Dana Lee Lawton


Professional Overview: 

Dana Lawton

Department Chair for Performing Arts
SMC Dance Company
Artistic Director
Dana Lawton Dances

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.

School of Liberal Arts » Performing Arts: Music, Dance and Theatre
School of Liberal Arts » Performing Arts: Dance
SMC Email Address: 
Contact Information: 

LeFevre Theatre - 1

Phone: 925-631-8540

Email: dlawton@stmarys-ca.edu


Saint Mary's College

Performing Arts

Box 4268, Moraga, CA 94575


  • M.F.A. Dance and Choreography, Mills College
  • B.F.A. Dance, California Institute of the Arts

Courses Taught

Recently Taught:

  • Choreography
  • Modern I Dance Company
  • Perceiving the Performing Arts
  • World Music and Dance
  • Yoga/ Advanced Yoga


Academic Honor Council:

  • Faculty Member
    (August 2010)
    I am a member of the Academic Honor Council (AHC) and serve on selected student panels deciding the outcome of reported academic violations. I also attend all AHC meetings.

First Year Advising:

  • Advisor
    (August 2011)
    I serve as a First Year Advisor (FYAC) for all incoming first year students in the dance department.


  • LEAP Faculty Board Member
    (August 2011-14)



BEYOND THIS MOMENT, Center Stage, Santa Barbara (2014)

BEYOND THIS MOMENT, Ashby Stage, Berkeley (2013)

New Winter Choreographer’s showcase, Dance Mission Theater, San Francisco (2013)

EBB+floW,Lisser Hall, Mills College, Oakland, CA (2013)

Works in the Works, Eighth Street Studio, Berkeley, CA (2012)

OUTLET DANCE PROJECT, Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ (2012)

WEST WAVE DANCE FESTIVAL, ODC Theater, San Francisco, CA (2011)

Mama Love, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley, CA (2010)

18 Virgo Horses, Counter Pulse Theater, San Francisco, CA (2010)

San Francisco International Arts Festival, Southside Theater, San Francisco, CA (2010)

Dance Anywhere, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, California (2010)

Women on the Way Festival, The Garage, San Francisco, CA (2010)

2nd Sundays, Counter Pulse Theater, San Francisco, CA (2009)

Works in the Works, Eighth Street Studio, Berkeley, CA (2009)

Stage Dor Choreographer Showcase, Stage Dor Studio, Sausalito, CA (2009)

Shawl-Anderson Dance Center Performance Salon, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley, CA (2009)

Harvest, Fall Choreographers Showcase, Dance Mission Theater, San Francisco, CA (2009)

A NIGHT OF DANA LAWTON DANCES, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, Berkeley CA (2007)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Life after Birth, ODC Theater, San Francisco CA  (2006)                 

Works in the Works, Eighth Street Studios, BerkeleyCA  (2001-09)                                                    

Saint Mary’s College Dance Company ConcertS, Moraga CA (2000-11)

American college dance festival, Rodey Theater, Salt Lake City UT (2000)

Vision Series, Cowell Theater, San Francisco CA (2000)

Flight series, ODC Theater, San Francisco CA (2000)

Summerfest / Dance, Cowell Theater, San Francisco CA (1999)

Pilots 26, 27, and 28,ODC Theater, San Francisco CA (1998)

master’s thesis dance concert, Mills College, Oakland, CA (1997)

spring showcase, Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara CA (1996)

Choreographer’s Showcase, Morgan-Wickson Theater Santa Monica, CA (1994)


Honors, Awards & Grants

  • Cultural Grant - City of Oakland (February 2015)
  • Clorax Foundation Grant  (2015)
  • Artistic Grant - Kenneth Rainin Foundation (September 2013)
    Grant awarded to fund production costs for Beyond This Moment.
  • Fillippi Fund - Saint Mary's College of California (July 2013)
    Awarded for production costs for Beyond This Moment.
  • Faculty Development Grant - Saint Mary's College of California (July 2013)
    Awarded money to cover costs of production of home season.


Scholarly Interests: 


  • Choreographer
  • Yoga