Dogtown Dance Theatre
109 West 15th Street
Richmond VA 23224-4622
Mission Statement
Dogtown Dance Theatre provides a home for independent artists to create and present their work in movement, visual and music arts. We seek to enliven our local community by fostering expansive creative expression and education across diverse populations.
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Jess Burgess
Board Chair Dr. William G. Fitzhugh
Board Chair Company Affiliation Doctor OB/GYN Private Practice
Contact Information
Address 109 West 15th Street
Richmond, VA 232244622
Telephone 804 658-7781
Fax 804 230-8780
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2010
Former Names
Dogtown Arts Foundation2013
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $164,998.00
Projected Expenses $153,819.00
Dogtown Dance Theatre provides a home for independent artists to create and present their work in movement, visual and music arts. We seek to enliven our local community by fostering expansive creative expression and education across diverse populations.
  1. Established Richmond Dance Festival (RDF) in 2014. Richmond Dance Festival strives to connect local artists with local audiences by unifying their efforts to strengthen the art form as a whole through a month of performances, film screenings and free master classes. This festival showcases the creative energy of the artists, choreographers and performers of Richmond, Virginia. The program continues to grow every year by involving more diverse local talent and hosting a wide array of Richmond audiences. The festival continues to provide artists with an outside adjudication process for both the film screenings and dance submissions.
  2. Awarded a $1,000 grant at CultureWorks' Expo for Best Booth during our first year in attendance. Dogtown Dance Theatre is participating in the upcoming CultureWorks' Expo in June 2015. Host of Sparrows Aerial Dance and Hoop Mafia held demonstrations during the first event and will continue to support the organization along with another performance by RVA Dance Collective. 
  3. Dogtown Dance Theatre continues to support a variety of area artists in providing them with a home for performances, rehearsals and classes. Examples of such artists include Latin Vintage's annual Pura Vintage performance, RADAR Dance's summer technique intensive and Clave Unidos continued VIVA African Dance workshops.
  4. Applied for and awarded our first grant funding through the Carpenter Foundation for the Richmond Dance Festival and Moose Management Academy Development Training Program.
  5. Established an Internship and Work Study Program. Internship positions are offered to University of Richmond as well as VCU students all year round, in areas of interest include grant writing and technical theater. The Work Study Program is in collaboration with VCU and currently staffs 18 students. These two programs both serve as developmental positions where students contribute to the overall growth of the organization.  
  6. Awarded a grant through the Culture Works Grant Program for the inagural Dogtown Presenter's Series which happened in October 2016. The event was a huge success and we look forward to helping more Dogtown artists by producing their shows in the upcoming fall seasons.
  1. Find financial support through foundations and grants to create a Dogtown Presenter's Series that would allow the artists that call Dogtown a home the ability to present new and innovative dance and theatrical works at no cost to the artist. 
  2. Actively pursue and receive grant funding to elevate production value, increase community dance opportunities, staffing and resources.
  3. Complete Major Gifts mentoring program through Moose Management Academy for professional training to solicit private funding.
  4. Seek financial and in-kind gift sponsors for free community programs such as RVA Dance Collective's free weekly modern dance class and Clave Unidos' free weekly African dance class and ongoing yearly workshops. These classes are offered to the community at absolutely zero cost to the consumer. 
  5. Switch the organization to a fiscal operating year versus a calendar operating year to help drive fundraising and a potential capital campaign for the organization
  6. Under the direction of the new Artistic and Executive Director, the organization seeks to fully establish the non-profit for long-term sustainability  
  7. Secure corporate philanthropic donations for the fiscal year 
  1. Non-profit consultant assistance for the organization's overall health - $4,000
  2. Theater technical enhancements - Lights and accessories, dimmers, audio and sound equipment, Communication system to enable communication between light booth, front of house, and backstage, PA systems for all studios in the building (3 total studios) - $27,000
  3. Funding Assistance to bring in artists who embody Dogtown's mission through the Dogtown Presenter's Series
  4. Funds to maintain permanent positions for a Artistic & Executive Director, Development Director, Administrative Director and funds to hire the permanent positions of Technical Director and  Marketing Specialists - $160,000
  5. Website re-design and security maintenance of site - $1,700
Dogtown Arts Foundation was founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Robert Petres. The former gymnasium to Bainbridge Middle School was fully renovated and opened its doors June of 2010. To better represent the characteristics of a public charity, in 2013 the theater changed its' name to Dogtown Dance Theatre.

Dogtown’s mission is to be a resource for performing artists by covering all aspects of an artist's process to create and present art. This is accomplished through providing a safe environment that encourages experiment and risk, engendering a collaborative environment among artists, and offering a venue and home for performers of all styles and genres.
The theater currently houses several dance and movement companies; RVA Dance Collective, Host of Sparrows Aerial Dance, Claves Unidos African Roots Dance, Studio4 Dance Hip Hop Dance Company, Illumination Belly Dance Studio, and Hoop Dance by Circular Expressions.
In addition to providing a platform for independent artists to creatively express themselves, the theater hosts three monumental annual programs that continue to further the mission and goals of the organization. These programs are the annual Richmond Dance Festival, the Dogtown Presenter's Series, and the annual Mardi Gras RVA. 
CEO Statement

Statement from the Artistic & Executive Director:

Dogtown Dance Theatre offers beautiful, highly versatile performance spaces available at extremely low cost for artists, in comparison to other venues in the city.

A diverse population of artists make their home here - we house Afro-Caribbean community dance classes; tribal/belly-dance classes; aerial dance; modern dance; social dance, and many more, attracting a wide range of students and audience members to classes and performances.
Dogtown Dance Theatre continually works towards its vision to provide a home in Richmond for all independent artists.  
The building is highly accessible, has excellent parking, and is five minutes from downtown Richmond.
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Tri-cities Region
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Henrico County











































































These zip codes cover most of the area Dogtown plans to impact.
Board Chair
Board Chair Dr. William G. Fitzhugh
Company Affiliation Doctor OB/GYN Private Practice
Term Jan 2010 to Jan 2018
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Al Austin Vice President of AETNA, Retired
Dr. Renard A. Charity Doctor OB/GYN at HCA Physician Services
Dr. William G. Fitzhugh Doctor OB/GYN Private Practice
Dr. Richard Rinehardt Women's Health Center
Mr. Bob Tarren Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 5
Female 0
Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 10
Board Meeting Attendance % 80
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 80
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 20
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Program / Program Planning
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.

Currently, Dogtown Dance Theatre does not have a highly active board. However, the organization is in the process of creating a plan to increase board engagement. Dogtown Dance Theatre would ultimately want to recruit board members who will be active in developing the organization to its full potential - particularly with respect to fundraising.

Regarding facilities, the theater space needs to be updated so that it meets industry standards. This includes wireless communication, up to date lighting instruments, and sound equipment. The former director maintains several relationships with technical staff at venues in multiple cities, and has been able to acquire a solid range of functional starter equipment.

Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Jess Burgess
  • Artistic Director at Richmond's home for independent dance artists - Dogtown Dance Theatre
  • 2010 recipient of the Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts
  • James Madison University graduate - Bachelor of Arts in Dance & Choreography
  • Experienced nonprofit and marketing professional with a thorough knowledge of strategy development and execution
  • Co-artistic director and founder of RVA Dance Collective, Dogtown Dance Theatre's resident modern dance company.
  • Instructor and choreographer at The Dance Company in Mechanicsville.
  • Goals include growing as a professional in the field of arts administration while flourishing as an artist.
  • Specialties: Non-profit administration, marketing and communications, account and project management, branding and identity, public relations, client relations, web best practices and thorough knowledge of HTML, CSS and SEO.
Former CEOs
Mr. Robert Petres May 2010 - May 2015
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 5
Volunteers 100
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 0
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Culture Works, Thomas Dale Specialty Center for the Performing Arts, Art Works Galleries and Studios, VCU Work Study, VCU and University of Richmond internship program, Branches of Life 
Best Booth AwardCultureWorks Xpo 20142014
Best in ShowCultureWorks XPO 20152015
Dogtown Dance Theatre promotes public interest in dance through the annual Richmond Dance Festival. The Richmond Dance Festival presents three weekends of concerts, workshops, and community events. Numerous dance companies and artists participate, collectively building the idea of
 community and sharing an audience with one purpose: to further diversify
and solidify dance in Richmond.
Population Served Adults
Budget $40,350.00
Short Term Success Short-term successes of the Richmond Dance Festival include increased attendance to the performances as well as free master classes. We would also strive to include a larger portion of artists if funding is inline. 
Long Term Success Long-term success of the Richmond Dance Festival would include securing additional private funding to let the festival grow. 
Dogtown Dance Theatre promotes public interest in dance through the Mardi Gras Dance Festival. It is a yearly hosted event where the community is invited to dress up and take part in a parade as well as watch various performances from local artists held in the Dogtown Dance Theatre. It is a community driven event which encourages interactive creative self-expression through the Mardi Gras themed celebration of dance. The goal is to unite the diverse population of Richmond, Virginia by establishing a common ground through the arts.
Population Served Families
Budget $4,072.00
Short Term Success Entering into it's third year, the festival has proved to be successful at connecting community members directly to the artists that Dogtown Dance Theatre gives shelter. With careful review and analyzing the previous year's festivals, this year Dogtown Dance Theatre will consolidate the festival into a more clearly defined representation of the organization and mission. This will be accomplished by involving a larger variety of artists present as well as streamlining the festival into a one-day event. 
Long Term Success
The long-term success of the Mardi Gras RVA program will be continued investment of the artists that call Dogtown Dance Theatre home through this annual community festival that promotes and showcases their work. 
Dogtown Dance Theatre strives to make all of its in-house artists accessible to families and audiences of all genres, and the Mardi Gras RVA event is a prime opportunity to do that. 

The Dogtown Presenter’s Series is a 3-week fall celebration that will highlight the independent artists and organizations rehearsing and teaching at Dogtown Dance Theatre. Currently, Dogtown is home to 8 different dance and movement organizations. One arts organization will be invited by the Artistic Director to participate for a series of professionally produced performances and community workshops each fall in the Dogtown Presenter’s Series. The Series will increase awareness of the artists that make the theatre their home to the Richmond community. Dogtown manages the production costs of the concert by providing artists with rehearsal and performance space as well as marketing and technical needs. Artists invited to participate in the program will be awarded multiple full-length performances alongside master-level classes and workshops.  Dogtown grants a  stipend and a portion of the proceeds from the box office to the dance organization for the encouragement  of creating new art.

Population Served Adults
Budget $10,000.00
Short Term Success

The Dogtown Presenter’s Series is an innnovative way of producing dance artists in the Richmond community. It also engages Richmond arts audiences in a way never done before within the city limits. The Dogtown Presenter’s Series embodies Dogtown Dance Theatre’s mission by bringing professionally-produced dance concerts alongside specialized dance education that sculpts and pioneers Richmond’s expanding, diverse dance opportunities. All of Dogtown’s programmatic content is fostered, created, and presented by a choreographer who calls Dogtown “home.” The Dogtown Presenter’s Series own mission is to expose Richmond audiences to Dogtown choreographers who reflect the cultural diversity alive in dance today, to promote artists from a variety of dance styles and genres and support them in creating new works of expression. In doing so the Series will ultimately nurture long-term and multi-faceted partnerships between Dogtown Dance Theatre, its choreographers, their audiences, and the Richmond community.

Long Term Success

Goals and Objectives

The Dogtown Presenter’s Series overall goals and mission serve to support Dogtown Dance Theatre’s own mission to provide independent artists with a home to create and present their art.

The goals of the Dogtown Dance Presenter’s include:

· To push aesthetic boundaries and reflect the cultural and aesthetic diversity alive in dance today

· Nurture long-term and multi-faceted partnerships between choreographers that reside in house at Dogtown and their audiences

· Involve choreographers and dance artists from a range of dance styles and pedagogy

· Expose Richmond audiences to choreographers and movement artists that may not otherwise have the opportunity to show their work fully produced


National Dance Day will feature open-level classes instructed by all local Richmond dance artists, including Afro-Caribbean inspired Claves Unidos led by Kevin Lamarr Jones, modern/contemporary dance choreographed by RVA Dance Collective’s Jess Burgess, aerial dance and circus arts by Host of Sparrow’s Heather Bailey, pole dancing with Pole Pressure, relaxing yoga with Cate Harrison, hoop dance from Circular Expression’s Maria Estrada, bellydancing with Khalima and her Illumination Dance Studio, and hip hop dancing with Deandra Clark’s Studio 4. The celebration of National Dance Day hosted by Dogtown represents the cultural diversity alive today in dance, and provides a way for students to experience them all in one day. Two of the dance companies, RVA Dance Collective and Claves Unidos, teach free classes at Dogtown year-round, as well, and all other classes are donation-based or extremely low-cost.

Dogtown Dance Theatre supports artists all artists who are established, or rising, and seeks to present new and exciting ways to the give back to the Richmond community, and National Dance Day is an exemplary achievement in avoiding the obstacles of performance and production, not to mention marketing costs; Dogtown believes that dance should not be a luxury, but a right.

Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Budget $1,500.00
Short Term Success

Short-term success for National Dance Day is seen in the increase in overall numbers in classes after the event. Patronage is supported through free events like National Dance Day as it helps expose Dogtown to the community and show our community the high quality instruction available here at very affordable costs.

Long Term Success

Dogtown has held two successful National Dance Day events since Jess Burgess assumed leadership at the organization. Each year the event grows and we are able to offer more classes to more students.

CEO/ED/Board Comments Dogtown Dance Theatre's programs continue to enhance the organization's mission to provide a home for all independent artists. We have gained significant momentum in the artistic community through the past several years as we've implemented Mardi Gras RVA and the Richmond Dance Festival. Now that the community support is in place and actively growing, Dogtown Dance Theatre needs to focus on securing investors and contributors to help sustain the longevity of these programs as well as the addition of new programs. 
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $164,998.00
Projected Expenses $153,819.00
Spending Policy N/A
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$85,861$25,545$13,914
Administration Expense$84,469$53,450$28,911
Fundraising Expense$6,574$933--
Payments to Affiliates--$350--
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.830.991.09
Program Expense/Total Expenses49%32%32%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue9%6%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$36,311$54,132$73,998
Current Assets$12,899$19,198$14,650
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$7,175$0$16,907
Total Net Assets$29,136$54,132$57,091
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.80--0.87
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitation Permit Application 9/2014View
2015 PermitView
Organization Comments
Artistic Director Comments: 
Funding for personnel is an ongoing challenge - operating budget, without supplemental external funding, does not support the necessary staff. We have the opportunity to create jobs within the community, but currently do not have the means.
The organization has maximized use of internships and work study arrangements in partnership with VCU, to include temporary positions such as grant writers, technical staff, administrative staff and marketing support. However, these positions are inherently limited in terms of time and depth of knowledge.
Foundation Comments
  • Financial information provided by financial statements prepared internally be the organization.