Owner/Artistic Director/Instructor of The Houston Dance Lab
Traci has been afforded the opportunity to work for award winning choreographers including: Joey McKneeley (Broadway choreographer of A West Side Story Revival and Smokey Joe’s Café’) ; Donald Byrd (choreographer of the Tony nominated musical The Color Purple); Frank Gatson (choreographer for pop artists including En Vogue, Destiny’s Child and Beyonce’); Marguerite Derricks (Choreographer of Sister Act, MTV Music Awards and Fame L.A.); Mark Santoro (Footloose on Broadway and Super Bowl choreographer); and dancer/choreographer/director, Debbie Allen.
Traci began her classical ballet training in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of six under the direction of Madame Elizabeth Boitsov of the Bolshoi Ballet. She continued her dance training in high school and became an NAACP Act-So Awards medalist in Dance. After graduating from college, Traci continued her performance arts studies at some of the nation’s top dance institutions including Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Edge Performing Arts Center, Bre Dance Studio, and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she received honors in both dancing and acting.
Traci has traveled throughout Europe and Asia as an actor, dancer, and the appointed dance captain for the International and European tours of A West Side Story. Traci’s other professional accomplishments include: Miss Bayou Classic 1996, captain and choreographer of the Southern University Dancing Dolls, lead dancer in Debbie Allen’s production of The Chocolate Nutcracker with Misty Copeland, principal dancer for Bre Dance Theater, dancer for VH1 Fashion Rocks with recording artists Nelly and Pharrell, and dancer for The Color Purple on Broadway Workshop.
Traci has taught dance throughout the US, including in California, Illinois, New York, Louisiana, Texas, and as an adjunct dance instructor and choreographer at Delaware State University. After relocating to Houston in 2006, she became a full-time dance teacher for the Houston Independent School District for eight years. In 2010, she was elected Burrus Fine Arts Magnet School’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year and was also nominated Dance Teacher Magazine’s Dance Teacher of the Year by her colleagues. In 2011, she began teaching at Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School in Rice Village where she resigned as the full-time dance teacher in 2014 to dedicate more time to her students at The Lab.
In 2013, Traci founded the Lab Performing Arts Initiative, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization designed to enrich the lives of young people who are under-represented in the dance world due to affordability, availability, or lack of exposure through two distinct arts programs; a scholarship talent based program and a community arts education program.
The Houston Dance Lab’s award winning performance companies have performed at popular venues in the Houston area, including the Wortham Theater, the Houston Children’s Festival, the Houston Stallions arena, the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, and JeCaryous Johnson musical stage play “Cheaper to Keep Her ” starring Vivica A. Fox and Brian McKnight to name a few.
Its students have won numerous awards for their excellence in dance and have been accepted to some the nation’s most prestigious dance programs in America including, Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts dance program, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center’s Summer Intensive, the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive, Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s Summer Intensive, the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Summer Intensive, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, New York City Dance Alliance, and the Radio City Rockettes Summer Intensive programs.