Artistic Director of Dana Lawton Dances, a modern dance company in the Bay Area, Dana is a tenured faculty member at Saint Mary's College and Chair of the Performing Arts Department, a faculty member at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and Co-Director of the Enchanted Ridge Dance Workshop.
A founding member of Bay Area's acclaimed dance company, Janice Garrett & Dancers (Garrett+Moulton), Dana has had the honor of performing works by Joe Goode (Joe Goode Performance Group), Randee Paufve (Paufve Dance), Nina Haft (Nina Haft & Company), Rebecca Salzer (Rebecca Salzer Dance Theater) and Cathy Davalos (Davalos Dance Company) among others.
Lawton was awarded Outstanding Performer in the 2000 Vision Series, for her own solo choreographic performance, and nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award (Izzy) for her performance in Garrett’s Wayfarers in 2002. Awarded Artist-In-Residence at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in 2006, Dana founded Dana Lawton Dances and was Artist-In-Residence at The Flight Deck in Oakland, CA 2014-2015. Dana Lawton Dances was awarded perminent Company-In-Residence at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in 2016.
Recently Dana has been focusing her choreographic energy toward collaboration with innovative musical composers. He evening-length piece, Beyond This Moment, with Michelle Beauchesne, Bill Flores, Jon Lawton and Sean McCue premiered at Ashby Stage in Berkeley (2013) to sold–out houses. The piece toured to Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara and received rave reviews. “Lawton gave eloquent and virtuosic choreographic voice to all of her dancers”. (David Kepl—Montecito Journal 2014)
Other musical collaborations include Los Angeles-based composer, David Karagianis, for her solo, Coasting (2008), composer Frank Zincavage for Horsethief Lake (2009), composers Sean McCue and Michelle Beauchesne for Inside (2009), composer EJ Youngblood for Who is She? (2010) and composer Stephanie Webster for Pranidhana (2012) and Silence Of… (2013). Her works have been heralded as “Outstanding”, “So simple, so evocative, so delicious”, “fresh and rich and rang true.” She was invited to perform “It is a very rewarding piece to see. Ms. Lawton's skill and concentration are remarkable.” (Joanna Harris—Culture Vulture 2009)
Lawton has been presented at the Isadora Duncan Awards Ceremony, San Francisco, The Work Gallery, Brooklyn, New York and The Dallas Hub Theater in Dallas, Texas in addition to the Women on the Way Festival, 2nd Sundays Series, The Harvest Festival, the Vision Series, Pilot and, Flight Series at ODC, Summerfest Dance, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival. Dana Lawton Dances toured to France and participated in the Royère de Vassivière in Chamberet, July 2014 and to the Crescent Arts Center in Belfast, N. Ireland in July 2015.
Lawton holds an MFA in Choreography from Mills College and a BFA in Dance from California Institute of the Arts.
"Dana Lawton’s work is sublimely magnificent. What this group offers is a glimpse at the rich multiplicity of human lives"
-The Santa Barbara Independent