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Jeraldyne Blunden Fellows

A fellowship program for emerging dance artists

Developing accomplished professionals

This fellowship program provides the foundation for emerging dance artists to undertake extensive professional and artistic development to emerge as accomplished professionals.  Aligned with DCDC’s artistic standards, the JB Fellows operates as its own entity within the organization that supports the mission and vision of DCDC. JB Fellows has its own independent choreographic repertoire and performance-based engagements. The ensemble also serves as apprentices to the main company, gaining in-depth knowledge and a higher learning experience.

These budding artists are the cultural ambassadors of the organization by way of collaborative projects, K-12 arts education and university initiatives, and community engagement throughout the Ohio region.​

The JB Fellows merges the vision and the legacy of Founder Jeraldyne Blunden and the forward-thinking of the Chief Artistic & Producing Director, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, that cultivates the next wave of contemporary dance artists to grace the stage.

Wilhelmina Marks

Mansfield, Ohio

Wilhelmina Marks trained at the Richland Academy of the Arts in primarily ballet, modern, jazz, and tap under Marden Ramos and Sarah Horrigan-Ramos. In 2016 she attended the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive in the professional division. She holds a BFA in Dance from Wright State University. As an undergraduate, she was able to be a part of Dayton Ballet’s Second Company and had the opportunity to perform in their version of the Great Gatsby and the Nutcracker in her first year of college. Her Sophomore and Junior year she was a part of DCDC2 and was able to dance in a collaborative concert with the University of Dayton Dance Ensemble, perform with the first company in "The Littlest Angel" and "In the Spirit of Abundant Blessings", along with numerous school/church performances in the community. Wilhelmina is looking forward to gaining experience and excited to continue dancing with DCDC as a JB Fellow!

Courtney ‘Taz’ Draper

Toledo, Ohio

Courtney ‘Taz’ Draper graduated from Toledo School for the Arts. Courtney is completing her senior year as a BFA dance major at Wright State University. She is also completing her Arts Management Certificate and is a certified personal trainer. Courtney was also apart of DCDC’s 2nd company for the 2018-2019 eason. She has had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Gina Walthers, Teressa Wylie McWilliams, Alvin Rangel, Anthony Burrell, Christian Denice, Trezon Dancy, Crystal Michelle and Broadway’s Lion King Ray Mercer. Courtney is excited to be completing her first season at DCDC as a JB Fellow and tackling this next chapter in her life.

Niarra Gooden-Clarke

Toronto, Ontario

Niarra Gooden-Clarke began her dance training at competition studios in her area, and continued her training at Kent State University where she will graduate with a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Sociology in Spring 2022. Niarra has had the opportunity to work with and perform pieces by esteemed choreographers such as Ray Mercer, Yoshito Sakuraba, Tiffany Rae-Fisher, Gary Abbott, Catherine Meredith, Gregory King and Avery Walker. Niarra is extremely excited to begin her first season with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company as a JB Fellow.