Visiting Artist



Karen Long Charles was born in Atlanta, Georgia.  Karen received her B.F.A. in Ballet and B.S. in Computer Science from Texas Christian University.  She received a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Georgia State University.  Karen studied as a fellowship recipient at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  Karen danced professionally with the Pittsburgh Choreography Continuum, Susan Warden Dance Company (Kansas City) and Room to Move Dance Company (Atlanta).  Karen founded a dance school (Discovering Dance) in 1996. 

In 2000, Karen moved to Minneapolis, MN where she worked as Co-Principal at Perpich Arts High School (2000-2002) and was founding Principal of P.I.M formerly called Main Street School of Performing Arts (2003-2010).  In 2010,  Karen  founded Threads Dance Project (Threads).  Karen’s company has had successful tours to Atlanta, GA, Philadelphia, PA; extended residencies at Carleton College, Macalester College, University of Iowa and University of Georgia; collaborated with Grammy-nominated a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock; was nominated for a Sage Dance Award (2015), and co-hosted McKnight International Choreographer Salia Sanou (Burkina Faso/France) Fall 2017. 

In January 2021, Threads moved to their new home, Threads Dance Nexus located at 2213 Snelling Avenue in Minneapolis. Their new home allows further expansion of their mission to examine, expose and celebrate the thread that connect us by providing a place for continued community connection through dance classes and other community events.

Visit for additional information about Karen Charles and Threads Dance Project.