ABOVE: Cherokeita Ruben Rashadeen, Dr. Karen J. Gray-Gomez, Traci Greene, & Celeste Madhere
The Lab Performing Arts Initiative, Inc. hosted a fundraiser in support of Houston’s Urban Nutcracker (HUN) at MELODRAMA Boutique’s Happy Hour Friday season finale. Happy Hour Friday attendees shopped and networked as they supported Lab Performing Arts Initiative (LPAI), and the 2019 production of Houston’s Urban Nutcracker (HUN). Traci Greene, Creative Director and visionary behind LPAI and HUN, greeted attendees and promoted the 2019 production.
Each Friday in July and August from 5:00-8:00 pm, nonprofits, small businesses, and designers showcase their products or services at the boutique. Happy Hour Friday’s are a great opportunity to network and learn about what is happening in the great city of Houston. Nonprofit organizations like Lab Performing Arts Initiative, Inc receive a portion of the proceeds of the sales from the happy hour.
HUN is a community outreach project that supports scholarships for minority student dancers in the Houston community.
The Lab Performing Arts Initiative, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 2013 designed to enrich the lives of under-represented young people in the world of dance. Through LPAI, which is an organization designed to enrich the lives of young people through the performing arts, monies are raised for scholarships and distributed to deserving students. Many students have been accepted to some of the most prestigious dance programs in America including, the American Ballet Theater’s Summer Intensive, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center’s Summer Intensive, and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s Summer Intensive, just to name a few.
In 2018, HUN was so popular that, after selling-out two performances in 48 hours, LPAI had to add additional performances to meet demand. Houston’s Urban Nutcracker delivers a twist on the original holiday production by showcasing Houston’s diverse ethnic culture and theatrical talent.
The mission of this production is to provide a cultural experience through artistic expression that builds confidence, inspires hope, transforms lives, and promotes camaraderie among the citizens of Houston.
Auditions for the 2019 season were held in August and over 180 performers showcased their talents as they vied for a role in the production.
“We’re looking forward to bringing a new group of young and professional performers to the stage for our second season,” says Traci Greene, president and founder of Lab Performing Arts Initiative, Inc. and Creative Director of Houston’s Urban Nutcracker. “The goal is to be inclusive while delivering an excellent performance once again this season,” explains Greene.
Preparations for the 2019 season have begun. LPAI will host several fundraisers. Supporters will help bring an expertly choreographed show, featuring both professional dancers and youth dancers from ages five-years-old and beyond, to the stage. Contributions will allow LPAI to elevate a diverse group of talented children and allow them to dream a little bigger.
Houston’s Urban Nutcracker will take place on December 20th and 22nd at the Stafford Center. Tickets will go on sale on October 1, 2019.
For more information on Houston’s Urban Nutcracker and to become a sponsor, please visit www.houstonurbannutcracker.org.