CATA Salutes Artistic Director Dawn Lane

Dawn Lane and two CATA dancers pose with their hands by their heads in grey dresses

Dawn Lane with Moving Company dancers Louisa Millonzi and Teresa Thomas in “Sticks and Stones” in 2010 (photo by Christina Lane)

After an incredible 28-year career with CATA, Dawn Lane will be retiring as our Artistic Director at the end of the year.
“As I step down from my role as Artistic Director,” says Dawn Lane, “I am reminded of my first days at CATA, teaching weekly workshops and sitting on a wooden folding chair in CATA founder Sandy Newman’s home office—growing CATA. And look at CATA now! I am full of comic and poignant memories and a deep sense of fulfillment. Quality has informed everything in my work with CATA artists, followed closely by creativity, advocacy, and of course, humor! Endings are an opportunity to begin—for me and for CATA!”
“It is impossible to capture how deep Dawn’s contributions have been here at CATA,” says Margaret Keller, CATA’s Executive Director. “Dawn’s unparalleled artistry and the high bar she has continuously set as an artist, teacher, choreographer, and director have shaped and guided CATA’s mission, along with her impassioned advocacy for people with disabilities. It is an exciting time for Dawn and for CATA, with so much ahead for us all. Dawn’s legacy of innovation and inclusion will inspire CATA’s work for years to come.”


Dawn Lane holds her hands in the air during a dance workshop

Dawn Lane’s advocacy as a dancer and teacher has made a life-long impact for countless CATA artists (photo by Christina Lane)


Since joining CATA in 1994, Dawn founded the Moving Company, a celebrated mixed-ability dance company. Through Dawn’s leadership, the company has become a vital platform for dancers with developmental and intellectual disabilities to express themselves and tap into their artistry.

From 2003-2007, Dawn’s collaboration with the late Marisa Yudkin, a dancer who was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, resulted in a series of powerful duets which were presented at Jacob’s Pillow, the Brain Injury Association National Conference, and Tewksbury Hospital. Their collaboration was documented in the film Too Much to Stop, created by filmmaker John Whalan. As director of CATA’s Annual Performance, held each May at Shakespeare & Company, Dawn has led powerful productions that have shined a light on the talents of people with disabilities.


Dawn lane and two CATA dancers in red shirts, black shorts, and sunglasses

Dawn Lane (center) with CATA Moving Company dancers Carol Ray (left) and JoAnne King (right) performing in “Mission Imagination” in 2009 (photo by Christina Lane)

Dawn’s work as a choreographer and director at CATA has been recognized through numerous awards, including the New England Dance Fund from the New England Foundation for the Arts (2018), the Martha Boschen Porter Fund (2018), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award Initiative & Creative Development Residency (2015), Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Choreography (2010), VSA International Arts Festival (2010), Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Distinguished Arts Educator in Dance (2007), and the LEF New England Artist Grant (2004).

Dawn helped to launch partnerships with local organizations serving people with disabilities, including Berkshire County Arc, Berkshire Health Systems, Riverbrook Residence, and the Berkshire Hills School District. These partnerships have continued and have now expanded to include 50 different agencies, residences, day-habilitation programs, and schools across Berkshire County and Columbia County. 

Dawn Lane’s retirement comes at a time of growth and reimagining at the nonprofit. CATA’s arts programs and partnerships have grown dramatically over the last 6 years, including during the pandemic, and the organization recently conducted a highly successful capital campaign, leading to its first permanent home—a large, fully renovated and accessible new headquarters and studio in Great Barrington. In preparation for Dawn’s retirement, CATA has been working closely with trusted consultants to complete an assessment of the organization’s staffing needs and to plan strategically for CATA’s future. We will be posting a new position in the coming weeks, and look forward to hiring a new member of our team soon.

Please join us in celebrating the incredible accomplishments and impact that Dawn has had in our community!

Do you have a short message you’d like to share in celebration of Dawn? A favorite moment or performance? Send it to us! Click here to share your message.

A line of CATA dancers in jumpsuits hold a red rope

Dawn Lane (center) with Moving Company dancers performing in “Ready Willing Able” in 2015 (photo by Christina Lane)


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