Dayton’s premier African American Arts Institution celebrates its 55th anniversary season


DAYTON — Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) celebrates its 55th Anniversary year with a return to the Victoria Theatre for three shows – October, December and February.

Artistic Director, Debbie Blunden-Diggs has assembled a season of dynamic offerings sure to appeal to Dayton audiences who seek the new and vital as well as the classic and relevant, said a press release from DCDC.

DCDC opens the season in October with In Good Company, sharing the stage with their “sister” company from Denver, Colorado: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, in a unique combined presentation of hip hop legend, Dr. Rennie Harris’ “Jacob’s Ladder.” This was the crowd-pleasing finale from the Jacob Lawrence Project of 2007. OSU Dance Department Chair, Charles Anderson, and founder of Charles O. Anderson/dance theatre X, will premiere a new work for DCDC. Anderson’s stated choreographic mission is to create work that gives testimony through kinetic storytelling.

In time for the holidays, In the Spirit of…Grace takes the stage in December. Audiences will be bedazzled by new creations from DCDC’s award-winning resident choreographers. The Dayton community is invited to participate as members of the Community Gospel Choir under the baton of DCDC music director Deron Bell. The perennial favorite, In My Father’s House, by Ms. Blunden-Diggs rounds out this massively popular holiday event. Expect to revel in Spirit that regenerates and sanctifies.

In Modern Moves, for Black History Month, DCDC presents two works of Talley Beatty, representing a span of time from Reconstruction to the culmination of the Great Migration. Former Artistic Director Kevin Ward’s And Each Day examines the cumulative power of “We the People.” And representing a major coup for DCDC — the company will perform Esplanade by legendary choreographer Paul Taylor. DCDC is the first majority African American company to perform Esplanade. Called “a masterpiece of physical joy” Esplanade set the ball rolling for the “pedestrian movement” craze of the 70’s and is inarguably, one of the best. DCDC is most fortunate to have the Springfield Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Peter Stafford Wilson provide accompaniment.

The next wave artists known as Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company (D2) will present In Freedom in April at University of Dayton’s Boll Theatre. Artistic Director Shonna Hickman-Matlock will commission both young and seasoned choreographers to explore themes of what it means to live with and without freedom. Stories of freedom will unfold as these exquisite dancers follow their desires, imagine new realities, and attempt existence in a world free from constraint. Their concerts have been an immensely popular means of enjoying the next generation of dance artists.

“This is a season not to be missed. The artistic excellence of our current troupe of dancers is unparalleled. And, the works they will perform are stunningly beautiful. Debbie has designed the perfect combination to demonstrate and celebrate DCDC’s incredible 55-year legacy,” Executive Director Phyllis Brzozowska said in a press release.

“I am so excited to enter into the 55th season and what that means for a Black company in the Midwest. We look forward to inspiring both audiences and dancer artists creating transformational experiences for everyone. Make DCDC a part of your living Black history,” Artistic Director Debbie Blunden-Diggs said in the release.

The following presentations are as follows:

• In Good Company — Oct. 14 – 15;

• In the Spirit of…Grace — Dec. 2 – 3;

• In Modern Moves — Feb. 17 – 18, 2024, at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St. Dayton;

• In Freedom, featuring D2, April 27 – 28, 2024, at University of Dayton, Boll Theatre.

For more information, visit or connect on social media: Facebook/Instagram: @daytoncontemporarydancecompany & Twitter: @DCDCLive.

DCDC was founded in 1968 to create performance opportunities for African American dancers. Fifty-five years later, it remains rooted in the African American experience, committed to the presentation of accomplished movement artists on the global stage. DCDC is known for its extraordinary artistic expression, precision, and athleticism. Having the world’s largest repertoire of classic works by African American choreographers, this Dayton, Ohio company continues to be celebrated at home and around the world.

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