Dance Box Theater

Laura Schandelmeier & Stephen Clapp
Co-Artistic Directors

Image by Foster Wiley

Image by Foster Wiley

Artistic Vision

Innovation, collaboration, social justice and the human condition are the cornerstones of our artistic vision. As co-artistic directors who have been creating together since 2004, we have refined a creative process over time that is fluid, collaborative, non-conventional and transformative. Our shared curatorial vision is that performing artists contribute significantly to the economic and cultural vitality of our nation and planet by helping communities to navigate the complexities of our society through creative engagement and experiencing multiple perspectives.

Our creative vision includes a social viewpoint that is rooted in the principles of shared power, open dialogue, equitable partnerships, transformation of individuals and communities, an aesthetic that reflects the diversity and multiple perspectives present among our communities, and an ethic that pushes the boundaries of genre, perception and art itself. We believe that there is a spectrum of excellence throughout the performing arts sector that spans community-based initiatives, regional arts programming and internationally-acclaimed artists. We approach all of our collaborators with a respectful appreciation for the assets each partner brings to the table. We have learned that audience development can happen when communities are provided with educational opportunities and creative happenings aimed at engaging people of as many ages and backgrounds as possible.

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Stephen Clapp

Co-Artistic Director, M.F.A.

Stephen Clapp is a cultural strategist and change agent who maintains a professional creative practice as Co-Artistic Director for Dance Box Theater with Laura Schandelmeier, and serves as Executive Director for Dance Loft on 14. His work is mission driven with a passion for creating logistical solutions to strategic challenges. At the intersections of the performing arts, social justice and service to the field of dance, Clapp has engaged with communities of children, adults, seniors, artists, organizers and veterans with arts-integration strategies that foster self-determination, innovative thinking, equitable communication structures and community empowerment. Clapp served as Executive Director for Dance Metro DC for eight years, after nine years as Grants Manager with Dance Place. Clapp earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the George Washington University in dance performance and choreography after receiving a full university fellowship. His current work includes choreographic inquiry around racism, movement-based anti-oppression experiences, music composition for dance, and strategic consulting for individuals and organizations in the arts. He has toured nationally and internationally with Dance Box Theater, ClancyWorks Dance Company, CatScratch Theater, Kinding Sindaw, and was a founding member of the Boston-based ensemble, The Other Theater. Clapp believes that the creative sector is uniquely positioned to foster and model innovation that can transform communities towards lasting and positive social impact.

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Laura Schandelmeier

Co-Artistic Director, C.M.A.

Laura Schandelmeier is Co-Artistic Director of Dance Box Theater (DBT), was Artistic Director of Schandelmeier & Co. in NYC from 1988-1994 and a solo performer in the DC area from 1995-2004 when she began collaborating with Stephen Clapp. DBT has created and toured eight full-evening performance works with increasing recognition regionally, nationally and internationally. DBT has received commissions from the Creative Communities Fund, The Kennedy Center and received the 2010 Dance Metro DC Founder's Award for Innovation in Dance. Schandelmeier's work has been commissioned and presented by DTW and Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church in NYC and by The Kennedy Center, Dance Place, The IN Series, and by WPAS in Martha @ Dance Place, curated by Richard Move in DC. In 2014 she was choreographer for Yentl, Directed by Shirly Serotsky at Theater J and Movement Consultant for a staged reading of Remember This: Walking with Jan Karski by Derek Goldman and Clark Young, featuring Academy Award nominee, David Strathairn. She has received several awards for her choreography including grants from the Harkness Foundations for Dance, the Suitcase Fund, Maryland State Arts Council and Prince George's Arts Council. She is a Master Teaching Artist for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts.


Dance Box Theater, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. The mission of Dance Box Theater, Inc. is to support the creation and development of dynamic, finely crafted and engaging public performances; and to empower communities through partnerships, workshops, residencies and arts-based education. Our goals are to present performing arts that catalyze individual and community transformation; and to strive for the elimination of oppression in all its forms. Visit online at danceboxtheater.org for more information.

Stephen Clapp in   Windswept

Stephen Clapp in Windswept