Marlana Doyle has been dancing since age 3.

Dancing, she said, has always been at the center of her life, whether she’s performing, choreographing or spreading the joys of dance to others through teaching.

These days, Doyle is able to do a mix of all three through the work she does with the Institute of Contemporary Dance, a business she founded in June 2020. The institute offers dance classes to Houstonians of all ages and abilities, covering a variety of styles.

“Part of our mission is that we’re accessible to all kinds of people, anyone wanting to try dance, or people who have had dance in the past and want to come back to it,” Doyle said.

Doyle’s staff of 27 people includes seven professional dance instructors, many of whom have been with her for 10 years, dating back to her work at former jobs.

Classes for children as part of the ICD’s Young Movers program are taught in a way that is meant to foster creativity, Doyle said.

“We’re here to give our dancers, especially younger dances, the opportunity to expand their brain,” she said. “Movement really does help benefit a child’s brain and their creative thinking.”

Clients can decide for themselves how often they want to take classes. An open house is slated for Aug. 5 at the ICD studio, during which guests can participate in free classes.

In addition to the ICD, Doyle is also the founder and artistic director of the nonprofit Houston Contemporary Dance Company. Although it is a separate entity, the HCDC often hosts performances that feature dancers enrolled at the institute, Doyle said.

The new season will begin Sept. 1. Although it’s the fifth season, Doyle said it feels like the second—because of the coronavirus pandemic—and the most important one yet.

“Now our numbers are growing as more and more people find out about who we are,” she said.

All ages, all abilities

Classes at the Institute of Contemporary Dance span a variety of dance styles and skill levels. Classes are also offered virtually.

Young Movers: ages 2 1/2-10

Path program: ages 11 and older (including adults)

Adult classes: ages 16 and older

Styles include but are not limited to:
  • Ballet
  • Jazz
  • Contemporary
  • Tap
  • Hip-hop
  • Cultural dance
Institute of Contemporary Dance

1302 Houston Ave., Ste. 300, Houston


Hours: Mon. 3:30-9 p.m., Tue.-Thu. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat. 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sun.