H C Smith Ltd is pleased to represent GroundWorks DanceTheater (GroundWorks) in their search for their first dedicated Executive Director. GroundWorks is a professional contemporary dance company located in Northeast Ohio. Now in our 24th season, GroundWorks is continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible through dance by engaging, educating, and enlivening our community. We are committed to presenting unique opportunities for engaging the community through work-in-progress showings, masterclasses, artist talks, and educational outreach to school age children, college students, and senior adults, along with the development and presentation of new choreography and collaborations.

Fundamental to GroundWorks is the fostering of new choreography and challenging preconceptions about dance, for which founding artistic director David Shimotakahara provides the vision. Beginning in 1998, from its Northeast Ohio base, this group of outstanding artists has introduced dance lovers and neophytes alike to an experience that is unconventional, yet deeply human and resonating. Sometimes performing in unusual settings and inviting exciting cross collaboration from across creative disciplines, GroundWorks enriches its work with subtle layers of meaning that deepen the impact and enjoyment for the audience.

This desire to push the boundaries is also evident in Shimotakahara’s bold initiative: “To constantly seek collaboration and input from groundbreaking choreographers of the highest caliber and to make certain that the repertoire of the company is constantly evolving.”

GroundWorks’ repertoire includes works by selected guest choreographers and interdisciplinary artists. GroundWorks has commissioned 60 works from nationally and internationally acclaimed choreographers – some of the most creative voices in the field – as well as 52 new works by Shimotakahara.

Some of the choreographers and interdisciplinary artists we have commissioned include Antonio Brown, Amy Miller, Rena Butler, Kate Weare, Robert Moses, Ronen Koresh, Dianne McIntyre, Peter Chu, Adam Barruch, Gina Gibney, David Parker, Brian Brooks, Robyn Mineko Williams and James Gregg along with many others.

Now in its third decade, GroundWorks looks toward its future, having earned solid support and a growing audience base as more and more people discover what the Plain Dealer has described as the “smoldering brilliance” of one of “Cleveland’s cultural gems.”


The Executive Director will be a transparent, inclusive, communicating and collaborative leader, responsible for assessing, managing, and growing the organizational structure and capacity of this exciting company. This person will lead a team of full-time staff that includes a General Manager and Education Director, a contracted part-time Marketing and Communications specialist, and part-time office manager. Reporting to the board of directors, the ideal candidate will bring a love and appreciation for the power of dance performance and education to the work of building new generative partnerships across the Northeast Ohio region. Groundworks seeks candidates with a passion for amplifying the mission of creating and presenting groundbreaking contemporary dance as a leader in engaging, educating and enlivening communities. Through this mission, the Executive Director will cultivate relationships with new partners for cutting edge programs in schools, centers of community, and healthcare systems across the region. Building upon the extraordinary history of this founder-led organization, this visionary leader will collaborate with Artistic Director David Shimotakahara to craft Groundworks’ further evolution as a leading contemporary dance company. In the coming years, Groundworks is uniquely positioned to further develop characteristically groundbreaking programs in artistic performance, healthcare, education, and community development.


  • Ensure Groundworks maintains its fundamental commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion through hiring practices, artistic mission, and engagement with Northeast Ohio partners and communities.
  • Collaborate with the Board and staff, define and promote optimal mission, organizational structure, strategy and business model for Groundworks. Develop a strategic vision complete with an assessment of the resources needed to accomplish those goals and objectives.
  • Serve as Groundworks’ public spokesperson. Promote, advocate and represent Groundworks and the form of contemporary dance locally, regionally, and nationally.
  • Maintain and expand partnerships with associated schools, health systems, and community centers to provide greater access to Groundworks’ programming.
  • Will actively promote use of media and technology to expand the reach of Groundworks work to reach audience and potential stakeholders.
  • Take a leadership role in fundraising, while understanding the importance of stewardship to actively, identify, cultivate and solicit individual gifts, while cultivating the relationships with current foundation partners.
  • Assist the Board in identifying and recruiting potential members.
  • Work in close partnership with the Board and staff to evaluate existing activities, enhance standards and excellence of current programs.
  • Apply new ways to solve complex situations including branding of the organization, increasing visibility of programs and in general creating new opportunities to enhance the prominence of Groundworks.
  • Oversee the preparation of the annual operating budget and monitor performance against budget. Ensure that the Board and its committees have timely and accurate information to support their decision-making.
  • Engage, collaborate with, supervise, motivate and evaluate a high-caliber professional staff.


  • Minimum Bachelor’s degree plus 5-7 years of progressively responsible positions in managing mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations. Substantial management experience and deep relationships within the contemporary dance or ballet world a plus, preferably with expertise in organizational development, financial administration, and funding success.
  • Experience with board development, recruitment, support and governance.
  • Demonstrated success in high level fundraising, donor stewardship, public funding, endowment planning and growth as well as other strategic development efforts.
  • Success in effectively prioritizing, delegating and executing on multiple projects and initiatives with multiple stakeholders.
  • Ability to deal effectively with uncertainty and a rapidly changing environment.
  • Proven experience in creatively and effectively bringing about positive change, and creating and/or maintaining high morale, including a history of development, mentorship and support of effective staff teams.
  • Strong business and financial management skills and demonstrated track record and success in managing budgets.
  • Current knowledge, background and/or experience in the field of dance is a plus.
  • Skilled communicator, learner, listener and collaborator – open, approachable, personable – who promotes a positive working environment within the organization and community.
  • Demonstrated poise and integrity representing the institution, and use of that public persona to develop new opportunities for the organization.
  • Attention to detail

4570 Renaissance Parkway, Cleveland, OH 44128
E-MAIL:  eb@hcsmith.com or rebecca@hcsmith.com
(216) 752-9966

The target salary for this position is $100,000 to be determined based upon experience and qualifications.

Groundworks DanceTheater is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength. BIPOC individuals are encouraged to apply. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

COVID vaccination (or certified medical exemption) is required as a condition of employment for all staff and artists.