We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariah Henry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mariah, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I believe most dancers and choreographers are in the business of working for themselves. We all want to show our own identity within such a competitive industry. But for me, I wanted to really start my own dance company because I often found it difficult to find other dance companies with a similar agenda to mine. I really wanted to create dance works that center on the love of God. I did not want it to be “praise dance” or ballet which, from my experience, many people assume is the most fitting when dancing for God. I wanted to use trendy dances, dances that stem from hip-hop culture and do my best to bring this part of the dance world toward God’s heavenly domain. I figured that rather than just to keep looking for dancers and companies that fit this agenda, I would bring it to life myself and so I started my company Deeper Than Dance.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My company Deeper Than Dance (DTD) is a non-profit dance company that uses hip-hop and contemporary dance styles to glorify God and create art. Within DTD, I have been working on dance film projects and am now heading toward preparing DTD’s first full evening length dance concert. The process of creating dance works for DTD is always a lot of fun and generally is the easy part of the work. The difficult part is definitely getting the dancers and necessary collaborators to make each project possible. I have overcome this challenge by pushing myself to make connections with various artists via social media and connections made in dance studios around the city. I have been blessed to work with amazing dancers and artists around Houston and am going to continue doing so! I am excited to get back into rehearsals slowly and safely as we power through this pandemic.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love visiting the museum district here in Houston! I think there are so many places for great photo ops, and this area would definitely be on my list. We would probably go out for pizza at Spanky’s, for sure one of my favorite places to eat at, and then visit Red Circle in Bellaire, a churro and ice cream place for dessert!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my church, Houston Eagle Church. Every member of the congregation and Pastors of the church have supported my company and artistic vision from the start. They have given me many opportunities to showcase my choreography and continue to give me a platform to do so! Not only have they supported my company, but they have nurtured my body, soul, and spirit to do everything centered on God and His Word. This has been the foundation for my life and company.
Nathan San Miguel, Allison Canales, Angelica Duong