer
Jan Burandt, paper conservator for The Menil Collection
Deke Anderson, actor
Craig Cohen, hockey fan and host of Houston Matters
Mauro Luna, Poe-Inspired photographer
Trond Saeverud, Galveston Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor
Khrystyna Balushka, paper flower child
Christina Carfora, visual artist and world traveler
Sara Kumar, artistic director for Shunya Theatre
Kiki Maroon, burlesque clown
Gin Martini, fashion designer
Lacey Crawford, painter and sculptor
Homer Starkey, novelist
Jenn Fox, mixed media Shohei Iwahama, dancer
Erica DelGardo, metalsmith
Bob Clark, executive director Houston Family Arts Center
Kerrelyn Sparks, bestselling romance author
Lindsay Halpin, punk rock mad hatter
Drake Simpson, actor
Shelby Carter, Playboy model turned photographer
David Matranga, actor
Crystal Belcher, pole dancer
Daniel Kramer, photographer
Blue 130, pin-up explosion art
Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker
David Wilhem, light painter
Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster
Browncoat, pin-up pop artist
Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist
Vincent Fink, science fashion
Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder
Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer
Sameera Faridi, fashion designer
Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet
Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company
Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director
Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre
Outspoken Bean, performance poet
Barry Moore, architect
Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist
Ty Doran, young actor
Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate
Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet
Justin Garcia, artist
Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center
Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric
Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician
Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse
Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company
Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography
Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions
Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover
Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist
Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer
Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker
Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer
David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer
Danielle Burns, art curator
Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder
Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator
Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker
Amanda Stevens, scary book author
Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger
Ana MarÃa Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach
Billy D. Washington, comedian
Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer
Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer
Kelly Sears, animator and film maker
Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director
jhon r. stronks,dance-maker
Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer