Rooted in the African-American experience, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is a culturally diverse contemporary dance company committed to reaching the broadest audience through exceptional performance and arts-integrated education.
Founded in 1968 by Dayton, Ohio native, Jeraldyne Blunden, DCDC is the oldest modern dance company in Ohio and one of the largest companies of its kind between Chicago and New York City. Now in it's 46th year, DCDC has won national and international acclaim and is renowned for powerful, artistic performances, a diverse repertoire of works by world class choreographers, and excellence in educational programming.
DCDC has been the only dance company in the country to participate in the Ford Foundation’s Working Capital Fund for Minority Cultural Institutions, a program, which has guided the company in creating a strategic business foundation to support its artistic excellence. Having successfully completed this rigorous, four-year program, the company has developed a strong community Board of Trustees and a solid base of financial support. Entering the new millennium, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is securely positioned to build on its incredible 32 year history and to continue its legacy and vision as a leading American contemporary dance company.
DCDC’s outstanding repertoire includes works by world class choreographers such as Eleo Pomare, Alvin Ailey, Ulysses Dove, Merce Cunningham, Donald McKayle, and Talley Beatty. Today, DCDC continues to acquire new works by contemporary choreographers including Bebe Miller, Warren Spears, Dwight Rhoden, Dianne McIntyre, Doug Varone, Shapiro and Smith, and Ronald K. Brown. To further expand its repertoire, DCDC has commissioned new works, most recently inviting Bill T. Jones, Garth Fagan, Dwight Rhoden and Doug Varone to participate in DCDC’s What dreams we have and how they fly. This four-piece program will premier in 2003 to celebrate Dayton’s native sons, the Wright Brothers’ first flight 100 years ago and will artistically explore what the invention of flight means to our contemporary world.
In February 1999, DCDC premiered Children of the Passage by Donald McKayle and Ronald K. Brown. This work was commissioned by the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center as part of a major project, When the Spirit Moves: the Africanization of American Movement. The creation and debut of Children of the Passage along with numerous other classic works performed by DCDC, have been captured in Free to Dance, a documentary on the history of Black Dance in America, scheduled to air on PBS “Great Performances” in February 2001.
In 1988, DCDC was one of four dance companies chosen by The American Dance Festival to participate in ADF’s Black Tradition in American Modern Dance project. The project involved the reconstruction of classic dance works by African-American choreographers and led to an extensive touring schedule for DCDC. Through extended state tours of North Carolina, New Mexico, Minnesota, and California, the company built a reputation as technically proficient and artistically superb. Since the late 80’s, DCDC has toured to almost every state in the union and has also traveled internationally to Russia, Germany, France, Poland, Korea, Bermuda, Canada and most recently, Chile. DCDC has performed numerous times at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as well as at the American Dance Festival. Additional major appearances in the United States have included The Joyce Theater in New York City, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, The Kennedy Center, and The Kennedy Center’s Satellite Program for Schools televised nationally.
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DCDC is here to stay. DCDC’s art survives and carries on, bolstered by its electric vibe, global art, and community grass roots services. DCDC is many things to many people. For some, it is world-renowned; for others very young, a role model to be found in a DCDC dancer. Yet for choreographers of color, DCDC is a refuge of creative freedom while for the volunteer, a chance to perform good work for the benefit of thousands.
DCDC has always been a collaborating venture, reaching deep into the community beyond borders and uniting a highly diverse demographic in the Miami Valley community.
Having been, and continuing to be, many things, DCDC is a testimony to endurance against great odds, to become a special ground for empathy, imagination, and the will to carry through. DCDC is as much about life as it is about art. Perhaps its ultimate quality rests there and, if so, all who come to enjoy DCDC’s gifts are welcome to stay. You, after all, are the reason DCDC is here to stay!